Why Is Private Counselling So Expensive?

By August 30, 2017Uncategorized
a pot filled with coins and a plant growing out of it

Recently, the BBC made their on-air presenters’ salaries public. This week, I find myself once again thinking about the thorny issue of private counselling and why is it so expensive? I usually feel uncomfortable when telling people how much I charge per hour – especially when that hour is only 50 minutes long! Having paid for plenty of counselling for myself, I can remember thinking how expensive it seemed. So, this blog is my unashamed attempt at self justification. Hopefully I will explain why I (and most other therapists who work privately) charge what we do and why therapy is so expensive.

Just a few weeks ago, I worked out just how much I actually take home after my expenses. In other words, what is my wage? When I look at my diary, I am pretty busy – so why aren’t I a millionaire? I added up my costs and took them away from my income. I then divided those costs by the number of sessions I held. When I broke it down, I take home around 33% of my session fee – before tax. Feel free to work out what that is from my session fee!

Why Aren’t Counsellors Millionaires?

So, what are the main weekly costs of being a counsellor? Firstly, I have to pay for room hire.  This amount varies but can easily be a quarter of the session fee. Secondly, as a counsellor,  I have to have at least an hour and a half’s supervision per month. This is to make sure that those I work with are being helped the very most possible. I choose to have two sets of supervision a month – both of which cost money. I pay for my membership of the BACP and Public Indemnity Insurance. Fourthly, I’m required to have regular training. This is so that I am always developing as a counsellor. Training can also be pretty expensive. Fifthly, I pay to advertise on online directories and search engines. That’s so people like you can find me. Lastly, I buy most of the creative materials I use in my work – the paints, toys, games that help children and young people express their feelings.

The Cost Of Training

Of course, this list doesn’t take into account how much it costs just to get to the point of being able to practice as a qualified Children’s and Young People’s Counsellor. That amount is eye-watering and easily goes into the tens of thousand. I, like most counsellors had to work for free for several years as part of qualifying. Due to the lack of Children and Youth Counselling courses near me, I also had to travel each week to London and Leeds to complete my training and Placement hours.

So, if you look at my or another therapists’ fees and think we are all millionaires – please do think again! Being a therapist is not a profession people go into to make money. Many people I know do well just to get by. Please remember that there are many unseen expenses to working in this field and that is why therapy can seem so expensive.

Want To Find A Private Counsellor?

If you want to find a private counsellor / therapist then Counselling Directory has hundreds of qualified therapists that you can search by post code / type of difficulty etc.


  • Anne says:

    But counsellors seem to actually say very little, so what are we paying for??

    • Sue Brown says:

      Good question! A good counsellor helps the person to find the answers to their own difficulties so, long-term, they won’t need someone like a counsellor when they struggle.Most people who go to a counsellor feel like they have no idea what the “answer” is. If they knew how to make themselves feel better, they wouldn’t be going to a therapist! The key is in knowing what questions to ask and creating the conditions for the person to change. Some counsellors will suggest some things as well – but it depends on the therapeutic approach of each counsellor.

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