Why is Therapy Expensive?

Published: August 1, 2022

Why is therapy so expensive? Many times I have encountered this question be it face to
face or through various media platforms. More often than not frustration, irritation or
even anger is the main feeling or emotion that is expressed.

Let me first define what therapy is all about. Therapy is a broad treatment system with
many far-reaching branches. In this context, therapy refers to the use of psychological
methods and systems to treat people with depression, anxiety, and other mental
disorders. Various types of therapy in psychology exist.

It is also important to identify the difference between therapy and counselling. Usually,
counseling focuses on a specific issue for a limited amount of time. Therapy can be
more long-term and focuses on you as an individual. How you see yourself and the
world, your thoughts, and your behaviors, as well as the underlying patterns of why you
do the things you do. In this regard, therapy is often considered ‘deeper’ than
counselling as it seeks to uncover and modify the root or historical causes of your
problems. Outcomes in therapy are often more dramatic, as they may represent
significant shifts in your perspective, beliefs, personality or feelings.

Therapy is indeed very costly. This cost depends on the provider’s level of education,
license status, specialized certifications and level of expertise. In order to receive a
license; therapists have to go through a lot of training and years before they can actually
Lastly, therapy is expensive because there are many bills to pay:

  1. Rent and utilities.
  2. County licensure fees, each license requires annual fees to be paid.
  3. Continuing education courses; these are necessary in order to keep the licenses.
  4. Liability insurance.
  5. Marketing costs.
  6. Fees to maintain certifications and courses to keep them active.
  7. Books that therapists read to help them maintain.
  8. Yearly fees and courses to maintain different certification statuses active.
  9. Educational loans have to be paid off.

The problem of expensive therapy fees, therefore, lies within a broken health care
system that neglects to take care of us all in crucial and fundamental ways, deferring
the work of the mental health practitioners to an expensive rented hour with a
professional who herself is a part of a system that is already dysfunctional.

According to The Kenya Mental Health Policy 2015-2030 there is a commitment to
pursuing policy measures and strategies for achieving optimal health status and
capacity of each individual. It provides for a framework on interventions for securing
mental health systems reforms in Kenya. This is in line with the Constitution of Kenya
2010, Vision 2030, the Kenya Health Policy (2014- 2030) and the global commitments.
The Constitution of Kenya 2010, in article 43. (1)(a) provides that “every person has the
right to the highest attainable standard of health, which includes the right to healthcare
services” 1 . This necessarily includes mental health.

My hope is that we can demand change from our policymakers who can create and
fund programs that would enable us to shift our values from adequate mental health
provisions for those who can afford it to all who need it. “There can be no health without
mental health”- Dr Brock Chisholm, the first Director-General of the World Health
Organization (WHO)

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