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How to Find Reasonably Priced OCD Therapy

Moneymagpie Team 12th Sep 2022 One Comment

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is an extremely debilitating mental disorder. If left untreated, the symptoms of OCD will likely worsen until they completely overturn the sufferer’s life. 

The conventional treatment for OCD is a combination of therapy and medication, although the former takes precedence over the latter. Over the course of months-long sessions with trained ERP therapists, you can successfully overcome your OCD. 

Unfortunately, OCD therapy isn’t cheap, with most patients racking up thousands of dollars of bills each month. And that’s not right. 

However, there are reasonably priced treatment options for OCD. This comprehensive guide will walk you through the steps for finding affordable OCD treatment options without compromising on the quality of treatment. 


What is OCD Therapy?

OCD therapy is both like and unlike regular psychotherapy. It is like regular psychotherapy because it involves weekly sessions with a therapist who talks and guides you through your problems. 

But in addition to talk therapy, OCD therapy emphasizes changing your thinking patterns and behaviors. It does so by making you confront your various OCD triggers head-on in a safe and controlled environment and encourage you to not respond to those triggers like you usually would.  

Hence, this type of therapy is known as Exposure Response Prevention (ERP) Therapy.  

These sessions typically last 45 minutes to an hour and can go on for weeks, months, and even years.


How Much Does OCD Therapy Cost

There’s no sugarcoating it: OCD therapy is expensive and remains largely inaccessible. 

The average cost of one ERP session is around $200-$300, with some costing up to $500. Let’s say you have one session per week for up to 12 months. At the end of your treatment, you’ll have spent anywhere between $10,400 to $26,000. 

And that’s not even considering the cost of medication or diagnosis. 


Why Does OCD Therapy Cost So Much?

OCD treatment might seem needlessly expensive, but there are good reasons behind it:  

  • Under-recognition of OCD prevalence — despite OCD being a fairly common disorder, its impact remains underestimated, especially by health insurance providers. As such, many insurance providers dismiss the need for OCD specialty care and ERP therapists, leaving patients no choice but to pay out of pocket.  
  • OCD treatment isn’t easy work — ERP therapists undergo extensive training, arguably more extensive than other methods of psychotherapy. Beyond ERP training, OCD specialists also require deep knowledge and understanding of OCD, which is a highly complex disorder. Hence, this high level of investment warrants high specialty rates and charges. 
  • Lack of trained ERP specialists — Because of how difficult and demanding ERP training is, most don’t excel at it. Hence, there is a lack of qualified OCD specialists, driving up the cost of the few available legitimate OCD specialists. 
  • Misdiagnosis — OCD is a highly misdiagnosed disorder, especially in children. Many patients spend years going from doctor to doctor before the underlying issue is correctly identified, diagnosed, and addressed. 
  • Incorrect treatment — Misdiagnosis leads to years of incorrect treatments, including non-specialized therapy, high dosages of medication, ER visits, and residential treatment centers. These treatments ultimately waste your time, energy, and money, at the same time potentially worsening your OCD symptoms. 

While most of these factors, such as insurance policies, are out of your control, some of them are definitely avoidable. 


How to Find Affordable OCD Therapy

Finding affordable OCD therapy is difficult, but not impossible. 

As discussed in the previous section, factors such as insurance policies and specialty training drive up the base cost of OCD treatment. However, many patients end up spending thousands of dollars more than they would have if they hadn’t been misdiagnosed or given the wrong treatment. 

Think about it: if you’re getting the right treatment from the get-go, you won’t waste your resources going from treatment center to treatment center. Furthermore, you won’t have to take unnecessarily high dosages of medication, and you won’t end up in the ER as frequently. 

Hence, the surefire way to find affordable OCD therapy is to find a good OCD specialist from the get-go, regardless of initial high costs. Here are some tips for finding the right OCD therapist for you: 

  • Ask for references and reviews from people who have undergone OCD treatment. The best way to do this is by joining OCD support groups. 
  • Make sure your therapist is qualified in specialty ERP therapy. 
  • Ask your therapist about their training and background in treating OCD. 
  • If your therapist tries to withhold any of this information, this should be an immediate red flag. 
  • Be straightforward about your concerns regarding treatment costs. Some therapists offer discounts, scholarships, and payment plans to reduce the cost of treatment. 


Low-Cost Treatment Options for OCD

Without insurance, conventional ERP therapy for OCD can be extremely costly. Luckily, we live in a time in which resources for OCD treatment are in abundance. Here are some low-cost options for alternative OCD treatment: 

  • Scholarships — some OCD treatment providers offer full or partial scholarships to cover treatment costs. However, only intensive clinics and programs offer scholarships, which usually have a long waitlist. 
  • Teletherapy — over-the-phone or online OCD therapy courses are significantly cheaper than in-person sessions. 
  • Sliding scale payment plans — some OCD treatment providers offer payment plans for patients who cannot afford the full fee of treatment. You can use the IOCDF resource directory to search for professionals and clinics that provide sliding-scale payment plans. 
  • Research studies — researchers are always looking for participants to partake in studies on the development of new treatments for OCD. Participating in these studies is completely free, and some researchers even offer compensation for your participation. 

In addition to these low-cost treatment alternatives, you can also turn to support and self-help resources to supplement your ongoing treatment. These include online programs and apps, support groups, hotlines, and self-help books. 



While there are countless and extensive resources for OCD treatment, not everyone can afford them. But no one should be denied treatment for OCD simply because they can not bear the cost. 

Some low-cost alternatives include payment plans, teletherapy, and participating in research studies. 

But the most surefire way to save costs, in the long run, is investing in a good and reliable OCD therapist from the get-go. This way, you won’t waste money on misdiagnoses and ineffective treatments. 


DisclaimerMoneyMagpie is not a licensed financial or health advisor and therefore information found here including opinions, commentary, suggestions or strategies are for informational, entertainment or educational purposes only. This should not be considered as financial or health advice. Anyone thinking of investing should conduct their own due diligence.

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8 months ago

MoneyMagpie is the UK’s leading self-help money site” it says. Why then is this article clearly written for readers in the US?

Jasmine Birtles

Your money-making expert. Financial journalist, TV and radio personality.

Jasmine Birtles

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