How much will it cost?
Getting what we want out of therapy is dependent on what we're willing to put in, and that includes honest reflection on how much we're willing to invest in our emotional health.
After the initial intake, clients are asked to set their own fees, which means everyone who works with me pays a different fee according to their own life circumstances. However, clients who are searching for a therapist based solely on the least amount they can pay may want to try another provider.
Sowing the Seeds for Change
Before pursuing any kind of treatment, it can be useful to imagine what it is we'll hope to gain from it. How would we know that therapy is "working" further on down the line? What would those gains and changes be worth to us?
Even if a client chose to pay something like $195 per treatment, and their annual household income matched our city's median for 2018 ($76,839), that would mean that an entire month of therapy would comprise about 1% of their annual income.
How much are we truly willing to invest in our mental well-being? Are our resources -- both psychological and financial -- being directed in a way that reflects our desire to feel better? Or is our struggle to put our needs first part of what got us to where we are?
I am an out-of-network provider whose care is covered by several insurance companies. If you have a PPO plan, you may have a percentage of the fee you set reimbursed to you by their insurance provider (often up to 80% of the fee).
I intentionally choose not to work with HMO (in-network) insurances because I value being able to customize treatment to a given client's needs rather than have it be dictated by a third party (who limits the frequency that we can meet, total number of sessions, etc.).
Navigating out-of-network PPO benefits can seem daunting at first, but it's possible. There is a helpful guide here.
I choose to operate on an unconventional sliding scale in a capitalistic economy because I feel passionate about any one of us having access to high quality therapy, regardless of job or income.
However, those of you who choose to set your fee on the higher end of your scale, whatever that may be, will be directly i) assisting the less-fortunate to get the support they need, and ii) expanding my capacity to serve all of us -- including yourselves -- at my highest potential.
The number of clients I wish to take on each week is a very small handful compared to the average therapist in Boston.
This is because that after covering my basic living and practice expenses, it is my priority to sustain as much as possible a contemplative lifestyle -- modeled after the monastic one I lived for years, rather than to increase my earnings.
This ensures the highest quality of presence for each of my clients, and guarantees that all who work with me receive the same level of care regardless of what they're paying.
An Unconventional Model
Many would warn that this is no model for profitable or even sustainable business, and they would be right. That is because what I hope to model is not about sustainable profit, but sustainable living. In this way of approaching the world, a sense of contentment & tangible, real-life abundance naturally reveals itself.
If it happens that this model inspires at least a few people to reflect on the true value of themselves and their psychological well-being when seeking out my services, then this is a system that I'm willing to bet on.