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  • Writer's pictureMartha Witkowski

Why You Shouldn't Use Insurance for Therapy

The world is changing, and with that comes much less stigma regarding mental health. More people than ever are reaching out for therapy. This sheds light not only different health and wellness issues, but also how we access support. And one important question is, how will you pay for therapy? Some people rely on their insurance to cover therapy costs, but, many individuals choose self-pay options, intentionally so. At Root Counseling, we made a decision years ago to not work with insurance companies, for many reasons. Let’s go over the benefits of not using your insurance for your therapy appointments.

Complete Confidentiality and Privacy

When you choose not to use your insurance for mental health therapy, your sessions are completely and totally confidential. There is nothing to report to anyone. There is no diagnois, treatment plan, or session notes to send in for approval from some stranger at an insurance company, who may or may not decide to cover your services. Therapy is deep! I don’t know about you, but, I personally am not interested in some insurance worker checking out my progress notes and learning my deep dark secrets. We believe that therapy should remain private between you and your therapist. The healthcare system is simply not set up to allow for confidentially when using insurance for therapy.

No Limitations on Sessions

Insurance policies often limit the number of sessions they will cover per year. This can be restrictive if you are in need of ongoing support. Private payment allows you and your therapist to determine the length and frequency of your sessions based on your unique needs, without being bound by predetermined limits set by insurance providers. Imagine going through a traumatic event and your insurance company telling you that you should be healed within 10 sessions. How can we put such a defined limit on growth and healing? How does an insurance provider know what is best for the client? We believe that together the client and therapist can work to find what is best as far as duration of therapy goes.  

Freedom to Choose Your Therapist

Not all therapists accept insurance due to the bureaucracy and limitations imposed by insurance companies. By choosing to pay privately, you widen your options and are free to select a therapist who best suits your needs, regardless of their network affiliations. This is crucial in finding a therapist with whom you can build a strong therapeutic relationship.

If you’ve read any of our other content, you know we are all about attachment-based therapy. That is completely dependent on the connection between the client and therapist and the quality of the therapeutic alliance. Limiting your selection of therapists to the ones who only take your insurance seriously limits the pool of individuals you get to choose from.

No Required Diagnoses

Insurance coverage often necessitates a formal diagnosis. However, not everyone who seeks therapy has a diagnosable mental health condition; sometimes, people need support to manage life transitions, relationship issues, or personal growth. This is way more common than you would think! Not to mention that things like C-PTSD are not yet recognized by insurance companies as a mental health diagnosis. Private pay allows for therapy to address these areas without the requirement for a diagnosis that stays on your medical records.

And that’s the other thing. Have you ever had a therapist, or, even a doctor add a diagnosis to your medical record? If you have, you know that it is not something that is easy to remove from your record. This has many implications. In some cases, it qualifies as a pre-existing condition. Regardless of that, if you see other doctors in the same health facility, they, along with all the other healthcare workers, will see this condition listed on your record every time that you enter the doctors office.

Flexibility in Types of Therapy Offered

Therapists working outside the insurance system can often offer more innovative or specialized modalities that might not be covered by insurance plans. This flexibility can be particularly beneficial if you are seeking a specific type of therapy that is less traditional or more tailored to your personal experiences and goals. I have personally seen some insurance companies only cover what they consider to be “evidence-based modalities”, which in their opinion, meant they would only cover cognitive-behavioral therapy. This can be very limited and only allow coverage for basic level therapy modalities.

Streamlined Administrative Processes

Dealing with insurance can often be cumbersome, involving claims, approvals, and potential disputes. Private pay simplifies the administrative process, allowing more time and focus to be dedicated to the therapy itself rather than paperwork and compliance with insurance regulations.

I don’t know about you, but I prefer my therapist be more focused on their own growth and training than on paperwork!

Final Thoughts

Choosing private pay for mental health services is a decision that offers numerous benefits, including privacy, personalized care, and a broader selection of therapy options. At Root Counseling, we believe in making mental health support as accessible and effective as possible, and we find that operating on a private pay basis best supports this goal. We invite you to contact us to discuss how this approach can benefit your therapy journey, ensuring that you receive the care tailored exactly to your needs without any unnecessary constraints.


 At Root Counseling, we care about not only making mental health care accessible, but making sure the therapist you are paired with is the best fit possible to meet your needs. To schedule an appointment with one of our therapists, you can visit us here.

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