This really depends on which country you’re in, and it also depends on how much your insurance covers, if you are insured. DBT is very expensive, unfortunately, and I’ve read it can cost up to $46k per year. Any research I do on cost seems to vary depending on the clinic and the location, so I can’t give you a real answer. If you’re paying for it on your own, you can probably expect anywhere from $100-200 per session, though with insurance, you may have something like a $20-50 copay, but that may not be entirely accurate. It varies.
The high cost and lack of availability is the reason I haven’t been able to do DBT myself. Some people can afford it because they may live in countries where healthcare isn’t as ridiculous as it is in the US, and some people may have better insurance.
It really depends on your area, what country you’re in, whether it’s through a hospital or private, etc. Since Mea gave you an American answer, I’ll give you a Canadian one.
I’m Canadian, and while a hospital in my area offers a free DBT program through them, I’m ineligible because of my postal code. Most people in
Canada, if they get DBT at all, get it through a hospital so it’s free.
Unfortunatly only a few hospitals in the country have DBT programs and
they’re very hard to get into and have incredibly long waiting lists
(some places it’s 3 years).
So I have to go to a private DBT
centre and the financial burden is pretty significant. DBT can be more
expensive than other forms of therapy since you usually have to pay for
the group component as well as the individual therapy. Depending on
where you are and what type of therapist you’re seeing, individual
therapy for DBT at my centre is anywhere between $120-175 CND. When I
went to DBT in Atlantic Canada, it was $140/h with a registered
psychologist who trained with Marsha Linehan, rather than out here in
Vancouver where a registered psychologist trained in DBT costs $175.
For full DBT, usually you’re looking at one individual session a week
and then one group session a week, which can add up to around $10,000 if
you go every single week in a year at the highest pay rate. Which is why we’re careful to
stress how difficult it is to access therapy for so many people, because
the financial burden is just so huge.
Some therapists help
low-income clients out by having a sliding scale payment method, where
basically your financial capabilities determine what you end up paying.
However, many therapists don’t do this and it’s virtually impossible to
find other funding for therapy. There really aren’t any grants for
this sort of thing, and extended health insurance (at least in Canada)
is generally very bad at covering an adequate amount of psychologist
visits for health insurance to be of any use to me. The only financial
assistance that has ever been suggested to me is going on disability and
using that monthly amount of money to pay for therapy, which is
possible. But most people who are eligible to go on disability need
that money to pay rent and feed themselves, so it’s not a very good
Unfortunately the way people afford therapy most of the
time is either 1) they’re rich enough to be able to finance it with no
problems or 2) people go into debt to get the therapy they need.
Otherwise, people can’t go to therapy most of the time, or they can’t go
often enough to get the amount of help they really need.
I wish I
had better news for you, but mental health care is very inaccessible
for the vast majority of people. DBT is even worse in most cases
because it’s so specialized. That’s why on this blog we try to give
people as many tools as possible to manage their disorder on their own,
because we recognize that therapy isn’t an option for probably most of
our followers. You can always try to walk yourself through DBT, using
either some of the worksheets here or here, or by buying the DBT Skills Workbook or the DBT Skills Training Manual, both of which you would be using in professional DBT anyway.
I’m also Canadian, and the DBT services are held through the mental health services branch in my town. I live in a smaller town so the branch can handle influx of people and leave the more emergency and life threatening stuff for the hospital. It’s all free for me, but since it is a smaller town, we have what my therapist calls “DBT light”. No one here is certified to do the full DBT course and so they’ve had to develop a light form that doesn’t full address most things.