Costs continue to be one of the biggest concerns and barriers to mental health treatment. In 2016, the Canada Revenue Agency began to recognize the cost of non-reimbursed services provided by Registered Psychotherapists as a medical expense eligible for a tax credit. While regulatory reforms and mental health professionals continue to advocate for improved access to behavioral and mental health services, many people worry about the costs of therapy.

Average Cost of Therapy

The cost of therapy ranges greatly depending on many different factors including location, skills, and availability. In Winnipeg, therapy can range from $95 per hour to $250/hr or higher. Most therapists average around $150-175/hr, but again the price is based on a number of factors including:

  1. Training: highly trained and experienced therapists typically charge more based on extra credentials, skills, and knowledge
  2. Location: therapy in larger Metropolitan areas – including Winnipeg – and areas with higher rent costs may force therapists to raise prices to cover their operating costs
  3. Reputation and Availability: A highly sought-after therapist with excellent reviews and low availability will likely charge a higher per hour fee than a new therapist just out of school looking to build their experience and client base
  4. Specialization: If a therapist is an expert in a particular, highly specialized field or treats an unusual or rare condition including trauma or PTSD, their costs for treatment may be higher than a more generalized specialty like anxiety or depression
  5. Session Length: Don’t be fooled by low, fixed rates. Oftentimes, shorter sessions may seem “cheaper” in the long run, but lack the proper time with the therapist to focus on root causes. Similarly, many therapists charge more for an initial consultation to get a deeper understanding of what may have led a client to seek therapy in the first place.

How to Pay for Therapy in Winnipeg

As previously mentioned, while advocacy efforts have helped propel mental health issues to the forefront of government policy, most therapy services including psychotherapy and counselling with a private practitioner are not covered by universal healthcare. You may be able to help offset the costs by:

  1. Seeking health coverage from your, or a family member’s, employer-sponsored benefit plan

  2. Employee Assistance Program Coverage (EAPs) from your employer or an immediate family member’s workplace to cover the cost of private therapy
  3. University and College student mental health insurance that pays for private therapy

  4. While you cannot claim most therapist treatment costs related to a mental health condition on your income tax return under health expenses, treatment from clinical social workers are considered a tax-deductible expense

Registered Social Workers are recognized as ‘medical practitioners’ under the Income Tax Act which means clients may be able to claim this service as a medical expense on income tax returns.  Under the Medical Expense Tax Credit (METC), the federal government gives a non-refundable credit of 15 percent on allowable medical expenses that exceed 3 % of the taxpayer’s net income of $2,109 as of 2012, whichever is less. The Manitoba government also offers credits.

In addition, while most counsellors and therapists charge GST, registered social workers are exempt, meaning you are not charged this fee. 

You may be able to claim the therapy on the CRA Income Tax Form, Line 330 – Medical Expenses for Self, Spouse or Common-Law Partner, and your Dependent Children.  Social workers are on their list of approved qualified medical practitioners for almost all provinces.

Therapy is listed as an eligible medical expense by the CRA. The following is from their website:

Therapy – The cost of therapy received by a person who is eligible for the disability tax credit, provided by someone who is not the spouse or common-law partner of the person who is claiming the expense and who is 18 years of age or older when the amounts are paid. The therapy has to be prescribed and supervised for a mental impairment by a medical doctor or a psychologist.

re exampled from charging this fee, which means you are not charged this fee when working with a social work clinician. 

At My Winnipeg Therapist, we never want cost to prevent you from seeking the health and services you need. We offer affordable telehealth services and employ a variety of expert, novice, and closely supervised intern therapists to offer individualized therapeutic care at many levels. Contact us today to learn more about your provider and treatment options.

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