My current fees for counselling (approx one hour session unless otherwise stated) are as follows:
|Full Initial Assessment Session (includes counselling) Online or Face to Face||£80|
|Counselling/Psychotherapy (Manchester City Centre or Online)||£80 per hour|
|Couples Counselling (Face to Face Only)||£90 1 hour/£120 1.5 hours|
|Email Counselling||£50 per email exchange/£275 per 6 email block|
|Supervision (per hour)||£50-£95|
Block booking arrangements may be agreed. Block booking payments are non-refundable but of course not obligatory!
I appreciate my fees are at the high end of the scale, as my sole income I need to ensure I can cover my costs and make enough to live on (see detailed explanation of fees below!) and I have more costs than remote therapists due to office hire. However, ethically I would not want my services to be out of range of those who wish to see me, so if my standard fees are unaffordable for you please ask about my sliding scale when enquiring and we can look at negotiating a lower fee within your budget.
(Revised June 2023)
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!
I do explain further down the page why counselling fees are this high, but in brief, I am not working for £55-80 per hour 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, 52 weeks a year! if you think of the standard fee and first take away at least one third that needs to go towards tax and national insurance, private pension, private sick pay/income protection schemes, professional insurance and holiday pay (as if I do take a week off, I receive zero income so have to save up for it!), and then remove other chunks that go towards room/equipment costs, advertising, professional memberships and other miscellaneous costs, you would see that the amount that actually goes “into my pocket” so to speak is not so massive but is more like about 35-40% of the fee. If you also take into account the fact that the only hours I can charge for (my billable hours) are the client sessions themselves, and ethically the amount of billable hours I can work in a week maxes out at 20 (the fee also has to also cover all admin, enquiries, advertising, clients who enquire and never sign up, non paying clients, etc etc etc making an average working week about 50 hours – 15-20 billable, 25-30 completely unbillable), it will become clear that my income is not £75 x 40 x 52 (£15600o a year, that would be fabulous, I wish!), but with money lost to cancellations, ghostings, non payments or simple downturns and quiet periods in business and also needing to take holiday time/sick leave at times, it works out more like £20-25k a year, which given the amount of hours I work on top of my billable hours (admin, notes, dealing with enquires, follow ups, calls, emails etc), would make some minimum wage jobs more lucrative. The amount of money counsellors earn in private practice is laughable not because it is so huge, but because people assume it is so huge when in fact it’s among the worst paid jobs out there, and why non and slow paying clients can have a significant impact on my own financial and mental well being.
Of course my fees also reflect a high level of training, over 10 years’ experience in the profession, a reputation as an ethical, reliable therapist who gets results fasts (though of course there is no guarantee for this and there will always be clients who need long term work). £55-80 could easily be spent weekly on a Friday night out with pub and a meal. £55-80 spent weekly on therapy for a couple of months could be life changing!
My colleagues who work from the same offices may be able to offer lower rates as their business model may be different/not their sole source of income/they may have only recently set up, or other reasons – please see details at https://centralmanchestercounselling.co.uk/
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. Payments can also be made by credit or debit card (at my payment page through PayPal, you do not need a PayPal account) or via PayM mobile payments (you just need the app from your bank!). 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.
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.
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.