How Much Does Marriage Counseling Cost

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Author Name: Beth Rush
Date: Sunday February 19, 2023

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Are you considering marriage counseling but aren’t sure if it’s worth the investment? If so, you’ve probably got plenty of questions, including: How much does marriage counseling cost per session? How many sessions will you need to pay for? Will your health insurance cover marriage counseling? 

This article will teach you the average cost of marriage counseling and whether your health insurance plan will cover it. We’ll also provide alternative ways to find affordable couples therapy.

What Is the Average Cost for a Marriage Counseling Session?

An average counseling session lasts about 60 minutes, and most therapists charge by the hour. While session rates will vary depending on the provider, the average cost of a 60-minute couples therapy session is around $100 per hour. 

Most counselors will advise couples to visit for more than one session. Typically, they might recommend a couple of visits. Some might suggest longer-term counseling, including weekly sessions for three months or more. Ultimately, how long a couple decides to pursue therapy is up to them. 

Let’s say your therapist recommends three months of weekly counseling sessions. The total cost of couples therapy would then be $1,200. Don’t be shy about asking your counselor upfront what they charge per session and how long they recommend you visit with them. 

And remember, you are not obligated to complete all the sessions. You can cancel therapy at any time and for any reason. Call at least a day in advance to avoid being charged a no-show fee if you intend to cancel a session. 

Does My Insurance Cover Marriage Counseling?

Unfortunately, your health insurance plan likely does not cover marriage counseling. If a marriage therapist says otherwise, you might want to press them for more information, as marriage counseling is not recognized as a critical or essential health care service. Therefore, most insurance plans do not cover marriage counseling.

Some therapists might code a session as mental health care treatment for a mental health disorder for one or both spouses and bill their insurance company accordingly, all while actually conducting couples therapy. However, this practice is considered fraud by the U.S. government if you or your spouse does not have a mental health disorder. 

Where Can I Find Affordable Marriage Counseling Services? 

If you’re worried about the cost of couples counseling, you’re not alone. To put you at ease, we’ve compiled some alternative ways to find affordable couples therapy: 

Collateral Coverage

Unlike therapists billing a session for mental health care and illegally conducting couples therapy instead, collateral coverage is a legitimate way to address issues that might affect your marriage without billing for couples therapy.

For example, if your partner has a mental health disorder or battles substance use that impacts your marriage, you can sit in during their sessions to learn more about the condition. During their sessions, you’ll learn healthy ways of coping and communicating with one another.  

However, this method is not necessarily a substitute for marriage counseling, nor will couples therapy take place.

Employee-Assistance Programs

If you or your spouse are a part of an employee-assistance program (EAP), you might want to look into the benefits, as some EAPs provide short-term counseling services. Some EAPs also contract with outside mental health care practices, so short-term couples therapy through your EAP might be an option.

Best of all, if your EAP does cover marriage counseling, the services are free and confidential and eliminate the need to find a certified licensed marriage and family therapist (LMFT) on your own. EAP clinicians can also point you toward other resources that might be beneficial, like local couples groups or informational sessions you might find helpful.

Grant-Funded Public Health Clinics

Lastly, many public health clinics offer free or low-cost mental health care services, including couples counseling. Contact your local public health clinic to enquire about low-cost marriage counseling services.

Plus, some universities have received grants to conduct mental health research. To partake in a study, contact a nearby university to see if there are currently any ongoing mental health research studies or projects.

Additionally, you can enquire whether any MFT training students can provide free or low-cost couples counseling services. 

Is Couples Counseling Worth the Investment?

Though your health insurance might not cover couples counseling, don’t feel discouraged. It may seem like a costly or even risky investment initially, but partaking in quality couples counseling is priceless if you and your spouse can find common ground to rekindle that old spark.

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