Making the Leap: The How, Who, and Cost of Starting Therapy

In the last article, "Making the Leap: Is Therapy for Me?", we assessed the signposts you encounter at life's emotional crossroads. We delved into your coping skills, explored your emotional resilience, and navigated by your "inner compass." But knowing you need to embark on a journey is only the first step; now it's time to figure out the logistics.

Welcome back to our series, "Making the Leap." We're focusing on "The How, Who, and Cost of Starting Therapy." Think of this article as your travel agent for the journey toward mental health. We'll be your guide in understanding how to actually start therapy, identify the type of professional you might need, and demystify the often-daunting topic of cost. This article is your map, your itinerary, and your budget sheet all rolled into one. By the end, you'll be more than ready to take the next steps on this important journey.

The Financial Tightrope

Is Therapy a Luxury or a Necessity?

You're on a financial tightrope, balancing the weight of emotional well-being on one side and the cost of therapy on the other. It's a precarious position that many find themselves in when considering mental health support. Money matters, and it can often be the silent barrier that keeps us from taking that important first step towards healing and self-discovery.

Let's delve into the monetary considerations that can feel intimidating but are crucial to tackle. By the end of this section, you'll have a clearer understanding of how to navigate the financial aspects of therapy without losing your footing on that tightrope.

Intro to Affordability and Insurance

Affordability in the context of therapy doesn't merely refer to the ability to pay for sessions; it also relates to the value you place on your mental well-being. Is it a luxury or a necessity? Insurance can serve as a financial cushion, opening the door to a range of mental health services that might otherwise seem out of reach.

The Cost Spectrum

The price of therapy varies widely depending on factors such as the therapist's level of experience, the type of therapy, and location. Costs can range from free community services to hundreds of dollars per session with high-end specialists.

Expect a typical price range of 140-180 CHF per session. This cost reflects the enhanced training, experience, and skills of licensed professionals. Remember, investing in therapy is an investment in your mental health; evaluating costs should always go hand in hand with considering the potential benefits of therapy.

Understanding this spectrum can help you gauge what you're willing and able to invest in your mental well-being.

Insurance Navigation

Having insurance can make therapy significantly more affordable. But how do you navigate the intricacies of your insurance plan? Start by reading the fine print or speaking with a customer service representative to understand what mental health services are covered. Look out for aspects like copays, deductibles, and session limits. Remember, the goal is not just to find any therapist, but the right therapist for you within your insurance network.

When considering therapy in Switzerland, the landscape of health insurance can be intricate, but crucial to understand. Here's a breakdown of what the Swiss insurance system offers regarding therapy:

Mandatory Health Insurance (Basic Insurance)

What It Covers

  • Psychotherapy by licensed psychiatrists.
  • Psychotherapy administered by qualified psychologists, but only if it's prescribed by a Swiss medical doctor.
  • If the therapy exceeds 40 sessions, a detailed report from a medical officer becomes a necessity for continued coverage.

What It Doesn't Cover

  • Basic compulsory insurance will not cater to therapy sessions with a psychologist unless a licensed Swiss medical doctor prescribes it.
  • The expenses connected with your insurance policy's deductible and coinsurance.
  • If you're seeking psychiatric care outside Switzerland, it's only insured in urgent medical situations and limited by the health insurance boundaries for foreign treatments.

Billing & Payment

  • All mandatory outpatient medical services, including therapy, are charged as per the TARMED tariff rates, which have been in effect since 2004.
  • Basic insurance, post July 2022 regulations, will cover the therapy costs if:
  • The treatment has been medically prescribed by an appropriately qualified doctor.
  • The selected psychotherapist has recognition under basic insurance.
  • The coverage includes 30 sessions, provided all legal requirements are adhered to, after which the deductible and retention fee are subtracted. Should you need more sessions, they'll only be covered with a commitment to provide coverage.

Supplementary Health Insurance

When It Comes Into Play

Since January 1, 2023, prescribed therapies by psychologists have been incorporated into the mandatory insurance. This means that the coverage previously available in many supplementary health insurance packages for therapy has become largely superfluous. Now, a doctor can recommend treatments by independent psychologists, which will be covered under the primary, compulsory Swiss health insurance.

Billing & Payment

Supplementary insurance may pay a portion of the therapy's cost if the psychotherapist has recognition by the insurer but doesn't fall under the basic insurance.

Other Financial Considerations

It's essential to distinguish between curative treatments and counseling sessions when considering costs. Basic Swiss health insurances focus solely on treatments for illness, while certain supplementary insurances might offer coverage for advisory consultations, although this varies depending on the chosen insurance plan and provider.

Grants and Sliding Scales

Don't have insurance or find that your plan doesn't cover what you need? All hope is not lost. Many therapists work on a sliding scale, adjusting their fees based on your ability to pay. Additionally, various grants specifically designed for mental health services can ease the financial burden. Community health centers often provide therapy at reduced costs and are worth considering as part of your strategy for making therapy affordable.

By understanding these various factors, you'll realize that while therapy may come at a price, the potential benefits to your mental health make it an investment worth considering.

Time vs Money vs Wellbeing

Intro to Opportunity Costs

In economic terms, opportunity cost refers to the value of the next best alternative that one gives up when making a decision. This concept is crucial when considering allocating time and money toward therapy. When you decide to spend an hour in a therapist's office, or to allocate funds for treatment, you are forgoing other uses of that time or money. This could be work, leisure activities, or other forms of self-care or medical treatment. But it's important to remember that not all uses of time and money have the same long-term impact.

Your Mental Health as an Investment

Considering your mental health as an investment changes the conversation significantly. While the initial financial and time commitments may seem steep, the long-term benefits can far outweigh these costs. Therapy isn't just a "quick fix" but rather an ongoing process that helps equip you with the tools you need to manage stress, build and maintain relationships, and live a more fulfilling life. Over time, these benefits compound, helping you be more productive at work, maintain a more stable emotional life, and even enjoy physical health benefits like lower stress levels, which could potentially lead to a decrease in chronic illnesses.

Breaking Down the ROI (Return on Investment)

The ROI from investing in therapy can be both tangible and intangible. On the tangible side, improved mental health often correlates with increased productivity, which could translate to career advancement and higher earnings over the long term. Furthermore, better mental well-being can contribute to a healthier lifestyle, reducing medical costs related to stress-induced illnesses.

On the intangible side, therapy can significantly improve your quality of life by enhancing your emotional well-being, enriching your relationships, and giving you the coping mechanisms to deal with life's challenges. While these intangible benefits may not be easily quantified, they form a crucial part of your overall well-being and life satisfaction.

When Therapy is Not a Luxury but a Need

Despite the prevailing notion that therapy is a "luxury," it's critical to understand that for many, it's a necessity. Mental health, just like physical health, requires attention and care. Skimping on mental health can lead to a cascade of negative effects, impacting everything from your job performance to your relationships and overall quality of life. In severe cases, neglecting mental health can result in dire consequences that may require even more time and money to rectify later on.

Mental health should not be viewed as a discretionary expense but rather as a non-negotiable investment in your overall well-being. The opportunity costs of forgoing therapy, when needed, can be significantly higher in the long run, making the initial investment not only worthwhile but crucial.

Your Mental Health is a Worthwhile Investment

Taking care of your mental well-being is invaluable, even though finances matter. Investing in therapy is investing in your future self. It pays off with improved relationships, career growth, and overall life satisfaction. Don't see it as a luxury but as an essential part of your well-being that deserves time, effort, and resources.

As we've explored the financial and time-related aspects of choosing therapy, it's important to remember that these are not the only factors that should guide your decision.

The Therapist's Chair: Choose Wisely

Selecting the right therapist isn't just about looking at qualifications or positive reviews; it's about pinpointing someone who genuinely understands your unique needs. Therapists come in various types, such as psychologists, psychotherapists, and counselors, each bringing a different approach and set of expertise to the table. For instance, some may specialize in specific mental health challenges like anxiety, depression, or ADHD, offering in-depth knowledge from their specialized training. Understanding these differences is crucial for your mental health journey.

Experts and Empathy: What’s Your Therapist’s Superpower?

When looking for mental health help, it's good to know the different kinds of experts you can talk to. Each has their own special skills and ways of helping. This guide will help you choose the right one for you.


Psychologists are trained in the science of how people think, feel, and behave. Specializing in areas like clinical, counseling, or educational psychology, they often use research-based techniques like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) to treat a range of emotional and mental disorders. If you're looking for a professional rooted in scientific methods to guide you through issues like anxiety or depression, a psychologist is a strong option.


Psychotherapists are professionals trained in psychological methods for treating emotional and mental health issues. They can come from various backgrounds including psychology, psychiatry, or social work. Psychotherapy is a general term for a variety of therapeutic techniques that might include approaches like psychodynamic therapy or humanistic counseling. Consider seeking a psychotherapist if you're looking for a long-term treatment to explore deep-rooted emotional issues or complex personal challenges.


Psychiatrists are medical doctors specializing in mental health. They are trained to diagnose, treat, and manage mental disorders and are the only professionals in this list who can prescribe medication. They may use a combination of medication and psychotherapy in treatment. A psychiatrist is generally recommended for severe mental health issues that require a medical treatment plan, including medication management.

Mental Health Counselors

Mental health counselors offer short-term care for individuals facing life challenges, stress, or mild mental health concerns. They are not typically trained to treat severe mental health disorders but are excellent for coping with life transitions, relationship issues, and stress management. If you’re going through a difficult period and need someone to help you navigate it, a mental health counselor might be the right choice.


Coaching in the mental health context is focused on achieving specific personal or professional goals through the identification and development of skills, strengths, and abilities. While they aren’t a substitute for mental health treatment, coaches can be very effective in helping you define and achieve your goals in a focused, structured environment.

Therapeutic Approaches

Different therapists utilize various approaches or modalities, like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), psychoanalysis, or humanistic therapy. The effectiveness of these methods can vary depending on your personal preferences, the nature of your issues, and even your personality type. Sanzu offers a detailed profile for each therapist, where you can learn about their therapeutic approach, helping you to make an informed decision.

By understanding what each type of mental health professional offers, you can make a choice that best aligns with your needs. Whether you need medication management, are looking to dig deep into emotional challenges, or simply want guidance through a tough time, there's an expert for you.

Getting Started with Therapy

You've already made important strides by considering the emotional and financial sides of therapy. Those are significant milestones! Now let's tackle the practical details, like finding the right therapist and fitting sessions into your schedule.

We'll walk you through the steps to find a suitable therapist without hassle. We'll also discuss online versus in-person sessions, helping you make an informed choice that fits your life. And don't worry about your busy calendar—we've got tips for seamlessly adding therapy to your routine.

By the end of this part, you'll feel confident and ready to embark on your therapy journey. We aim to make the process as simple and straightforward as possible so you can focus on improving your well-being.

Finding Your Therapist

Introduction to Availability

The quest for mental wellness often starts with the challenge of finding an available therapist. The irony is palpable: At a time when you need immediate help, you're put on a waiting list, watching the days tick by without the support you urgently seek. However, the good news is that technology is helping to solve this dilemma. Sanzu has developed features to connect you with available professionals. You can easily and conveniently browse through a wide array of experts who are currently open for appointments, taking some of the guesswork and waiting out of the equation.

Location Matters

Once you've gotten past the hurdle of finding an available therapist, the next logistical question is location. Is the office within a reasonable commute? Are you willing to endure traffic or public transport to get there? While proximity isn't everything, it's certainly a practical consideration, especially for busy people juggling work and family commitments. For those concerned about location, Telehealth technology has been a game-changer. With Sanzu's Telehealth features, you can engage with a qualified therapist right from the comfort of your home—no travelling necessary.


Once you've found a therapist who is both available and conveniently located, the next logistical obstacle is scheduling. Your calendar is probably already bursting with work meetings, family events, and social commitments. Fitting in a therapy session can feel like trying to solve a complicated puzzle. Thankfully, this is another area where platfroms like Sanzu help. With Sanzu, you can easily your therapist's real-time availability. What's more, the Google Calendar Sync feature integrates these appointments seamlessly into your life's schedule.

The Search Tools

In a sea of options, finding the right therapist can seem overwhelming. Word-of-mouth recommendations are valuable but limited, and online search engines can return an overwhelming number of options without much guidance. Here, platforms that specialize in connecting clients with therapists can be incredibly useful. Sanzu provides a user-friendly interface complete with reviews and detailed professional profiles, allowing you to make an informed choice without the hassle of sifting through multiple directories and websites.

While finding the right therapist may initially seem like a daunting challenge fraught with logistical hurdles, Sanzu makes it increasingly straightforward to connect with the mental health support you need.

Virtual Heart-to-Hearts

Introduction to Online Therapy

The advent of online therapy has been a watershed moment in the landscape of mental health services, but it took a global pandemic to really spotlight its advantages. COVID-19 catalyzed a massive shift towards virtual consultations as people found themselves confined to their homes but still in need of mental health support. Sanzu has been at the forefront of this transformation, offering secure Telehealth options that enable you to connect with therapists from anywhere and enjoy the benefits:

  • Accessibility: A wider range of therapists are available regardless of geographical location.
  • Convenience: No commute allows for a more flexible schedule.
  • Anonymity: Some people find it easier to discuss sensitive topics when not in the same physical space as their therapist.

Sanzu offers both online and in-person options, giving you the flexibility to choose the type of consultation that suits your needs.

Quality Comparison

Many people wonder if online therapy can deliver the same quality of care as traditional, in-person sessions. Studies suggest that online therapy can be just as effective for a range of conditions, including anxiety and depression. Additionally, the Telehealth options on Sanzu maintain this quality by ensuring secure, encrypted sessions with qualified professionals. Additionally, through the use of digital forms, Sanzu makes it easier to distribute handouts, homework, and other materials for a seamless, paperless, experience.

Who Should Consider Online Therapy?

Whilst in-person sessions offer numerous advantages for effective communication and personalized interaction:

  • Non-verbal cues: The ability to read body language can add another layer to the therapeutic process.
  • Structured Environment: A physical therapy room is designed to be a safe, controlled space, free from distractions.
  • Physical Presence: For some, the act of going to a location can make the therapy feel more 'real' or significant.
  • Immediate Intervention: For cases requiring rapid response or emergency intervention, being in-person can be crucial.

Online sessions provide unique advantages that may be more suitable for certain individuals:

  • Convenience: Attend sessions from the comfort of your own home.
  • Accessibility: Greater choice of therapists, regardless of geographic location.
  • Flexibility: More options for appointment times, accommodating various schedules.
  • Privacy: Some may find it easier to open up when not sharing a physical space.

There are many types of people who would find online therapy beneficial. Online therapy is particularly well-suited for:

  • Busy Professionals: If your work schedule is packed, the convenience of accessing a session remotely can be a game-changer.
  • Expatriates: If you're living in a country where you don't speak the language fluently, online therapy can connect you with a therapist who does.
  • Students: Those juggling demanding academic schedules can find respite in the flexibility offered by online options.
  • Night Owls: If you’re most reflective or available during unconventional hours, some online platforms cater to this.
  • Individuals in Remote Locations: If you live far from a city center, online options can open doors to high-quality care.
  • People with Mobility Issues: Accessibility is no longer an obstacle.
  • Stigma-Conscious Individuals: In some cultures or communities, attending therapy may carry a stigma. Online therapy provides an extra layer of privacy.

No matter if you prefer face-to-face meetings, online talks, or a mix of both, Sanzu gives you all the tools you need to easily handle your mental health. Online therapy is not just a second choice; it's a good option on its own, especially if you want things to be convenient and easy to reach.

Knowing and Interacting with Your Therapist

Having a good connection with your therapist is crucial for successful mental health care. With so many options out there, finding the best therapist for you can feel daunting. The process of meeting and engaging with a therapist should be simple, fast, and hassle-free to encourage you to stick with treatment. Sanzu is designed to help you make a well-informed decision with ease.


Before booking your first session, it's crucial to know what you're getting into. Sanzu offers a review section where clients can share their experiences and insights about their therapists. These reviews offer an unfiltered view into what you can expect, building trust and easing the process of making an educated choice. You can even leave your own review after sessions, contributing to this valuable resource for others.

Chat with Multimedia Sharing

Beyond real-time texting, Sanzu's chat also allows for the sharing of multimedia. You or your therapist can send useful links, videos, PDFs, and other resources that could aid in your therapeutic journey. This is particularly helpful when discussing complex issues that may benefit from visual or auditory supplements. It serves as an integrated resource center within your chat, enhancing both online and in-person therapy.

Digital Forms Designed by Treaters

Sanzu takes digital forms a step further by allowing therapists to create their own custom forms. These could be anything from digital handouts to specialized quizzes designed to dig deeper into specific issues you're facing. These forms don't just help in initial assessments but can also serve as ongoing tools to monitor progress and tailor your treatment accordingly. Because everything is digital, it streamlines the therapy process, making it efficient and paperless while providing therapists with crucial information to aid in your therapy journey.


Keeping a journal is often recommended in therapy, and Sanzu provides a safe and confidential digital space for you to do just that. Not only can you write down important thoughts or questions for your next session, but you can also use the voice recording feature to capture your feelings in real-time. This adds a unique and personal touch to your journaling experience. Whether you're dealing with specific symptoms, triggers, or simply capturing the day's emotions, voice journals offer another layer of expression. Plus, you have the option to share these written or voice-recorded entries with your therapist, making it an excellent tool for both online and in-person sessions.

Selecting a therapist isn't just about availability or specialty; it's also about building a relationship based on trust, transparency, and efficacy. Platforms like Sanzu make it easy for you to do just that, providing you with tools that enhance your therapy experience, be it online or in-person.

Wrapping Up and What's Next

So, we've talked a lot about how to start therapy, from picking the right person to talk to, to figuring out how much it's going to cost. We even dived into Swiss insurance rules to help make sense of it all. All these steps are like preparing for a journey - one where the goal is to feel better, emotionally and mentally.

But the journey doesn't stop here. In our next article, we're going to look at how our past shapes us, and how we can learn from it. We'll also get into ways to care for our whole selves, not just our minds or bodies separately. Plus, we'll explore how to balance doing it on our own and when to ask for help.

So, join us in "Making the Leap: Therapy and the Mind-Body Connection". The road to feeling better is a long one, but you don't have to walk it alone. We're here to guide you every step of the way. 

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