In the various places where my psychotherapy practice is advertised, one of the taglines in my ad is “sliding fee scale available.” Therapy is ungodly expensive, for most people, and insurance doesn’t cover nearly enough. For example, most insurance plans, even the good ones, don’t cover marriage counseling, if the therapist is ethical and actually bills it as marriage counseling. I am grateful that my practice is busy enough, and that my husband is well-employed enough, that I am able to reduce rates for many people who would not otherwise be able to afford therapy. I have absolutely no qualms, no hesitation, no resentment about doing this. I felt called to my work almost as I imagine a minister feels called to his or her work, and out of gratitude for that calling, and absolute love of my job, I am happy to adjust my fees when the need arises.
I used to work in agencies where clients seeking reduced fees were required to bring in tax returns, bills, and all manner of personal documentation to prove that they were, in fact, as financially strapped as they claimed to be. I don’t require anything like that. That’s invasive and embarrassing. I use an honor system; whatever you tell me about your finances is what we’ll work with in negotiating the fee. And frankly, I have faith that the clients who end up on my couch are the ones that God intends end up there, and I’ll let God work out the finances. There are those people who happily, easily pay the ungodly hourly rates which are reasonable and customary in our area, and they help balance out those who must pay a lower rate or nothing at all. It all works out.
Today, we helped some neighbors move. We like them a lot, and it was a very enjoyable job, just spending the time with them, and it wasn’t terribly sad because they’re still nearby. But, it was exhausting, as moving always is. So as it’s getting near dinner time, we’re both too tired to cook, can’t even think of what we’d cook if we weren’t too tired, you know how that is. So we decide we’ll go out. Last week, Jif and I went out for an almost shamefully expensive, extravagant meal. It was our anniversary celebration, so we splurged. Tonight, we didn’t want to splurge. We wanted good, quick and cheap. Hmmmm, where to go.
“Oh, I know just where! Let’s try that new place over by LG’s pediatrician’s office. I have these new marriage counseling clients, and they said they go there every single Sunday, they love it so much. Plus, it must be really inexpensive, because they don’t have much money. I’m seeing them for half my usual rate, because that’s all they can afford.” Jif says sounds good to him, so we three stroll into this nice, new “grille,” ready to eat good an’ cheap. BUT…
The lowest entree price on the freakin’ menu is $32.00.
Mr. and Mrs. Help-me-i’m-po’ EAT THERE EVERY SUNDAY.
I ordered soup and salad. A phrase I’ve recently seen another blogger use comes to mind … “that shit ain’t right.”
I’m just sayin’ . . .