Is Couples Counseling Worth It? A Cost-Benefit Analysis
When a relationship is falling apart, many couples turn to counseling. Unfortunately, the high fees can be a deterrent.
Your relationship is in a rut, and things are getting tough. You don’t want to throw in the towel just yet, but it’s clear you need some outside help. Is couples counseling worth it? A third-party mediator like a couples counselor can offer a much-needed new perspective, but that can get expensive. Given that money is one of the leading causes of divorce, you probably want to know what kind of investment it’s going to take to get professional help.
How Much Does Couples Counseling Cost?
The cost of couples counseling can vary depending on the type of counselor and where you live, among other factors. But in general, counselors ask for between $75 and $200 per hour. Counseling sessions typically happen once a week. This means an additional cost of around $300 to $800 each month to help save your relationship.
If money is already a stressor in your relationship, the extra cost can seem like adding insult to injury. If you can afford to add this line item to your budget, it could very well be worth it. On the other hand, counseling isn’t a foolproof method, and it doesn’t guarantee happily-ever-after results.
Just like investing in the stock market, investing in couples counseling is a gamble. It may save your relationship or it may not.
Is Couples Counseling Worth It?
Well, that depends on a lot of factors. First, are both of you willing to go to a counselor and talk? And more importantly, are you both willing to do the work and make changes — individually and as a couple — to make your relationship work?
Plus, timing is everything. The sooner you go to counseling, the better. Years and years of resentment or lingering anger over past transgressions can erode your intimacy and trust. According to relationship expert Dr. John Gottman, the average couple waits a whopping six years before seeking help with an unhappy relationship.
If you’re at the beginning stages of friction, you may have a better shot at salvaging your relationship. This doesn’t mean that you’re automatically doomed if you’ve been unhappy for seven years. It just means that you have more work to do.
Only you can decide whether couples counseling is worth the effort, time, and cost to save your relationship.
If it’s not and you’re legally married, it’s important to carefully weigh the cost of divorce, too. It may be the right option, but divorce may come at a high price — certainly more than the cost of couples counseling!
How to Lower Counseling Costs
If you can’t stomach the cost of couples counseling, consider ways to make it more affordable. Check whether your health insurance covers couples counseling. There’s a good chance it might. And if they do, you can find a counselor who takes your insurance, thereby reducing the cost.
If your insurance doesn’t cover counseling — or if you don’t have insurance — look into local schools that may have counselors-in-training who work under a licensed professional. This can offer a huge cost savings. You can also see whether your local church or community center has any classes or counseling services available at a low cost.
Then there’s the nonprofit psychotherapy collective Open Path Collective, which offers affordable rates. There’s a membership fee of $49, which grants you access to counselors in your area that charge between $30 and $50 per session.
In other words, you’ll invest $49 up-front and pay a maximum of $200 to $250 per month for couples counseling. While still a decent chunk of change, it’s more affordable than standard rates.
The Bottom Line: Do I Need Couples Counseling?
Though couples counseling isn’t cheap, it could be a worthwhile investment if you want to heal your relationship. There aren’t any guarantees, but it may help. Regardless, it’s important to look at couples counseling costs and evaluate them in your overall budget. If successful, spending money to mend your relationship has a far better return on investment than a divorce.