When trying to decide whether to seek therapy and which kind may be right, cost is an ever-present factor. Many insurance plans don’t cover therapy or only cover a certain number of sessions. Sliding-scale clinics often have long waiting lists, leaving many Americans who are interested in therapy wondering how to get the help they need.
Comparing the cost of brick-and-mortar therapy to the online variety can be complex, because there are different types of therapists with sometimes widely different hourly rates. Generally, however, because an online therapy practice is structured differently than a traditional counseling practice, it is more affordable. For one thing, online therapists are able to pass along the savings of not having to lease the physical spaces needed to conduct face-to-face meetings. Quantifying access itself is a little more tricky to compare. This is because many online therapy models include a level of access to the therapist, such as unlimited messaging or texting, that old-fashioned practices simply don’t cover as part of their hourly services.
There are also so-called “secondary” cost savings when it comes to the cost of online therapy. For example, the cost of gas and wear and tear on a vehicle is saved because the client doesn’t actually need to travel to a physical office—for clients who would have to drive 15 minutes or longer to reach a physical appointment, this can add up over time. For clients with careers, time savings can matter, too. Conversely, for clients with children, not having to arrange childcare eliminates a hassle and possibly another expense.