Are Your Therapy Rates Too High?

By Allison Puryear, LCSW, CEDS on January 15, 2020

Let’s talk about whether you’re charging too much. I'll break it down for you:

  1. There are a lot of us therapists who feel guilty charging no matter what the fee. There’s some money mindset work to do around accepting money, typically early on in establishing our practice. It tends to rear its ugly head again immediately after raising our fees. Then it dies down once you’ve said it aloud a few times. These experiences are usually accompanied by impostor syndrome, which adds a fun twist to the whole process.
  2. Aside from people like us, there are the people who actually charge too much. What’s too much? It’s not a number. It’s a level of discomfort that inhibits your growth. These are the clinicians who said the fee aloud many times, and it’s just not sitting right inside. Impostor syndrome isn’t as much of a factor—it’s just that their gut is saying 'no.' The idea of people paying the fee doesn’t feel expensive; it feels confining.

For this post, I’m talking primarily to group 2. Those of you in group 1 will find some relevant blog posts at Abundance Practice Building. But be sure to read this one, too, because you may land here at some point, and its always better to recognize it early.

Lets say you decided on a fee that felt like a stretch. For the record, when you give yourself a raise, it should always feel like a stretch.

So, you set or raised your fees, and that pit-of-your-stomach feeling just hasn’t gone away. You’ve even searched your soul and found that it wasnt money shame or a lack of confidence causing that feeling either. Heres what I want you to know: when youre outside the realm of money shame and impostor syndrome, you have a clearer sense of what works for you. Your fee and the prices you charge are a deeply personal issue that is about what YOURE looking for in life and what works for you.

People tend to place a heightened focus on what others are charging when deciding what their fees should be, but remember, other peoples fees have nothing to do with you.

Sometimes, people get fee-shamed by other therapists, both for being too high” and even for being too low.” Their opinion of your fee has nothing to do with you.

When, by their estimation, its too high, they say youre greedy and are not a client-centric professional. When its too low,” they tell you that you dont value yourself. They tell you to charge what youre worth. Your fee has nothing to do with your worth. Whether you charge $5 or $500, you and what you provide is worthy.

Ive also seen the argument that we owe it to other therapists to keep our fees high. Some say that this elevates the profession and supports those who have set a higher fee. I vehemently disagree with this. I do not think you should make choices that are misaligned with your values for our profession or for those in it.

If you’re in this space with your fee and you’ve done the requisite self-exploration, lower your fee. There’s absolutely no shame in lowering it. You’re not less worthy as a clinician with a lower fee. You’re simply honoring your own boundaries, listening to your gut, and remaining flexible. To me, that feels better than rigidly holding to a number because someone else suggested that it was a good one.

* The content of this post is intended to serve as general advice and information. It is not to be taken as legal advice and may not account for all rules and regulations in every jurisdiction. For legal advice, please contact an attorney.

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