Counseling / Getting Help
Investing In Therapy Part 1
We live in a culture of exchange. As we make our way in this ever-changing world of ours, we are frequently asking ourselves, is it worth it? Is it worth my time? Is it worth my money? These precious commodities are of such high value that we use them in the creation of our template to evaluate the worth of every new endeavor. Dr. John Demartini offers great insight on this topic in his book, Inspired Destiny. A primary thesis of his book is that we consistently make choices according to our highest values. When we discover what these are, we are then equipped to operate in the world doing what we love while positively impacting others. 1 Moreover, when we are hesitant to financially invest in a process such as therapy, it is often because we are unable to see how it is related to what we value most.
I believe that committing to our own healing process is one of the most valuable decisions we will ever make. But I’d like you to decide that for yourself. This blog series is dedicated to supporting you as you consider the financial investment of therapy alongside all of the other investments in your life.
In part 1, we’ll let ourselves be honest about the initial hiccup people run into when they consider therapy as an isolated expense without considering the invaluable long-term gains. We’ll also consider the cost in light of other products and services we spend money on. Finally, we’ll end by looking at therapy as an investment in the future. In part 2 of this blog series, we’ll take a closer look at some of the long-term gains that make the therapy process a smart investment.
A typical consultation call starts like this:
Me: “Hi, this is Lindsay Quella Kara. I just wanted to return your call. Is this a good time to talk for a few minutes?”
Client: “Yes, actually. I just got home and am putting dinner on the stove.”
Me: “Awesome. Thanks for taking some time. In the next 15 minutes or so, I’d like to hear a little bit more about what’s going on in life right now that’s motivating you to seek counseling. I’d also like to share with you a little bit about my practice and what you can expect.”
The call continues (10 minutes later)…
Me: “It sounds like we may be a good fit for each other. I do have experience helping clients in this area and would be open to talking about this more with you during our intake session.”
Client: “Sounds great. Yes, I’m eager to get started because I’ve heard therapy can be helpful and I think it’s time.”
The call moves to logistics…
Me: “There are a couple of other pieces I’d like to discuss before we get started. My sessions are typically about 50-55 minutes in length. My rate is $150 per session, and I am available Sunday-Thursday. How does that sound to you?”
When I speak with a new individual for the first time, often there is an incredible resonance. They are looking for help navigating life stressors. They are typically more resourced than they give themselves credit for. And they have often encountered more challenges than others will acknowledge. Whether they are navigating life stressors, healing traumas, strengthening relationships, or looking for assistance to help their children, I trust that they have reached out for a reason. I also trust that if we both agree about the terms of our work together, we may see some pretty neat things happen. As we begin to genuinely connect, I map out what they can expect in my practice as this creates a sense of grounding for us both. I try to explore how therapy may help them get to where they want to go.
Prospective clients are usually on board until it comes to finances. The therapy process is an investment of time and money that not everyone wants to commit to. After all, we live in a culture that prioritizes what is fast and easy. Personal transformation is just not typically that way. As I interact with individuals and families craving change in their lives, I frequently hear a sentiment related to the cost being too high. There is an implication that the cost may exceed the value and there is a great deal of uncertainty about whether to dive in. This is understandable and something we all have to be mindful of as we weave together the many facets of our lives.
I’ll save a deeper discussion of the inherent value of therapy for part 2. But just for a moment, I invite you to consider how much the counseling process costs in light of other expenses in daily life.
An adult individual may spend…
$5 on coffee
$10 going to the movies
$25 on gas for their car
$40 on a haircut
$75 on a dinner for two
$88 on a monthly yoga membership
$200 on new clothes
$450 on Christmas gifts
$1,500 on one month of rent in Denver
$2,200 on a week vacation
$3,000 on an unexpected medical expense
$18,000 for a small car
$35,000 for a down payment on a small home
$110,000 to complete a college degree
(This is just a snapshot of some of the expenses a person may have. If you’re thinking of a whole family, you may as well multiple a few of these ongoing expenses by four or five.)
If someone attends weekly therapy for six months, they will spend $3,900.
A year of therapy- a year of healing, integrating, learning, growing….costs less than most of the items we readily purchase. Furthermore, while cars break down, jobs change, living spaces evolve… the work that someone does in therapy stays with them forever. It is their journey, their healing process. The skills that are learned can be applied to every life situation, in every context. The investment is temporary and the returns are far reaching.
For example, consider a five-year-old who participates in play therapy for six months. In that short amount of time, he will have opportunities to learn skills that will help him navigate challenges at school, home, and community settings. He will have opportunities to repattern his nervous system, to discover how to solve tangible problems, and learn how to communicate his needs. This will create a foundation he will use on an ongoing basis.
Consider also a couple who have experienced significant transitions and loss. In the context of therapy, they will work on integrating the loss, allowing the grief process to move through their bodies, and make meaning of their experience together. There will be opportunities for reconnection, repair, differentiation and learning. Investing in this process has the potential to influence how they turn to one another for the rest of their life.
Finally, consider a young adult who is trying to figure out where she wants to go in life. As she engages the therapy process, she will actually be engaging herself, interacting with her story, and solidifying her identity. She will have the opportunity to understand her life narrative in a clear and cohesive way. She will be guided through a process, creating self-awareness that can never be taken away.
If you are considering starting therapy, I invite you to look at the investment of therapy in the context of all of the other ways you spend your time and money. Consider not only the tangible costs, but also the intangible gains. Consider how the therapy process and the investment required may align with your highest values. Perhaps after reflecting, you’ll decide to move forward with therapy. I hope you do. It is possible (even probable) that your therapy process may become an experience worth every penny.
Lindsay Quella Kara Lam, MA, NCC, LPC
Lindsay is a Licensed Professional Counselor, Nationally Certified Counselor, and student in the 2019 Synergetic Play Therapy Certification Program. Lindsay is proud to offer her gifts as a contracted therapist at Caring Heart. Lindsay is co-owner of Voice Hands Heart- a holistic business offering integrative wellness to the communities in Denver and Boulder.
- Demartini, John. Inspired Destiny: Living a Fulfilling and Purposeful Life. (CA: Hay House Inc., 2010).