What to Do If You Can’t Afford a Therapist – Svali Blog Post 2018

What to Do If You Can’t Afford a Therapist

One issue that survivors commonly face is related to finances: therapy rates are high, and it can be difficult to afford one.  What can be done if an individual wants to work on healing, and doesn’t have the money to pay for therapy?

Below are some suggestions. Please be aware that they are not meant to permanently replace therapy, but to help during the times when finances are tight.

Art and Collages

Art is a “right brain” experience that can help you and your parts to communicate information that isn’t as easy to verbally process.  Over the years, I have created cartoons and drawings in my journals, as well as collages. This can be a way to express yourself, or to get in touch with memories and feelings.  You will want to save your art or collages to bring to therapy when you can afford it.

Many times, the poems, artwork and collages created will have a deeper meaning to the survivor as time goes on, as parts share what the images really mean.

Support Groups

Some churches and other organizations hold groups for a number of issues ranging from incest and sexual abuse, to addictions. These groups may be led by a therapist, or be a peer-led support group.  You can probably find a group that meets near you by checking online, or asking for referrals from churches, or a social worker in your community.

Groups can be a positive experience, and promote healing (and help you feel less alone). But be cautious when sharing and making friends, since the people that go to group may also be survivors of other traumas, including cult abuse. Get to know people for awhile and use discernment as you choose who to befriend.

Online groups also exist, and can be a positive way to meet others. But again, use caution, since you won’t know how healed individuals in the groups are.


For those who cannot afford therapy any other way, community mental health services may be an option. It can take quite awhile to see a therapist, and the quality of therapist can vary. Most CMH agencies tend to use short-term or brief therapies, but they may also offer trauma groups.

Sliding Scale and Interns

The best therapists are expensive, and often require good insurance in order to afford their services. But some will offer a sliding scale for services based on income, which can help make therapy more affordable.  They may have interns (graduate students in psychology or social work working towards their license) who may not have years of experience, but may be teachable – and more affordable.  During your research, find out if the practice you want to work with offers these options.

Find a Support Person

If you have a close friend, or an individual willing to support your healing journey, ask them to consider “being there” for you while you work on journaling, artwork or work through a workbook on healing. It can be helpful to know that if memories or feelings come up, that someone who cares is nearby.

Read Books

There are some excellent books written on topics related to healing. One of the best for those starting on their healing journey is an older book: “The Courage to Heal” by Ellen Bass. This excellent book has an accompanying workbook, and has excellent ideas on safety planning and coping with memories and feelings.

There are numerous PTSD workbooks that can be bought used on Amazon, as well as other resources. Alison Miller has written an excellent workbook for healing from ritual abuse : Becoming Yourself.

Try looking over other workbooks to see which one seems to address what you want to work on.

Hopefully, at least one of the above ideas will help you through the times when therapy seems beyond your reach financially.


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