A note about this post: If you qualify for a mental health diagnosis and want your partner to be involved in your care, you can search for providers who take your insurance and inquire with your insurer whether they will cover family sessions. In this post, I use the term ‘couples therapy’ to refer to the type of couples therapy where the relationship itself is the client and the treatment focus is on changing the relationship dynamics rather than treating a mental health diagnosis.
Couples therapy can be costly, especially if the problems are complex and have been going on for some time. I understand it can be frustrating to have insurance and not be able to use it to help your relationship (see my other post on why I don’t accept insurance for couples therapy). Until insurance companies change their policies, I think the best way to conceptualize the situation is this: there are lots of healthy things insurance doesn’t help pay for – gym memberships, healthy foods, restorative vacations, self-help books, and higher education. Unless insurance companies change their stance, couples therapy seems to fall into the category of worthy investments that we have to find a way to fund on our own.
That being said, if you believe your relationship would benefit from couples therapy but finances are tight, try not to let the insurance issue stop you. My encouragement would be to
- Consider ways to temporarily adjust your budget so you can prioritize the health of your relationship.
- If finances are so tight that even adjusting your spending won’t help, there are therapists who will work on a sliding scale and can accommodate much lower-than-usual fees. Typically those therapists work for agencies that can subsidize those lower fees so the counselor can still earn a living.
- For private-practice clinicians like myself, each of us have to determine what we can afford to offer without hiking up prices for full-fee clients. In my practice, I reserve 2 spots for pro-bono/reduced fee clients so that I can help a few couples at a time who truly aren’t able to afford help with their relationship. If you find a counselor you’d like to work with and you need a reduced-fee, ask. They may not be able to accommodate your need, but it doesn’t hurt to ask.
- Seek out counseling centers that are part of local universities like Northwest Nazarene and Idaho State University. You may need to see someone who is working as an intern, but they are typically supervised by someone who will have some experience with couples therapy.
- Don’t wait until the situation is dire! If you catch problems early enough, you might have success in a handful of sessions whereas if you wait years, you may need a lot more time in therapy.
As you’re searching for a low-cost solution, please keep in mind that we are often limited in specialty resources here in the Treasure Valley. Even for clients who can afford to pay a full fee out-of-pocket, there is often a long wait to get into therapists who specialize in couples therapy as the supply in our area is a lot lower than the demand. Try not to be too discouraged when looking for a couples therapist as you may need to call around to many places before you find a counselor who is taking new clients.
I’m wishing you the best in your search!