Setting an Ethical Rate as a Therapist in 2024

So let’s talk about rates of therapy in 2024. Trends are showing that therapists are leaving the field by the droves. Whether they’re taking a minor pivot toward coaching or completely shifting career tracks, it’s clear something about the field isn’t working for providers these days. If you’re in the majority of therapists who are tired of being overworked and underpaid keep reading for a powerful mindset shift.

Generational Trauma or The Ethics Board?

We talk a lot about ethics in the therapy field. Whether you’re an LPC, lMFT, or LP, we’re all governed by an ethics board that we are taught to fear in grad school. Don’t step out of line or the “ethics police” will getcha. Sound familiar?

But here’s the thing. The ethics board is there to protect our clients. Not overly police your work or business structure. If you are doing good work and staying within the limitations of your license then do you really have to fear them? (Hi generational trauma drama interfering with your business mindset, how ya doing girl?)

A New Era of Mental Health for Providers

And here’s my take. Gone are the days of therapists having to function as martyrs. Gone are the days of having to run your business because “that’s how it’s always been done.” We are entering an era of private practice owners prioritizing their mental health first (aka putting on their oxygen mask before helping others, you know we love this analogy) before holding space for others. And I’m so here for it.

Because which is actually unethical?

  1. Setting lower rates because you want to be accessible and believe this is what you’re able to charge. Therefore you show up to session frazzled, struggle to hold consistent boundaries with your clients, and end up colluding with your clients but struggle to catch it because omg you’re tired.
  2. Setting a rate that you have decided upon after taking into account your overhead charges, student debt, lifestyle, daycare bills, and the self-care practices (like your own therapy plus massages) that it takes to really engage in holding space for this work. You refer out when needed, hold consistent boundaries (like charging a no-show fee every time so there’s no confusion), your clients thrive alongside you (hi parallel process!).

Rate setting doesn’t have to be personal. It can just be a number that allows your business to run the way it does. And if you’re feeling attacked, it’s time for some self-reflection on what may be showing up for you.

And yes, there are steps to discern whether or not you are ready to raise your rate. But the first step is getting your mindset straight and doing work on your generational trauma so it’s not making business decisions for you.

Time to ask for more, therapists. You are worth it.


Dr. B