So you’re interested in seeing a therapist but you’re not made of money. Are there even options for people who can’t afford $120+ per session for therapy in Charlotte? The short answer is yes. There’s actually a wide range of free and low-cost options.
We know that it can be difficult to figure out what those options are, and sometimes that extra hardship can simply be too much to overcome. That’s why we put together this comprehensive guide to finding free and low-cost therapy in Charlotte. Everyone deserves access to affordable mental health care, and our hope is that you can use this list to find support at a price you can afford.
How to Get Free or Low Cost Therapy in Charlotte
Before jumping into the list of Charlotte area resources, it’s important to understand the different ways you may be able to cover the cost of therapy. You may have access to options you weren’t even aware of.
If you have health insurance, the cost of counseling may be significantly reduced or even free. Check your insurance benefits to find out how much your share of the cost will be. Then find out which counselors are in-network with your plan by checking your insurance company’s provider directory. Your plan may also offer a reduced rate for out-of-network counselors (those that aren’t listed in their directory).
Not all counselors accept insurance, but it’s easy to find the ones that do using Psychology Today’s therapist directory. Search for therapists in Charlotte, then filter the results by selecting your insurance company in the insurance section.
Medicare & Medicaid
Just like with insurance, having Medicare or Medicaid can greatly reduce or even eliminate your fees for counseling. Finding a counselor who works with Medicare and Medicaid works the same as with insurance, too. Check your benefits or use Psychology Today’s therapist directory. You may have to click “show more insurances” in the insurance section to see the option for Medicare or Medicaid.
Employee Assistance Programs
Some companies offer counseling benefits through what’s known as an Employee Assistance Program (EAP). These benefits are typically available at Charlotte’s larger companies such as Bank of America and IBM. Through this program your employer will pay for a set number of counseling sessions each year. Just like with the above options, there will be specific therapists who are covered by your plan. If you’re not sure if you have these benefits or what they cover, check with your company’s human resources department.
Sliding Scale Therapy
Many therapists in Charlotte offer sliding scale fees for their services, meaning they adjust the cost of therapy based on your income level. You can find therapists that offer a sliding scale on Open Counseling or Open Path. If there’s a particular therapist you’d like to see but they don’t advertise a sliding scale, just ask! Some therapists are willing to offer reduced fees for a set number of clients.
Therapists in Training
As part of their training, all graduate-level counseling students do an internship in which they see clients under the supervision of an experienced, fully licensed therapist. Since the interns aren’t fully licensed yet, they typically provide counseling services at a reduced rate.
Pfeiffer University has a low-cost therapy clinic in Charlotte that provides training for their graduate students studying marriage and family therapy. The clinic charges $30 for the initial intake and offers a sliding scale for sessions after the initial intake.
At Alternative Living Solutions of North Carolina you can see a counselor in training at no cost. Just go to their walk-in counseling center during walk-in hours. There are no fees and you don’t need insurance.
While you may prefer individual therapy, group therapy can be just as effective and often costs far less. You can find groups in the Charlotte area for as little as $30. Search for support groups on Psychology Today to find a group that’s a good fit for you.
Peer to Peer Support
You’ve probably heard of support groups like Alcoholics Anonymous or Al-Anon. In addition to those, there are a ton of other support groups designed to help people dealing with things like grief, divorce, depression, sexual assault, mental illness, and just about anything else you can think of. The National Alliance on Mental Illness offers a number of support groups in Charlotte. You can also find many Charlotte support groups on Meetup.
Where to Get Free or Low-Cost Therapy in Charlotte
Now that you know all the options available to help pay for therapy, it’s time to learn specifically where these options are available in the Charlotte area.
Psychology for All - Provides up to 8 free mental health care sessions to adults who satisfy low-income eligibility guidelines. Eligible individuals are matched with an experienced therapist from a diverse list of local psychological service providers who partner with PFA. If additional sessions are needed, eligible individuals pay only $20 out-of-pocket for up to 8 sessions.
C.W. Williams Community Health Center - Individual, group, and family counseling along with a multitude of other health services for all. Sliding scale rates are based on income.
Monarch - Outpatient behavioral health including individual and group therapy. Their Open Access program allows you to simply walk in for an initial appointment that includes a comprehensive clinical assessment, treatment plan, psychiatric evaluation with prescriptions if needed, and a referral to the proper level of care. Sliding scale rates available for uninsured individuals.
Charlotte Community Health Clinic - Individual counseling for children and adults. Trauma-informed counseling, addiction counseling, cognitive behavioral therapy, and medication assisted treatment available. A sliding scale is available for those without insurance.
Turning Point Family Services - Individual and family counseling for children, adults, and families. They also offer substance abuse counseling, Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT), Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT), Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), and Cognitive Processing Therapy. A sliding scale is available.
Counseling Center at Charlotte - Faith-based professional counseling for individuals, couples, and families. Reduced fees and client assistance funds available depending on circumstances.
Agape Christian Counseling - Professional counseling from a Christian perspective for individuals, couples, and families. Scholarship funds are available to help pay for therapy services. They also have therapist interns who provide services at reduced rates.
Catholic Charities Diocese of Charlotte - Confidential counseling to all individuals regardless of religious affiliation. A sliding scale is offered, with free counseling available depending on income. The nonprofit also provides food and clothing as well as immigrant and refugee assistance.
Presbyterian Psychological Services - Mental health services for individuals, couples, and families regardless of their religious affiliation. They offer a sliding scale based on income but recognize that it may not accommodate everyone, so they also partner with therapist interns to offer even more affordable options.
Where Specific Populations Can Get Free or Low-Cost Therapy in Charlotte
For the LGBTQ Community
Time Out Youth - Free individual, couples, and family counseling for LGBTQ individuals ages 11-23 and their support systems. Those under 18 must have signed parent/guardian consent. Priority is given to LGBTQ youth who are uninsured, economically disadvantaged, or experiencing housing instability.
Transcend Charlotte - Mental health, social support, and educational services for trans and gender-expansive adults. Their goal is to pursue social justice and equity for trans and gender-expansive communities. Sliding scale is based on income and/or financial hardship.
For the Latino Community
Camino Health Center - A bilingual and multicultural health center that provides holistic care to the underinsured and uninsured. Individual and group therapy, social navigation, and peer support services are available. Fees are based on a sliding scale.
For the Black Community
Sanctuary in the City - A Black-led, queer-led, woman-led organization that provides funding and accessibility to wellness and educational programs for Black people including workshops, retreats, trainings, support groups, and community healing. Various funds and scholarships are available to provide equitable access for all black people.
For Queer and Trans People of Color
Social Justice Emotional Response Collective - Assessments, crisis stabilization, case management, and referrals prioritizing queer and trans people of color. Includes a network of over 100 therapists who provide free mental health support to people affected by systemic injustices in Charlotte. All services are free regardless of ability to pay.
For the Jewish Community
Jewish Family Services of Greater Charlotte - Comprehensive social services for individuals regardless of race or religion, including counseling, support groups, crisis response, senior engagement, and various workshops. A sliding scale for counseling services is available for members of the Jewish community.
For Those Who Are Grieving
Kinder-Mourn - Individual counseling, support groups, and workshops for grieving parents, children, and teens. They also offer a program called Empty Arms for those who have experienced the death of a baby from early pregnancy through newborn death. The initial visit is free and fees for additional services are based on income.
Therapy Is an Investment in You
Just because you don’t have access to financial resources doesn’t mean you can’t invest in your mental health. Use the above options to remove that barrier to getting free or low-cost counseling in Charlotte. Therapy can then become an investment in you rather than an expense for you.
If you are aware of additional free or low-cost therapy options in Charlotte, please contact us so that we can keep this list and our community updated.
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