Frequently, the first question people ask about our counseling services is, “what does it cost?” What this tells us is that this customer sees our service as a commodity. A commodity is typically something like corn or grain or gas where there is a large supply that is essentially all the same. With a commodity, the only concern is “what does it cost?” Get the lowest price because it is all the same. Now let’s look at something that isn’t a commodity, say vitamins. You can go to Walmart and buy your vitamins for a very low cost but most of the stated potency is just passed through your system because it is low grade. On the other hand, if you go to a health food store and pay 3 times as much, you get a product that is high grade and most of the stated potency is absorbed by your system and has an effect. So, in a sense, you are paying less for the more expensive vitamin when that cost is measured by effectiveness.
Now, before I continue, this is not about manipulating you into paying a higher cost for our counseling and coaching services than for others. The fact is, we are slightly below average in our cost. This is about turning the focus towards effectiveness instead of absolute cost. We do everything we can to keep costs down and offer a sliding scale for people with lower incomes. However, we are also committed to providing a superior product and paying top-notch counselors and coaches a living wage. Hiring, training, and supervising really amazing counselors and coaches who can provide a superior product with maximum effectiveness do come with a cost.
Okay, now that we have determined that counseling and coaching are not commodities, let’s look at some of the options you have as a consumer. One of the first options you have probably come across is the large mega counseling companies such as Better Help, Faithful Counseling, or Talk Space. These companies boast about having thousands of counselors, automated and impersonal start-up processes, and relatively low subscription rates. It’s easy, it’s slightly less expensive (although not a lot) and it is comfortable. While this may sound great, It also often leads to a false sense of security that you are getting what you need, much like the Walmart vitamins discussed above. Counseling is often done through email or text messages with occasional virtual sessions. Your counselor is chosen randomly based on a few criteria you select on the start-up form instead of through a personal connection with a real intake coordinator who personally knows all the counselors and coaches and who would best meet your needs. In addition, the counselor you are paired with has not been vetted (they simply sign up) is not closely supervised, and does not receive ongoing training and support from the company.
Another option you may come across is a local, clinical counselor who takes your insurance. (We will discuss why we don’t accept insurance in another article.) For some, this may be a great option. Cost is managed by insurance paying for the service and your clinical needs are met by a qualified licensed professional. However, if you have gotten to the point of seeking an alternative online Christian counseling option, likely this has not been the case for you. Several years ago, I began to have health issues and went to my doctor, used my insurance, and paid very little for my care. This was great…but the problem was I didn’t get better. I then sought alternatives such as natural health providers and found answers. It was worth the money to feel and function better instead of staying sick with a few more dollars in my pocket. These local counseling services will address one aspect of who you are as a person. As Christians, we know that we are more than just our psychology. We are body, soul, and spirit. Holistic services that address every aspect of who you are including who you are as a spiritual being and child of God are always going to be more effective. I can’t tell you how many people come to me with stated clinical needs only to get while by addressing spiritual needs.
How are we different?
At NuWell we address the whole person, body, soul, and spirit. Our counselors and coaches are competent in addressing the clinical needs of our clients, but we don’t stop there. All our counselors are also trained and competent to address your spiritual needs. It is this integrationist approach that makes our services stand apart from the others mentioned above. Another way in which we differentiate ourselves is that all our counselors are vetted during the hiring process to ensure that they are the best options to guide you through the healing process. Once hired, they are trained and supervised to ensure ongoing personal and professional growth. We ask our counselors to do the same work they are asking you to do. When you contact us for counseling or coaching, you will talk to a trained, caring, and professional intake coordinator who knows our counselors and coaches. This individual will walk you through the process of selecting the right counselor or coach for your specific needs.
Okay, but what does all of this have to do with cost?
It has to do with cost because it has to do with effectiveness. If you separate cost from effectiveness, you commoditize something that isn’t a commodity and often will suffer due to less effective services. As we have established, our services are designed for maximum effectiveness, not the lowest cost. However, as mentioned above, our rates are actually slightly below average for the quality of services offered.
Better Help – The average monthly cost for this subscription service is $280. For that price, you get weekly 30–45-minute sessions (although they state that this depends on the therapist’s availability), chat options, and unlimited text messaging. It’s hard to tell what you actually get. It seems like a lot of counseling is done through web chat and text messaging with 30-minute check-ins through video calls. This also may vary greatly depending on the counselor.
NuWell – 50–60-minute sessions are $80-$125 per session depending on income. (Counseling by interns can be as low as $55 per session). This means on average you can do 3 sessions a month for the cost of Better Help. These costs can be further managed by doing only 1 or 2 sessions per month. When sessions are less frequent your counselor will give you more to work on in between so you can continue your progress between sessions. With this in mind, you may be able to get more effective services through us at the same or lower cost.
What does it cost to not get well?
Another thing that needs to be considered when talking about the cost of staying sick vs. the cost of getting well. Remember my story of getting sick and seeking more expensive alternative options from my doctor? I realized staying sick was costing me greatly in decreased work performance, lost joy in life, missing family connections, etc. What does it cost you to stay broken emotionally, relationally, or spiritually?
- By causing you to spend money on unhealthy choices.
- By giving you a negative self-identity.
- By decreasing the quality of relationships.
- By decreasing enjoyment from social interactions.
- In lost job performance or advancement?