It is a common phenomenon that people use the words ‘psychologist’ and ‘psychiatrist’ interchangeably but you should know that these are both different jobs that have different responsibilities, education and career scope.
If you’re trying to choose between these two professions, you should first know the difference between the two.
What is a psychiatrist?
A psychiatrist is a medical doctor who has the same level of knowledge as your general medical physician or doctor but they are called psychiatrists because they chose psychiatry as their special subject.
Due to the kind of background and training they have, psychiatrists are allowed to prescribe medicines that can prevent and cure your mental health disorders and also physical health if it is connected with your mental health.
They usually include medicines as the main part of their plan of treatment as they can also refer you to another professional like a psychologist for some kind of talk therapy.
Though medication is required in some instances, talk therapy offers long term treatments. This is why it is often seen that a psychiatrist works along with a therapist or a psychologist.
What is a psychologist?
Psychologists mainly get their Ph.D or PsyD in the main subject, psychology. Generally, psychologists are people who approach the treatment of mental health alongside other theories and psychotherapy and hence they can assess, evaluate, diagnose issues and treat various types of mental health conditions. Psychologists, unlike psychiatrists, aren’t able to write medicines to their patients.
Psychiatry – Why would this be your ideal option?
In case you’re struggling with any kind of mental health issue, a psychiatrist will first determine your underlying condition which might be the main cause or one of the causes of your symptoms.
They are allowed to prescribe medicines and they can refer you to a psychologist in case they think that therapy is needed. They’ll work with you for creating a proper comprehensive plan for curing the issue of the patient.
Psychiatrist – How much does his services cost?
If you are trying to obtain the services of a psychiatrist, you must be wondering about the costs involved. Well, the cost of working with such a professional will entirely depend on where you reside, the requirements of your treatment and your insurance policy coverage.
Besides the fee, there are certain treatments, other lab work and tests that you should consider. The average fee of the psychiatrist is seen to be between $100 and $300 per each appointment. So, for the initial consultation, you may have to pay $500 and later on around $100/hour for the follow-ups.
Are you interested in working with a psychiatrist? If yes, you have to either call them or visit them or have a talk with the staff to figure out their costs. Mention the tests that you may need. There are few exceptional cases where a psychiatrist may himself work with you in order to make your sessions affordable as per your budget.
Speak with the doctor ahead of time so that you can recognize cost-saving alternatives for treatment. You’ll surely find out ways of saving money when you’re prepared beforehand.
The average cost of therapy in the US ranges between $60 and $120/session and majority of the Americans can pay any amount from $20 and $250/hour based on the number of factors including coverage through an insurance plan.
There are multiple ways in which psychiatric care is delivered: in person, online and over the phone. The psychiatrists and other mental health professionals usually charge per session or per hour.
Some of them may also determine their prices based on the income that you make. Therapists and psychiatrists who practice in private are usually costlier than those that sit in mental health clinics.
What kind of insurance coverage is offered for therapy?
In the United States of America, there are laws like the mental health parity law that need benefit plans to cover mental health therapy as they would cover mental health therapy just as they could cover other physical therapies.
There are some insurers that offer enough allowances in the plans, the employers craft the best benefit plans with proper mental health coverage. If you have the Affordable Care Act insurance plans, you’ll have access to the basic level of health care.
Costs of Different Therapies
- Individual Therapy Cost: A single patient may expect to pay nearly $150/hour session for the individual session. These are said to be the most expensive ones.
- Couples Therapy Cost: Couples therapy will depend on the type of professional you’re seeing and their location. Psychiatrists that specialize in family therapy and couples therapy charge you $70-$250/hour.
- Group Therapy: There are few counseling centers that offer group therapy when they feel that their joint experiences will help the patient move towards a cure. The multi-session group therapy rates are around $700/an eight-week course.
How can you afford a psychiatrist?
Though it is true that good quality treatment won’t come cheap, there are several options to help you make the sessions of a psychiatrist affordable for you.
- Leverage your insurance coverage: The insurance policy that you have is the easiest way of reducing the costs related to getting the treatment. Does your coverage include mental health coverage? Cross-check everything before visiting a psychiatrist.
- Know what sliding scales are: There are few occasional psychiatrists and community mental health clinics that will offer price on a sliding scale. The amount that you’ll charge will be based on your income.
- Look for a cheaper mental health clinic: There are clinics that operate at a reduced cost and so people with low income or no coverage can easily get access to their services. They may offer you low-cost appointments.
- Don’t let high costs bar you from seeking help: There’s nothing more vital than your health. You should not allow the high costs from stopping you from receiving the treatment. A little bit of research can find out ways of reducing costs.
You can see a psychiatrist entirely online, without having to worry about walking into an office or anyone being able to see you. If these are some of the issues you struggle with, or have more of an anti-psychiatrist mindset, BetterHelp has an article about how that mentality can do more harm than good.
Therefore, now that you’re sure about the costs and services of a psychiatrist, you can get help from them. Get recommendations from family and friends on the most reputable one to seek help.