Marriage is a commitment that requires working through issues. If you and your spouse have found that communication has broken down and you require a unbiased person to help separate the real problems from the perceived, you may be looking for a marriage counsellor. Marriage counsellors vary in cost and availability. Check your insurance resources and counsellor costs to see what is workable for you.
As with all medical and therapeutic professions, the cost for marriage counselling varies depending on the experience and expertise of the counsellor and the region where you live. Expect to see prices ranging from £29 to £130 per hour. On average, marriage and family counselling is about £65 for an hour. This can add up quickly, as most marriage counsellors prefer to see clients weekly at the beginning. In fact, many counsellors require a two-hour intake for your initial appointment to get a better grasp of what issues you and your spouse face.
If spending upwards of £780 in just three months for marriage counselling makes divorce seem like a better alternative, don't give up yet! Call your insurance company and see whether you are covered for psychological treatments including marriage and family counselling. Many insurance policies include family therapy because this area of counselling has been shown to help reduce overall use of health-care coverage by more than 21%. You may be given a maximum number of treatments that each include a co-pay. Policies vary, so check with your plan provider.
If you have found one or two therapists that you feel would be a good fit for you and your family and have checked with your insurance company about your coverage, but still don't feel you can afford counselling, talk to the therapist. Many therapists are willing to work on a sliding scale. This may mean that they will lower the co-pay you are responsible for or will greatly reduce their fees based on what you can afford. If they aren't able to help you, many can recommend other counsellors. Remember, you have nothing to lose by asking.
One of the alternatives to family counselling for you and your spouse is group therapy. These programs are often less expensive than going in as a couple alone. You may also check with your insurance program to see if these group counselling services are covered as well, further reducing your cost.
While many couples are fearful about entering a room and laying their dirty laundry out to a room full of strangers (it's tough enough when it's one stranger, the counsellor) most find relief shortly after beginning the sessions by realising that they are not alone. Many friendships develop from these sessions as well.
One of the main considerations you need to think about outside of cost when looking for marriage and family counselling is the counsellor's availability -- and your own. You need to find a therapist who has the time and flexibility so that both you and your spouse can attend sessions. Generally, couples who attend together require fewer sessions than those who only have one person attend or who attend separately. When talking to possible counsellors, inquire about their willingness to take phone calls. If there is a situation that requires immediate attention, will this counsellor be able to field the call, and what are the costs associated with that?