Or in other words, why pay for therapy (when you can get it for free)? It struck me recently that perhaps this question is not talked about enough. However, there is now plenty of therapy available for free – at least in the sense that the patient/client does not actually pay the therapist at the end of the session (or even at the beginning as sometimes happens). The IAPT programme done a great deal to put ‘free’ talking therapy on the map, although evidence suggests that even this is not enticing that many people to come forward to talk about their suffering.
Although there are a lot of questionable things about the IAPT programme, which I have touched upon elsewhere, I guess the one thing you can’t criticise it for is being ‘free’, or rather ‘free at the point of use’ as they say when describing the NHS as ‘free’ healthcare. After all, isn’t this what ‘improving access the psychological therapies’ is all about: removing barriers, including financial ones, to people who want to talk about their problems?
But, paradoxically perhaps, this is precisely the problem. What are your words worth? How much do you value what you have to say? Enough to pay someone to give your words, what you have to say, their full attention? Enough to give your words the time and space they deserve? Of course, many people get paid for their words: writers, journalists, teachers, politicians, even psychoanalysts. But these are not (usually) the kinds of words that people bring to analysis. What’s more, being paid to speak might just be a good way not to hear what you are saying.
It’s also true that people pay in other ways during analysis – not just financially. They pay with their time, their effort, their pain of speaking about things they would rather not speak about. The chances are that this price is not going to be paid – at least not in full – if you have a few sessions of IAPT therapy (and it’s likely to be a few). But to repeat the question yet again: what are your words worth………?