Fees and Money in Psychotherapy & Counseling:
Therapists' Self-Assessment Regarding Their General Attitude Towards Money
By Ofer Zur, Ph.D.
Following are series of questions that may help therapists clarify their relationship to money and hopefully will aid them in dealing more effectively with money issues with their clients. Many therapists have not consciously articulated the meaning of money for themselves and as a result sometimes they do not handle money matters well. Take a few minutes to answer these questions.
- Do you feel that providing care is incompatible with being paid?
- What kind of messages and modeling did you receive from father/mother, grandfather, etc., in regard to making, saving and having money, being comfortable, being poor or being rich? Who gave what message? How were these messages conveyed?
- Do you feel deserving of being paid for providing psychotherapy service?
- How are you in regard to setting realistically high fees?
- How are you in regard to earning “a lot” of money?
- What are your feelings about rich people?
- Is your relationship to money similar in any way to your relationships to time and/or sex?
- How would you define the meaning of money for you?
- Do you vacillate in your attention to money matters and, if so, to what do you attribute this?
- How are you in regard to expecting to be paid on time?
- Many authors, therapists and clients have likened therapy clients paying for love to prostitution clients paying for love. What are your thoughts and feelings about this analogy?
- Do you know what the average charge is for therapy in your area, for therapists with similar credentials and a similar type of setting and clientele? Do you know how to obtain such information?
- Have you clearly defined criteria by which to set your fees, such as full fee, sliding scale, bartering, pro-bono?
- Do you feel comfortable talking to your clients about money?
- Do you have clear office policies regarding fees?
- Are you, your assistant or the person who sends out bills good about billing clients consistently and on time?
- Have you looked for education or consultations regarding money concerns?
- Do you keep count of your total earnings and the average fee you have charged throughout your psychotherapy career?
- Would you feel better about yourself if you changed your attitude and management practices regarding money issues in therapy?
- Reflecting on the above answers, how would you define the challenges and obstacles to successfully dealing with money in your practice?