A clinical psychologist is a well-educated non-medical doctor – in other words, she’s got a doctorate in psychology -- who is licensed to diagnose and treat mental illness. She’s the go-to person to help you cope with your dysfunctional family or other behavior issues. She’s well paid for her work, with an average salary of $73,090 in 2011 -- an hourly rate of $35.14 -- according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. However, many psychologists set their own fees, which affects their hourly rate.
If you want to learn to change behaviors that are getting in the way of your social or professional success or deal with those panic attacks, an individual counseling session is a good place to start. Many clinical psychologists work in private practice and see patients one-on-one. The initial session may last up to 90 minutes and ongoing therapy sessions are usually about an hour. Each psychologist sets her own rates, taking into account the going rate in her community.
Psychologists often have different rates for different services. She may charge a higher rate for an initial evaluation, which takes longer and includes extensive questioning and assessment to determine what’s going on. Couples therapy could have a different rate -- after all, she’s working with two people and all that he said/she said stuff can be hard to sort out. Some clinical psychologists specialize in areas such as forensic psychology -- helping the courts decide if someone is able to stand trial or explaining the details of mental illness to a jury. A forensic clinical psychologist may charge a different rate for expert witness testimony.
Location and Rates
Where you live can affect your wages and a clinical psychologist may adjust her rates accordingly. In Mississippi, the average hourly rate was $22.70 in 2011, according to the BLS, although that may also include salaried psychologists who do not charge separate fees. In Rhode Island, the rate jumps to $39.47, and in New Jersey, the average hourly rate is $46.25. Generally speaking, clinical psychologists are more likely to be found in metropolitan areas, which may also have a higher cost of living, and that may affect their fees and hourly rates.
Examples of Rates
A quick sample of some individual clinical psychologists’ fees shows them to be all over the map. Dr. Jeff Daly practices in Carlsbad, California. His hourly rate is $150 per session and $25 for additional services, such as extensive telephone calls. Legal testimony costs $300 an hour. Dr. Lisa Lombard of Chicago, Illinois, charges an hourly fee ranging from $35 for a 15 minute office consultation to $180 for a 90 minute counseling session. She also has different hourly fees for group and couples therapy and charges $200 an hour for expert testimony. Dr. Claudia Diez works in New York City, and her standard fee is $200 an hour. Dr. Amy D. Rouse of Westerville, Ohio, has an average fee of $130 to $150 per session, according to "Psychology Today."
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Psychologists
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2011 19-3031 Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists
- Jeff Daly Doctor of Clinical Psychology: Fees
- Lisa Lombard, Ph.D. Licensed Clinical Psychologist: Psychotherapy Fees
- Psychology today: Columbus Psychological & Counseling Services, LLC
Beth Greenwood is an RN and has been a writer since 2010. She specializes in medical and health topics, as well as career articles about health care professions. Greenwood holds an Associate of Science in nursing from Shasta College.