Comparing the Costs of Traditional vs. Online Counseling

Traditional vs Online Counseling

Many factors such an in-patient, out-patient, frequency of appointments and similar factors affect the overall costs of psychotherapeutic care. Comparing the on-site costs of psychotherapeutic care to online fees requires a look at the issues involved, not mere dollar-to-dollar analyses.

A Range of Therapeutic Needs and Prices

The average mental health therapy client enters their first session knowing that regular on-premises counseling fees vary along a range from $100-400 per session. But that’s only for general psychotherapy sessions in which social workers, psychologists or life coaches address social or personal issues (e.g., relationships, shyness, the inability to urinate in restrooms, the need to set goals and plans for achieving them, depression). The pricing scale is not inclusive of eating, mood, personality or thought disorder treatment. They necessitate costlier in-house medical care that accompanies psychiatric talk therapy.

Residential addiction therapy, when the client lives in the treatment facility for a period of time, is expensive, too. Fees range between $14,000 and $27,000 for 30-day programs. Outpatient treatment programs might be free of charge, though they can be as high as $500 per session. More sophisticated treatment might include a detoxification from noxious substances. That’s when harmful substances are removed from the client’s body, at a cost of up to $1,000 daily. The reason that detox treatment takes place on-site is because competent follow-up is required for the patient’s safety. Therapists and auxiliary staff (e.g., nurses, lab technicians, dieticians and orderlies) must ensure that the client’s blood tests indicate safe levels in specific ranges, that their behavior – including their appetite – indicates improving rather than deteriorating health, and that their affect, their behavior or mood, stabilizes.

Quick Comparison: On-site vs Online Talk Therapy

Inpatient treatment for the above, or for the recovery from nervous breakdowns, depression, trauma and such can range anywhere from $500 to $2,000 a day depending on the facility, the services that it provides, plus the reimbursement allowances within a client’s insurance policy. The average cost for a 30-day stay in a treatment facility, in order to resolve those problems, is $27-30,000. Clients often need from three to six months of inpatient care, a substantial expense. Online therapy, however, which is limited to talk therapy and less dramatic issues, is frequently available for under $200 per month. Six months of that would amount to only $1200. Clients need to appreciate, however, if the savings are or are not cost-effective. Solved problems are an affordable blessing. Enduring issues that need closure can cost more than money. This isn’t to say that online therapy can’t help with more severe problems. In many cases, it can. It is up to ethical therapists and clients willing to be honest about the issues at hand, to determine appropriate priorities. If you and your therapist can set out goals at the beginning of your “time together,” online therapy is the ‘no-brainer’ solution.

Yocheved Golani is a popular writer whose byline has appeared worldwide in print and online. A certified Health Information Management professional, she is a member of Get Help Israel. Certified in Spiritual Chaplaincy (End of Life issues) and in counseling skills, her life coaching for ill people puts healthy perspective into a clients’ success plan for achieving desired goals.