Why do clients want to pay out of pocket for therapy? There are many important reasons! Here a just a few of the benefits:
First, Choice. Finding the right therapist is key to making your sessions productive. You must feel that your therapist is a good fit for you. The therapeutic relationship is an important one and you need to be confident that your therapist is your ally. Unlike with some agencies that take insurance, you may not be able to choose your therapist. Usually, you get the next available therapist and most times these therapists are young inexperienced people just out of school or in process of getting their license. Don’t be a guinea pig! If you want to choose a therapist based on credentials, reputation, experience, and who you feel is a good fit, you will likely have to pay for therapy yourself.
Next, flexibility. You see, when therapists accept insurance, they are now bound by the rules and regulations of the insurance company, essentially they now work for them, not you. Rules over the length of treatment, medications, diagnosis, what your sessions focus on, and how often you can be seen may ultimately impact your success. I want YOU to be in charge of who you see, when you see them, and what you want the sessions to be working on. Only when you pay out of pocket can you make autonomous decisions about the length, frequency, and focus of your sessions.
You make autonomous decisions. Do you have to take medications to alleviate your symptoms? Some insurance companies will only pay for continued sessions if you are being seen by a psychiatrist and are being prescribed psychiatric medication. Yes, there are times when medications are needed, but shouldn’t that be your choice? When you are paying out of pocket, YOU are in charge of your health. Medications should be a discussion together with your therapist and doctor. YOU have the final say.
Your personal growth during therapy is my only goal. Insurance companies, not so much. Clients who use insurance have therapists who must use certain standardized templates of how to treat a particular problem. Sound cookie-cutter? It is! In order to make significant changes in your life and not go back to dysfunctional familiar patterns, you must have a deeper understanding of how your problem developed. If you want to make lasting changes in your life and stop repeating dysfunctional behaviors, you must have a therapist who has the ability to customize your personal growth plan and goals. You will not receive this with an insurance company cookie-cutter model.
Lastly, confidentiality. Have you ever worried that your decision to see a mental health therapist could come back to haunt you? When you use insurance you should be. There are many cases in which consumers have been turned down for employment, life, or health insurance because they have sought out needed help. With insurance, you must sign a release of information form. This allows them to not only control the sessions but they can also sell your information to other companies. Signing that release of information form gives up your privacy.