Takeaway: Choosing to start therapy is a big decision. For many people, cost factors into their choice. While investing in your mental health is important, it’s also essential to understand the average cost of a therapy session before getting started so you know what to expect. In this blog post, we’ll break down the typical cost of mental health care and explain what factors into the price–plus the reasons why it’s worth every penny.

Everything you need to know about the cost of mental health services in New York City

If you’re starting therapy for the first time, it makes sense to have questions about the financial investment. While your mental health is important, you still want to understand the cost of therapy, what goes into the price, and whether or not you can use your insurance. Here, we’ll get into all the details about the cost of therapy.

What is the average cost of a therapy session in NYC?

We spend a lot on mental health care. According to a market intelligence report from Open Minds, Americans spent $225.1 billion on mental health services in 2019. And with increased awareness around mental health in recent years, that number is likely to rise even higher.

But what does this translate to for an individual? Just like when you visit a doctor’s office, there’s often no cut-and-dry number you’re provided around the cost of care. The price on your final bill depends on many different factors, including whether or not you use health insurance benefits.

With that being said, it can still be helpful to get a ballpark figure of the average cost of a therapy session. Here, we gathered data from 25 local therapists within each specialty so you can get a better understanding of the average cost of therapy in NYC.

Average anxiety therapy cost per session: $214 per session
Average depression therapy cost per session $195 per session
Average couples therapy cost per session $240 per session
Average trauma therapy cost per session $224 per session

Keep in mind that these fees are averages. Your therapist might charge more or less per session than the estimates above.

What factors into the price of therapy?

Like any other product or service, there are multiple factors that influence the cost of therapy in NYC (and elsewhere). While there’s no universal formula that dictates a therapist’s fees, there are some common elements that therapists take into consideration when setting their rates. Here are just a few.


Living in a big city (like New York) is expensive. According to a report from the United Way of New York City, the cost of living has increased 131% since 2000. This means that therapists need to charge more in order to make ends meet for themselves.

This may be especially true for mental health professionals who offer in-person therapy. In this case, therapy costs also need to factor in expenses like office rent, utilities, and more. Therapists who offer exclusively online therapy services may have fewer overhead costs, though they still have expenses like professional insurance and their electronic medical record system.

Length of sessions & treatment

Of course, therapy costs more when you go more frequently and over a longer period of time. For example, you’ll ultimately end up paying more if you see your therapist twice a week for a year versus weekly therapy sessions for six months.

The length of each individual therapy session can also dictate the overall cost of mental health treatment. An insurance company will reimburse a therapist at a different rate for a 45-minute session than a 55-minute session.

Insurance coverage

Similarly, the cost of therapy can also vary depending on whether you use health insurance or not. Some therapists are paneled directly with insurance companies while others can support you in using your out-of-network benefits. Others may only accept private pay. The costs between these different payment methods can all vary.

Your specific mental health coverage can also dictate how much you end up paying. The Affordable Care Act requires that your insurance provider must cover mental health services. However, the specific coverage can vary based on your specific health insurance company. Plus, many people have deductibles they must meet before their benefits kick in.

Therapist background & education

Each mental health professional may have slightly different education and experience. This can dictate how much they charge for their services. While all therapists typically have at least a master’s degree and thousands of hours of supervised practice, some may have more extensive training than others.

For example, clinical psychologists often have a doctorate degree, so they may have a higher fee. Similarly, other therapists may have specialized training in certain therapeutic modalities or experience working with highly specific mental health conditions, such as personality disorders. Having a specific niche enables some mental health professionals to charge more as well.

Type of therapy

The type of therapy you choose can also influence the cost of mental health care. While all therapists have a basic understanding of talk therapy principles, some modalities require specialized training beyond what therapists receive in graduate school.

Approaches like eye movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy (EMDR), internal family systems therapy (IFS), or the Gottman method for couples therapy all require additional training and certification. Since therapists spend extra time pursuing this training, they may have higher fees than other therapists.

Does insurance cover therapy in NYC?

Yes, insurance typically covers therapy costs. As we discussed earlier, legislation has been passed to require health insurance companies to cover mental health care. However, this can look different in practice depending on your specific mental health coverage. Some therapists also choose not to accept insurance, or only take insurance on an out-of-network basis..

If you plan to use health insurance to help pay for therapy, it’s best to check your plan before starting. You’ll want to understand whether or not you have a deductible and how much it is, whether there’s a limit on the number of therapy sessions or types of therapy that are covered, and what your out-of-network benefits consist of.

At NYC Therapeutic Wellness, we accept insurance on an out-of-network basis and will submit claims on your behalf. We also offer sliding scale therapy until you meet your deductible to ensure that therapy services are financially accessible to all New Yorkers who are interested in mental health support.

Is therapy worth it?

The short answer is yes, therapy is often worth it. There are tons of benefits to working with a therapist, and research shows that it can effectively treat a wide range of mental health concerns. At the same time, deciding to start therapy is a highly personal choice. It’s up to you to determine whether or not it’s right for you. Here are some considerations to help you make up your mind.

5 signs that therapy is worth the investment

While starting therapy is ultimately your own decision, many people can benefit from working with a mental health professional. Here are some common signs that might be the case for you.

1. You’re experiencing ongoing mental health issues

Mental illness can significantly impact your overall quality of life. Whether you’re struggling with anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), or other mental health conditions, therapy can help. You’ll work with your therapist to get to the root of your struggles and find strategies to cope. Keep in mind that you don’t need an existing mental health diagnosis so start therapy. Your counselor will provide an assessment during the initial session.

2. You’re going through big life changes

Change is a part of life, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. Counseling for life transitions in NYC can help you navigate whatever changes you’re experiencing. Some common transitions include moving, starting a new job, divorce, having children, and retiring.

3. You’re noticing physical health symptoms

Mental health issues can come with both psychological and physical symptoms. For example, people with anxiety often experience physical symptoms like fatigue, muscle tension, headaches, stomach problems, sleep issues, and more. By getting to the bottom of your mental illness, your physical health can improve as well.

4. You feel stuck

It can be normal to get stuck in a rut or a slump from time to time. However, you don’t have to push through on your own. Having a mental health professional to act as your sounding board and confidant can give you the support and perspective you need to make changes.

5. Your relationships are impacted

Mental health challenges can have ripple effects on other areas of your life, including your relationships. Even if you’re not struggling with a specific mental health issue, relationship issues can be tricky to navigate. Working with a therapist can give you insight into your relationship patterns, help you improve your communication skills, and learn how to have healthier connections with others.

When you’re struggling with your mental health, you might also lose your desire to connect with friends and family. This can lead you to withdraw from your loved ones and become isolated. By addressing the root of mental health struggles, you may start to feel more like yourself again and be ready to reconnect.

5 signs to that therapy in a private practice setting may not be the right fit

While we’re firm believers that most people can benefit from therapy, we also recognize that it’s not feasible for everyone. Here are some signs that it might not be the right time for you to start therapy.

1. You’re experiencing mental illness that may need more intensive support

As we discussed earlier, talk therapy can improve a wide range of mental health issues. However, working with a private practice therapist may not be the best fit for every situation. If you’re struggling with a serious mental illness, you might need a higher level of support than a private practice therapist can provide. Community mental health clinics that offer intensive outpatient services, group therapy, and medication management may be a better fit in this case.

2. You have safety concerns

Similarly, working with a private practice therapist may not be the right choice if they are ongoing safety concerns. For example, if you’re experiencing interpersonal violence or suicidal ideation, you may also need more intensive behavioral health services or other resources to better support you.

If you’re experiencing interpersonal violence, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at (800) 799-SAFE (7233), text “START” to 88788, or visit their website.

If you’re experiencing a mental health crisis, you can call or text the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline at 988 or visit their website.

3. You can’t commit to regular sessions

Therapy works best when you attend sessions consistently. If you have an irregular schedule, travel frequently, or simply can’t see how you’d fit therapy sessions into your schedule, it may be best to hold off for now. While some therapists are able to be more flexible than others, many therapists require regular attendance.

4. You’re not ready to change

Sometimes people just aren’t ready to change—and that’s okay. Therapy isn’t easy, and making meaningful changes can take a significant amount of time and effort. If you don’t feel ready to invest in that process right now, you may want to hold off until you do.

5. You don’t have the resources

While access to mental health resources has increased in recent years, there’s still a long way to go. Even with health insurance coverage, some people simply can’t afford the cost of therapy. Know that this isn’t a personal failing but rather a symptom of a broken system. If this is your situation, some mental health organizations may be able to offer free or low-cost therapy. Wait lists can be long, but it’s worth looking into if you’re interested.

Choosing a therapist that’s right for you

If you’re ready to make the investment, the next step is actually finding a therapist. In a big city like NYC, you have a lot of options. This is a great thing, but can also feel overwhelming, especially if you’ve never worked with a therapist before and aren’t sure where to start.

That’s why we put together this guide on how to find a therapist in NYC. As therapists ourselves, we have an intimate understanding of the process, including the challenges that come along with looking for a therapist. Our guide breaks it down step-by-step so you can feel more confident finding the therapist that’s right for you.

On the other hand, if you’re just looking for a few quick resources, here are some places to look.

  • Treatment locator from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
  • Online therapy platforms like BetterHelp or Talkspace
  • Therapist directories like Psychology Today or TherapyDen

At NYC Therapeutic Wellness, we offer both in-person and online therapy for people in NYC and throughout the entire state of New York. You can learn more about the services we offer by visiting our counseling page.

Take the next steps toward investing in your mental health.

One way to prepare for therapy is to begin writing out your feelings as they come up. We often recommend a journal that makes you actually want to, well, journal. Find our recommended journals here!

Ready to get started? We accept insurance and offer sliding-scale therapy rates to make therapy as accessible as possible. Reach out today to schedule a free initial consultation and learn more about how we can help. We look forward to hearing from you!