About Therapy

How much does couples counseling cost?


ave you ever felt stuck in your relationship? 

Stuck feeling unheard, and unseen, having the same arguments over and over, struggling to communicate clearly and to stop hurting each other?

You're not alone. Every couple goes through rough patches in their relationship.

If you can't see a way through the struggle, but you aren't quite ready to throw in the towel just yet, it might be the perfect time to seek professional help from an expert couples counselor to get things back on track.

A great couples therapist or marriage counselor can help you work through any thorny relationship issues and build a relationship you truly love. But if you haven't seen a therapist before, investing in professional couples counseling can be intimidating.

After talking to dozens of couples from all walks of life, one common problem every couple runs into is knowing whether couples counseling is worth the investment. A lot of clients I work with simply don't understand how much couples counseling costs, and what they'll get out of it.

I'll be honest—it's not the easiest question to answer. Couples counseling costs vary wildly across the country. Even within the same city, you'll find different therapists often charge very different amounts. 

So how do you know if couples counseling is worth the investment? To help answer some of your questions, I want to give you an idea of how much couples counseling costs in different parts of the US, how many sessions you might need with a couples therapist, and—most importantly—whether investing in couples counseling is worth it for you.

Let's dive in!

How much does couples counseling cost?

First things first: how much does couples counseling cost?

In general, couples counseling costs between $100-200 per hour.

Given that most professional couples counselors offer 90-minute sessions for couples, that means you'll pay between $150 and $300 for each one-and-a-half hour couples counseling session.

Remember, too, that you'll need more than one session. In my couples counseling practice, I usually recommend couples come in for at least 3 months of consistent couples therapy, or 12 weeks. That gives us enough time so that we have ample opportunities to uncover your relationship struggles and work towards finding a solution.

That means the average cost of couples counseling is between $2,400 and $4,800 for 12 weeks of therapy.

Of course, the cost of couples counseling varies widely depending on location, experience level, the type of counselor, and other factors. Let's take a look.

Couples counseling costs vary based on location

It's worth remembering that the cost varies based on your location.

The cost of couples counseling varies widely depending on which city and state you're in. 

Here in Denver, marriage counseling costs between $150 and $300 for a 90-minute session. In bigger cities like New York or San Francisco, couples counseling sessions can cost between 50 and 100% more than here.  In smaller cities with fewer counselors, costs might be a bit lower. 

The best way to find out how much couples counselors charge in your city is to Google couples counselors in your area. For example search for "couples counselor new york" or "marriage counselors near me" and check out the pricing pages for a few examples.

Couples counseling costs vary based on experience

Costs also vary based on how experienced your couples counselor is, and whether they're licensed.

The higher education level a therapist has achieved, and the more years of experience they have under their belt, the more a couples counselor or marriage therapist will generally charge. The minimum educational requirement in most states is a Master’s degree in psychology, but many therapists have a PhD or MD like a psychiatrist.

Therapists who are licensed will charge more, while others who are still working towards gaining their license under the supervision of a licensed therapist often cost less. It can be a lot cheaper to see a therapist who is still building up hours towards licensure, but they will have less experience.

It is very important when choosing a marriage counselor to ask about their credentials and their experience. 

Licensing requirements vary by state, with some states (Colorado included) allowing unlicensed practitioners to practice under supervision of a licensed professional. It's worth asking your therapist about their licensure before scheduling your first session.

Many couples counselors offer sliding scale fees

Many couples counselors also offer sliding scale rates to eligible clients, where the per-session rate is determined by your household income or the size of your family. This can help some couples fit counseling into their budget without breaking the bank. It's worth asking your therapist if they offer sliding scale fees.

Is couples counseling covered by insurance?

The answer here, unfortunately, is no.

Most insurance companies won't cover the cost of couples counseling.

That means you'll end up paying for marriage counseling sessions out of pocket.

Insurance companies generally only cover couples counseling when it's deemed as a medical necessity. Unless one spouse is suffering from a diagnosable mental disorder, like generalized anxiety disorder or bipolar disorder, most insurance plans won't contribute towards your couples counseling. 

Even if insurance coverage is available, there are some significant downsides to paying for therapy through insurance. Most insurance companies require therapists to provide a diagnosis, which ends up on your permanent health record. Insurance companies also severely limit which therapists and session types are covered, so you may not have access to your preferred therapist.

If you have specific questions about whether your couples counselor accepts your health insurance, it's best to reach out directly to your chosen therapist. You can also call your insurer to find out what they will and won't cover.

Is couples counseling worth it?

There's no way around it: couples counseling can be a pretty big investment for a lot of couples. How do you know if couples counseling is worth the investment?

The big question most couples ask when considering couples counseling: Will it help me save my relationship?

Looking only at the raw numbers, the chances are high. According to data from the American Psychological Association, couples counseling as it's practiced now is roughly 75% effective. For couples with kids in particular, couples counseling is priceless. That might lead you to believe that couples counseling is worth it. 

But the truth is, couples counseling is about more than just the money, or the chances of saving your relationship. It's about the value a loving and caring relationship with your husband, wife, spouse, or partner brings into your life.

There's nothing else you can buy for $2,500 that will bring the same level of happiness and quality of life as a healthy relationship can provide.

If you and your spouse love each other and want to keep your relationship strong, investing in your relationship can be priceless.

A great couples therapist can help you:

Sometimes "successful" couples counseling doesn't always mean staying together

A great couples therapist can help you learn whether you should stay together or split up. And, if you choose the latter, they can also help you work through the separation process.

For example, one couple I'm working with figured out that they don't want the same things from life. They had different life goals that didn't mesh with each other, and that by trying to compromise on those goals they were just making each other miserable. 

Throughout our sessions, I've helped them understand how they can still have a healthy co-parenting relationship for their kids, while also keeping good boundaries around their personal lives with each other. They were going down a path with a lot of conflict, but now they're doing a really good job of working together amicably.

A lot of people breaking up with someone are left feeling like they don't understand what happened when a relationship ends. Going through a structured process with a therapist can help you get a sense of closure, and figure out "if this isn't going to work, here's why." 

By working through some of those issues around your previous relationships, you can take that into your next relationship and you have more peace with the ending of the relationship.

What's the cost of not seeing a couples counselor?

The risks—both monetary and emotional—of not seeing a couples counselor are huge.

The monetary costs of not seeing a couples counselor

If the question is between seeing a couples therapist and heading for a messy and expensive divorce, you should always choose couples counseling. The average cost of a divorce here in Colorado is $14,500. That's not even including extra legal fees for splitting assets like your house, your cars, your retirement savings, and more. And it doesn't include the toll on your emotional and mental health that a divorce can take on your kids and family.

For the couple I mentioned earlier that had decided to split up, they could have ended up in a messy divorce, paying divorce lawyer fees and negotiating custody agreements. But instead, they're working together to build a successful relationship with each other and with their kids.

Even if you aren't married and facing the legal and financial challenges that come with a divorce, couples counseling gives you the potential to strengthen your relationship in ways you didn't know were possible.

The emotional toll of not seeing a couples counselor

Couples counseling doesn't mean relationship triage. A lot of couples decide not to go to couples counseling because they're not sure their relationship can be saved. But even though your relationship struggles might feel insurmountable, you may not realize that most relationship problems are much easier to resolve than you might realize—as long as you have the right tools.

Most relationship problems are much easier to resolve than you might realize—as long as you have the right tools.

A great couples therapist can mean the difference between your relationship surviving and thriving. Avoiding the decision to see a couples counselor might mean missing out on the opportunity to work through problems that you think can't be fixed. Couples counselors can help you identify growth areas and ways of increasing your connection and intimacy with your partner. 

What's your relationship worth to you?

Building a loving and caring partnership isn't easy. It takes more work than just buying your partner a bouquet of flowers, or taking them out on a nice date.

But when it comes to couples counseling, timing is everything. I haven't met a couple yet that doesn't have some area where they can grow and improve. It can be the difference between your relationship just hanging in there, and a relationship you truly love.

My advice is to invest wisely in your relationship. Yes, there might not be any guarantees—but couples counseling is worth the cost, whether you're trying to save a relationship on the rocks or you're wanting to grow into a relationship you truly love.

If you're looking for an expert couples counselor in Denver, you can reach out to me directly to set up your free consultation - the link to my website is below. I look forward to hearing from you!