The Average Cost of Marriage Counseling and How to Know if You Should Start?

Marriage, divorce, counseling and your finances – a snapshot.

Maybe it’s because everything she’s saying to you lately is negative. Maybe it’s because she’s always angry – and you don’t know why. Maybe your sex-life has become non-existent. Or maybe you just don’t know how to talk to your wife anymore. She doesn’t laugh at your jokes the way she used to – or respond to you in the same way.

The fact is, there are many different reasons marriages break down. Here’s another fact: you’re not alone. In Western cultures, more than 90% of people get married, and in the US alone, 40-50% of those marriages end in divorce. The divorce rate for subsequent marriages is even higher.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise then that 43% of married couples decide to see a marriage counselor. Of those who don’t attend counseling, 52% are interested in trying it out.

Couple Considering their Marriage Counselling

Who can help?

There are many different types of mental healthcare providers, and you can read about them here. But Marriage and Family Therapists devote around 53% of their practice to marital and family issues, making them the most popular option for couples going through a rough patch. Psychologists are another popular choice, devoting approximately 27% of their practice to marital and family issues.


How much will it cost?

The cost of counseling is dependent on the type of professional you see. The table below has been adapted from this webpage and summarises the different types of mental health professionals, their educational background, costs, and other important information.

Mental health professional Background Cost per session Extra information
Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) Holds at least a Masters Degree in marriage and family therapy $65-$250 Some LMFTs are part of a panel of providers who accept insurance. This could reduce the cost of your therapy, but you need to check with your provider to determine how much will be covered.

Where you are in the US will determine the cost of your sessions.

Free or low-cost therapy is available for people with limited financial means through local clinics, hospitals, and community agencies. These providers are often students in training who provide discounted sessions as they work towards becoming licensed.

Licensed Professional Counselor/Nationally Certified Counselor (LPC/NCC) Holds at least a Master’s Degree in counseling, psychology, or social work) $5-$300 Costs are dependent on the therapist, location, and area.

Most counselors work on a ‘sliding scale’. This is a payment structure based on your income. Not all counselors will advertise this, but you can ask your potential counselor if they would consider doing it for you.

You can use your insurance, but there’s a limited number of sessions it can be used for. Sometimes, only certain types of therapy are covered by your insurance, such as ‘cognitive behavioural therapy’ for example. Be sure to check with your provider.

Psychologist (PsyD) Holds a doctorate degree in psychology $75-$150 per session, sometimes $200 Many insurance plans cover sessions with a psychologist, and if you choose to work with a provider within your network, you will only need to pay your typical co-payment. 

If you choose a provider outside of your network, you’ll find that psychologists charge different rates depending on their location, level of education, and field expertise.

Many work on a sliding scale payment structure (see definition above).

If cost is an issue, many areas have community mental health agencies that provide therapy at a reduced fee.

Some social workers, pastoral care workers and psychiatrists are also known to provide counseling services for couples. You can check out the mental health professionals that practice in your area, and get an estimate for what they charge, by doing a search here.

How many sessions will we need?

Generally speaking, couples require anywhere between four to sixteen sessions with a counselor. The number of sessions you need will depend on the type of problems you’re facing in your relationship, and the length of each session.

As an average (calculated from the costs in the table above), it will cost $160 per session. So if you attend 10 sessions (average taken from the number of sessions stated above), you’re looking at $1600 for a block of counseling sessions.

But some statistics show that couples need an average of 20 sessions, and that, on average it costs $200 per session. That puts the cost of marriage counseling at $4000. So you’re looking at anywhere between $1600-$4000.

Average Cost of Marriage CounselingThe average cost of marriage counseling is in the thousands of dollars

Something else to keep in mind

Always check to make sure your mental health professional of choice is licensed. With Marriage and Family Therapists and Professional Counselors, the word ‘Licenced’ will appear before their titles. Or, when abbreviated, the letter ‘L’.

With psychologists, you’ll have to look up their qualifications to check to see whether they’re licensed in the state they are practicing in. Licensed professionals have completed a required number of post-graduate hours of counseling, and passed a rigorous exam. You can find more information about the different types of mental health professionals here.


Will it work?

For some people, yes, counseling helps, in one source of statistics, 50% of couples end up maintaining their improved relationship two years on. That’s just one statistic, though, and you can find more here.

But everyone’s situation is unique. YOUR situation is unique. It depends on the issues you’re facing in your relationship, how open and responsive you and your wife are in your sessions, and just how hard you both want to work towards an improved future together.

Sometimes all you need is a neutral party to hear you both out, and other times more drastic measures are required. Either way, it’s important to take action when you sense something is off. The longer you let your issues fester, the less likely it is that you’ll be able to fix what’s broken.

The most important thing is to ACT NOW to get your marriage back on track.


Another Option

If your wife isn't as committed to the counseling as you, and your not sure if she will go. Or the price is a too much there is another option. A counselor with over 25 years experience has written a fantastic guide for people wanting to save their marriage.

It goes through how marriages in different stages of trouble can work their way back to a loving, committed relationship. Out of all the programs, books and videos I have seen on this subject it is the most thorough, has the best advice and is the most comprehensive.

You can see it for yourself here.

Marriage Trouble Guide


Best of luck in your situation. If you have any queries, questions or comments then please contact me here.