Fees – So how much does counselling cost?

I appreciate therapy costs a lot of money and a lot of people ask why this is so!  I explain a bit more about this further down the page, but I do try to keep my fees competitive bearing in mind rising office costs and other overheads and expenses.  There are some therapy services these days that charge a monthly subscription and offer relatively short sessions, but this can work out more expensive as you pay whether you use the sessions or not and there is limited flexibility.  My services are charged on a per session basis, there is no advance monthly cost, and therapy sessions are a full hour.  Moreover, you have the option of being face to face in the same room with your therapist (unless you prefer online!)

My current fees for therapy in Manchester City Centre or online (one hour session unless otherwise stated) are as follows:

15 minute introductory call or visit (by arrangement) Free
Full Initial Assessment Session (includes counselling) Online or Face to Face £60 -£80
Counselling/Psychotherapy (Manchester City Centre or Online) £60-£80 per hour
Couples Counselling (Face to Face Only) £90 1 hour/£120 1.5 hours
Email Counselling £50 per email exchange
Supervision (per hour) £50-£95

I appreciate counselling is a big investment in your mental health and well being, and just living is costly these days, hence I offer a sliding scale.  My standard fee for individuals is £80 per session, but I offer the option of you choosing to reduce the fee to £60 or something in between if this is more affordable for you.

To book an appointment visit my contact page.

My preferred payment method is via direct transfer to my business account in advance of appointments. This can be done simply by using internet or telephone banking and entering my sort code and account number which I will provide. I will discuss this with you when you contact me. Cash payments are also accepted, but I currently insist on advance payments for initial sessions, as non attendance of these sessions has a direct impact on me in terms of wasted time and administrative costs. Block booking arrangements may be agreed. Revised March 2024)

I am fully approved for Psychotherapy work through the insurance company WPA, so if you have a WPA medical cover policy either through work or personally, you may be able to look at making a claim with them to cover the cost of your sessions.  The usual process involves having a GP diagnosis in the first instance, then claiming a psychotherapy assessment, a report follows and then the amount covered will be set by WPA if the claim is successful.  Currently I am only working through WPA in this way, but it might be worth checking if you have cover with them!  Of course the level of cover people have will vary and there are some diagnoses that will rather require a psychiatrist or other specialist, if in doubt drop me a line!

If you have any questions about my counselling fees that are not answered here, or would like to book an initial assessment to find out how counselling can help you, feel free to contact me.

And now for my essay in the ins and outs of therapist finance! 😃

Why does counselling cost so much?

This is a question a lot of people ask, so in the interest of being open (something I always intend to be as a counsellor) I will attempt to answer it on this page!

In an ideal world, mental health support would be fully and adequately funded by the government and I would be able to to offer counselling free of charge to all clients without compromising my own ability to survive within a capitalist economic system. However, as a private counsellor, I do not have the luxury of independent funding and therefore need to charge fees or I wouldn’t be able to survive, never mind be able to support other people’s emotional and mental health! As with any other service. I need to factor in the costs of my training, CPD (continuing professional development), supervision, professional insurance and professional memberships, as well as other overheads such as office premises, phone, stationery, travel, heating and electricity! And of course I have to pay tax and national insurance too. All of this comes out of the fee before it goes into my pocket, so to speak! Then there is the private pension pay and emergency sick and holiday pay and all manner of insurance and accounting fees. And then I have to feed and clothe myself as well!

On the face of it “£80 an hour” may seem to be a great wage, and it would be if I saw as many clients as there are hours in an average working week! If this were the case I’d work a few 80 hour weeks and take the rest of the year off! In fact, I see an average of around 15 clients a week (sometimes less, sometimes more  depending on demand), because for every hour spent face to face, there will be another 2 hours of associated admin, note writing, travel, reflection and research, accounting and other tasks, which makes my working week full. I will not see more clients than this because I wish to give all my clients my fullest attention rather than cramming as many in and ending up too tired to be fully present as a counsellor! I do not see clients on a “conveyor belt” all day so am not making £1000s a week as people might perceive from my fees! Don’t forget out of those 15 or so hours I may have students or people on low incomes who are not paying the full fees.  There are also the hundreds of emails, phone calls and messages I deal with each month from people who never actually turn into a paying client.  All this unbillable time adds up (I once worked out that dealing with emails and enquiries that lead to never seeing client takes up on average 214 hours a year – that’s over one entire week (24/7) of unpaid time just on that!)

I also believe there is a huge value in the service I offer, you are entrusting a skilled and experienced therapist to work with your emotions and private thoughts and feelings, which is a big responsibility for a counsellor/psychotherapist and counselling can be a life-changing experience. I feel privileged to be able to do this work, but need to be able to afford to live as well and so my fees reflect what I can reasonably afford to work for. Free counselling is available through various services, unfortunately this often comes with strict time limits or a long waiting list which is why many people choose private counselling or psychotherapy.

Although I am willing to work long term with clients when appropriate, my chief aim is to help people move forward as quickly as possible, and I discourage dependent relationships, or therapy that goes on past a certain point if it is no longer effective. It’s for this reason I always suggest working for 6 sessions in the first instance, and I have a reputation as a “fast” therapist, often making significant progress within the 6 sessions and in any case most clients are ready to end successfully after 6-10 sessions. This is an important consideration when factoring in the cost of therapy, though of course there are no guarantees and sometimes therapy is of necessity a longer term journey, sometimes taking years!

I regularly review and discuss progress with clients to ensure I am providing appropriate value for the fees I am paid, and use a variety of tools to monitor the effectiveness and quality of my work.