“Fast, cheap, and high quality. Pick two.” When I first heard this saying, I smirked. Then I began to contemplate this further and realized that this could not be more true in the world of psychotherapy and psychological services.
While this saying is applicable in many aspects of life, of course for the purpose of this article, we will focus on how it relates to psychological services. It is not uncommon for me to hear “I want to see the best psychologist and get in for an appointment today or tomorrow, but also don’t want to pay too much.” I value being transparent, realistic, and pragmatic (my patients would tell you this), so let’s discuss…
Almost daily, I receive phone calls requesting appointments for same-day services or for the next day. While we at Tampa Therapy make it a priority to keep appointments for new patients each week, for the most part, those new patient appointments are booked at least 1 to 2 weeks in advance (which, in all actuality, is very quick turnaround for a new patient appointment in almost every healthcare setting – most healthcare settings define the gold-standard of turnaround time as scheduling a new patient within one month).
At Tampa Therapy, we strive to exceed these standards by getting new patients in within one to two weeks. That being said, while it is sometimes possible to get in for a same-day or next-day appointment due to another patient’s cancellation, this is rare. We still would define our turnaround as quite fast given the industry standard (and considering that therapists who are in-network insurance providers often can’t get a new patient in for one to two months). But, still, let’s be realistic – we can’t typically get someone in “same-day fast.”
You may be able to find someone who provides concierge services and can get you in “same-day fast,” but I can guarantee you it won’t be cheap. And the less expensive it is, the less likely that the services you will receive are high-quality.
When hearing that I do not have availability for at least 1 to 2 weeks, some express frustration about not being able to be seen immediately, but likewise, some (but realistically, not most) express frustration about the cost of services. It is important to recognize and understand that psychology services are 1-appropriately priced and 2-not really that expensive. While I previously wrote about this in another blog, I will recap here:
When you attend a therapy session, you are meeting with the doctor for an uninterrupted 45-50 minutes. During this time, the doctor is mentally and emotionally engaged while they are assessing, analyzing, educating, and helping you. Compare that to going to your general practitioner, or an urgent care center, where you most likely will spend 10 minutes (at most) with the doctor, and the billed amount for time spent and services performed is likely up to be upwards of $300 just for the office visit alone (and not including any tests or procedures). Therefore, the monetary value of a psychotherapy session simply in terms of dollars per minute, even on the high end of psychologists (~$250 per session), is far greater than that of meeting with almost any other type of doctor.
Further, the gains that can be made from therapy are…well, priceless.
When people express frustration about the cost, just as with anything else in life, you get what you pay for. If you want “cheap” therapy services, I am sure you can find them, but recognize that services are priced based on experience, training, and education. Cheap therapy may not give you the results you are looking for, and in the end may be a waste of money. It’s like buying a cheap pair of shoes that will wear out quickly and need to be replaced soon, which means you end up spending more money. Like shoes, it’s better to make the bigger investment initially for longer-term use and to not have to shell out more money in the long-run.
You may very well be able to find someone who can provide “cheap” therapy services, but I can guarantee you this: it is either not going to be fast (likely, at least a month wait) or it is not going to be high-quality.
I get it. We all want “the best.”
If you are going to spend your time, energy, and money to invest in self-care and self-growth services, you want the best person you can get to help you along the way. But realistically, you aren’t going to get high-quality, cheap, and fast. That is because most high-quality service providers are booked up! They rarely have immediate availability. Likewise, services are priced to be commensurate with experience, training, education, and value. So the best practitioners aren’t necessarily going to be “cheap” but they should be priced according to fair market rate and these other factors. And I can promise that for the most part, you are still getting a steal of a price for the amount of dedicated treatment time you receive from mental health professionals.
Of course, all of these elements are highly subjective, so what one person may believe is cheap another may believe is expensive, what one person may believe is fast another may believe is slow, etc.
This post is not to suggest that you can’t get affordably-priced, high-quality therapy services, but realistically for both of these factors to come together, you will have to be patient (whether that means waiting one week or one month). At Tampa Therapy, we strive to provide incredibly high-quality services at a fair and competitive market rate within a one to two week start-time turnaround.
We would love to help you on your journey to growth and healing. Give us a call or send us an email today.