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  • Writer's pictureTom Cowan

Therapy - is it worth your money?

Updated: Feb 20, 2023




People's relationship with money is complex and varies widely based on their upbringing, life experiences, and cultural background. Some people value financial stability and view money as a source of security and independence, while others view it as a means to gain social status or power. One study found that people who spent money on experiences, such as travel, dining out, or attending concerts, reported higher levels of happiness and overall well-being than those who spent money on material possessions (Howell & Hill, 2009). Research suggests that people's priorities may be shifting towards valuing experiences over the material, with many seeking out new experiences that provide a sense of purpose, connection, and personal growth (Van Boven & Gilovich, 2003). This suggests that investing in life enriching experiences, such as person-centred therapy, may have a more significant impact on overall wellbeing than material possessions.


Although therapy can be a significant financial investment, many people view it as a valuable and worthwhile expense for their mental and emotional wellbeing. Counselling provides a safe and confidential space for people to explore their thoughts, feelings, and behaviours, and to work through difficult issues and challenges. Numerous studies have demonstrated the efficacy of psychotherapy in treating a range of mental health conditions, including depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (APA, 2017). In one meta-analysis, researchers found that individuals who received therapy were more likely to experience improvement in their mental health outcomes than those who did not receive therapy (Cuijpers et al., 2014). Another study found that psychotherapy was more effective and cost-efficient than medication in treating depression (Chisholm et al., 2016).


The average number of therapy sessions in the UK varies widely based on the type of therapy and the individual's needs. However, some therapists offer short-term counselling that typically lasts between 6-12 sessions and others will offer more flexible open ended therapy giving the client the power to choose when they no longer require this support. The average price of therapy in the UK also varies based on location, type of therapy, and the therapist's experience, but can range from around £40-£120 per session (Mental Health Foundation, 2021).


Research has shown that therapy is a cost-effective and valuable investment for people's psychological health. Clients have reported experiencing value for money in therapy sessions, with a survey finding that 88% of respondents reported receiving good or excellent value for the cost of therapy, and 94% were satisfied with the services they received (APA, 2017). Research has also found that online therapy can be as effective as traditional in-person therapy for a variety of mental health issues (Sucala et al., 2012).


Although therapy can be costly, low-cost counselling options are available through charities. Options in the UK include:

  1. Mind - Mind is a UK-based mental health charity that provides low-cost therapy to those in need. Their services include group therapy, one-to-one counselling, and online counselling. Fees for counselling are on a sliding scale based on income, with some services available for free.

While low-cost counselling services can be helpful for some, there are several reasons why private practice counselling with me may be a better option for you. Here are some benefits of seeing me in my private practice.

  1. Greater flexibility and control over scheduling: I can offer more flexible scheduling and appointment times, making it easier for us to find a time that works for you. Research suggests that clients value this flexibility and accessibility (Ehde et al., 2010), and that long wait times for counselling services may contribute to poorer mental health outcomes (Alden et al., 2019). The sooner you can begin, the better.

  2. Greater confidentiality and privacy: I can offer greater confidentiality and privacy, as I'm not required to share client information with third-party organisations. Research suggests that confidentiality is an important factor in clients' perceptions of counselling services (Sexton et al., 2003) and I can offer you a guarantee that your confidentiality is my highest priority.

  3. More specialised expertise: Research suggests that the therapeutic alliance between counsellor and client is a key factor in wellbeing outcomes, and that clients who perceive their counsellor as having expertise in their specific problem areas are more likely to have positive treatment outcomes (Horvath et al., 2011). You can select the right therapist for you based on their knowledge and your issues.

  4. Quicker access to treatment: I may be able to offer quicker access to therapy, with shorter wait times for appointments and less administrative bureaucracy. Research suggests that reducing wait times for mental health services can lead to improved treatment outcomes and increased client satisfaction (Hermann et al., 2017). I won't keep you waiting and will reply to emails within 24 hours and offer you appointments a soon as I can.


Carl Rogers, the founder of person-centred therapy believed that counselling is a powerful tool for promoting personal growth, developing a more positive view of ourselves, and building healthy relationships. By providing a non-judgmental and supportive environment for you to explore your experiences and feelings, I can help you to achieve greater self-awareness and make positive changes in your life.


I’ll leave you with some final words from Alain de Botton: “money has nothing to do with happiness, except for the part that it plays in alleviating unhappiness" (The School of Life, 2015).


Go ahead and book your free introductory video call right now by emailing me hello@tomcowan.info


References:

American Psychological Association. (2017). What is psychotherapy? https://www.apa.org/patients-and-families/psychotherapy

Chisholm, D., Sweeny, K., Sheehan, P., Rasmussen, B., Smit, F., Cuijpers, P., ... & Saxena, S. (2016). Scaling-up treatment of depression and anxiety: a global return on investment analysis. The Lancet Psychiatry, 3(5), 415-424.

Cuijpers, P., Berking, M., Andersson, G., Quigley, L., Kleiboer, A., & Dobson, K. S. (2014). A meta-analysis of cognitive-behavioural therapy for adult depression, alone and in comparison with other treatments. Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, 59(1), 1-13.

Howell, R. T., & Hill, G. (2009). The mediators of experiential purchases: Determining the impact of psychological need satisfaction and social comparison. Journal of Positive Psychology, 4(6), 511-522.

The Therapeutic Relationship in E-Therapy for Mental Health: A Systematic Review, July 2012, Journal of Medical Internet Research 14(4):e110

Van Boven, L., & Gilovich, T. (2003). To Do or to Have? That Is the Question. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 85(6), 1193–1202

Alden, L. E., Kachoyan, K., & Weisberg, R. B. (2019). Mental health care access and stigma-reducing attitudes of students at a large university. Journal of American College Health, 67(8), 754-760.

Ehde, D. M., Dillworth, T. M., & Turner, J. A. (2010). Cognitive-behavioral therapy for individuals with chronic pain: Efficacy, innovations, and directions for research. American Psychologist, 65(3), 176-193.

Hermann, R. C., Mattke, S., & Somekh, D. (2017). Silos and social identity: The social identity approach as a framework for understanding and overcoming divisions in health care. Milbank Quarterly, 95(1), 74-102.

Horvath, A. O., Del Re, A. C., Flückiger, C., & Symonds, D. (2011). Alliance in individual psychotherapy. Psychotherapy, 48(1), 9-16.

Sexton, T. L., Carlson, R. G., & Leukefeld, C. G. (2003). Perceptions of drug abuse treatment among rural African Americans and Anglo Americans. Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, 35(2), 171-178.

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