Seven of the Best Affordable Therapies

Do you need psychological help but are looking for cheaper options? There are a number of useful methods. However, don't forget that it's aways preferable to consult a professional.
Seven of the Best Affordable Therapies
Valeria Sabater

Written and verified by the psychologist Valeria Sabater.

Last update: 12 June, 2023

Emotional discomfort, anxiety, apathy, grief, and relational problems. Every person goes through bad times. It’s at these moments that professional help can be useful, and the kind that preferably doesn’t break the bank. Fortunately, there are affordable forms of therapy that, in many cases, are just as valid and effective as the more expensive kinds.

In the field of mental health, there’s a vast array of resources within easy reach. These forms of assistance are always conducted by specialists. They’re the only kinds that provide improvement with less risk of relapse. One example is brief strategic therapy (BST). We’re going to give you some more alternatives.

When you’re dealing with a mood disorder, brief strategic therapy, spread over six to ten sessions, can be helpful.

1. Free social resources

In every community, city, or town, there are usually social resources focused on mental health. For instance, public health and certain social entities often provide free psychological assistance. However, the main drawback is often the waiting time and delay in obtaining an appointment.

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Social security

As a rule, the first option for many people when dealing with psychological problems is to go to their primary care center. Some clinics already have clinical psychologists. In other cases, they refer patients to external specialized services.

Social services

For those in situations of social exclusion, like victims of gender violence, or who have a family member with a serious mental illness, it’s advisable to contact social services. They provide guidance and assistance.

Entities and universities

In all cities, there are entities aimed at supporting and intervening in certain conditions. For instance, they address disorders such as schizophrenia, borderline personality disorder, or eating disorders (EDs). Therefore, it’s a good idea to visit social services to ask for information.

On the other hand, there are also psychology universities that provide free assistance. That said, these resources are generally oriented to the students themselves, but it doesn’t hurt to ask if there’s the possibility of a consultation.

Solidarity lines

Many countries have free helplines. Although they’re not a form of therapy as such, they provide the fastest response when the individual’s suffering is intense. These are moments when they’re pushed to the limit and experience despair or suicidal thoughts.

These professionals guide and accompany the individual during overwhelmingly difficult moments. They also provide information about available resources.

If you’re going through a bad time and don’t have much money, you should first talk to your family doctor or social services.

2. Brief strategic therapy

Brief strategic therapy (BST) is an intervention model developed by two eminent figures: Paul Watzlawick and Giorgio Nardone. A study conducted by the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (Norway) highlights the importance of the emergence of brief strategic therapy.

This approach emerged as a response to the need for concrete and effective strategies in the field of mental health. The purpose of BST is to detect how the patient reinforces and feeds back their problems and how to deactivate these dynamics.

This psychological intervention lasts between six and ten sessions. Therefore, it’s not a lengthy treatment and is consequently cheaper.

The problems treated by BST

  • Phobias.
  • Anxiety.
  • Panic attacks.
  • Sexual disorders
  • Obsessive disorders.
  • Work, relationship, and eating problems.
girls talking about affordable forms of therapy
Group therapies are an interesting and economical option for certain specific needs.

3. Solution-focused brief therapy (SFBT)

One interesting and affordable form of therapy is solution-focused brief therapy (SBCT). It’s based on the systemic method. In a few sessions, it focuses on the present to generate coping strategies and responses to problems in the individual.

SBCT is one of the least expensive forms of therapy. It projects toward concrete goals. It’s an exciting alternative within the forms of affordable therapy. It can treat the following conditions:

  • Anxiety.
  • Mild depression.
  • Personal crises.
  • Self-esteem, interpersonal, work, and family problems.

4. Accelerated resolution therapy (ART)

Accelerated resolution therapy (ART) was developed in 2008 by Dr. Laney Rosenzweig. It’s used to treat emotional suffering. It’s a popular method and, on average, lasts for five sessions. In fact, it’s both an economic and strategic method.

According to research conducted by the Fort Belvoir Hospital in Virginia (USA), ART is an effective, efficient, and versatile form of psychotherapy. It combines different therapeutic models such as cognitive-behavioral, Gestalt therapy, and EMDR (eye movement desensitization and reprocessing).

Problems treated by ART

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5. Group therapy

Group therapy addresses multiple psychological problems and conditions at a reasonable price. Moreover, it allows the individual to see they’re not alone in their suffering as they realize there are other people in similar circumstances.

The groups are guided by a specialized therapist. They employ common interaction and joint dynamics. These sessions can be enriching experiences and are generally within everyone’s reach.

Problems treated by group therapy

There are some brief therapies that, in five or ten sessions, can address problems strategically. They’re cheaper and highly effective options.

6. Alternative therapies

The best way to address problems is with specialized professionals. Indeed, psychologists and psychiatrists are empowered to treat emotional suffering. They’ve studied and prepared for this purpose.

But, if you’re looking for some low-cost options, there are alternative therapies. In many cases, these are treatments that are also usually organized by qualified personnel in the clinical field. Here are some examples:

Workshops and training

Some psychologists offer the possibility of attending workshops to enhance and favor personal growth. For example, workshops for improving self-esteem, managing anxiety, enabling emotional intelligence, or learning the art of psychological closure.

You might want to enroll in a course in which you can work on the areas that are causing you problems. You should be able to find cheap or even free training, to provide tools for your well-being.


Retreats are natural environments usually far from the city whose purpose is to reflect and work on different emotional areas. The individual usually spends between two days and a week in an environment with other people and a guide or therapist. Although these sessions aren’t always led by trained professionals, some are.

7. Books

One low-cost approach to improving mental health is, without a doubt, specialized books. Obviously, this isn’t an ordinary therapy as such, but it can provide benefits, tools, and a basis on which to start. At your fingertips, you’ll find a wide range of self-help literature.

But, you need to be selective. Books written by professionals in the field of mental health are always the most recommended. Ideally, they should also include practical exercises.

Woman reading a book on affordable forms of therapy
Books are a form of alternative therapy for when you’re going through a difficult time.

Final note

We know that psychological therapy isn’t available to everyone. However, it’s urgently needed and the various public bodies should be more sensitive to this fact. In fact, providing psychologists to public health centers is a reality that many groups have been demanding for a long time.

Mental health care should be universal. Consequently, everyone who needs it should have access to it, provided by appropriate specialists. In the meantime, you can always keep looking for valid options that best suit your own pocket.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.