How Can I Get Free Family Therapy?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Resources for free family therapy can include clinics with sliding scale fees, service organizations that provide free therapy, and counselors who agree to take on some pro bono patients. Reduced-cost programs are also available for qualified applicants and may be an option if fully free services are not available in a given area. Therapists may also be willing to consider adjustments to a schedule or payment plan on an individual basis for people who need family therapy and cannot afford it at the stated price.

A family on a walk.
A family on a walk.

If a family member is in crisis, a mental health crisis organization may be able to provide immediate assistance. This can include hospitalization for people experiencing severe psychological problems, or emergency therapy sessions that may be free or low-cost if people explain that they cannot afford therapy. Resources for information on crisis groups can include mental health hotlines, regional emergency services, and local hospitals or clinics. In situations where family members have been in therapy and have stopped, the prior therapist may have suggestions for free family therapy options.

Some mental health agencies may offer free family therapy.
Some mental health agencies may offer free family therapy.

In non-emergency situations, free family therapy may be available from a number of sources. People may find it helpful to contact a local mental health services agency or advocacy organization to get a listing of options in their community. These can include free therapy groups, support programs run through clinics and hospitals, and private therapy sessions. It is also possible to directly contact therapists and family therapy clinics to determine if they have programs for low-income patients or offer free family therapy.

Funding for family therapy may be available for people who need it and cannot afford it, making it available at no charge or at a low cost. As with sliding scale programs at clinics, patients will usually need to provide information about their income and circumstances. This helps a representative determine whether the patient meets the standards for the program. If a situation is unusual, like someone makes more than the poverty limit but has special financial circumstances, these should be clearly documented to increase the chances of being eligible for assistance.

Another potential resource for free family therapy might be found at a training institution for therapists. People who are learning to provide family therapy services are required to complete clinical training and a practicum where they get experience with real patients. Some facilities offer free or low-cost services to members of the public who agree to work with students in training. Sessions are supervised and discussed with an experienced therapist to reduce potential risks to patients.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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