Starting therapy? Things to consider… II By Elani Engelken MA, MFTA, LPCC

You are considering therapy–Congratulations! I know I am biased considering that I am a therapist, but I truly believe that this is one of the best investments you can make in yourself. I often compare it to investing in your physical health. In the same way that physical fitness builds muscle memory and strength over time, therapy is mental fitness that will increase with time and commitment.

What can you expect to pay?
Payment for therapy can look a variety of ways. First thing to consider, do you have health insurance? If so, give your insurance company a call and see if they cover therapy sessions. If so, you can do an online search for therapists within your coverage network. Psychology Today is a great resource as you can filter therapists by the types of insurance they accept. You can also ask if your insurance will reimburse for out-of-network treatment. Many insurance carriers will reimburse up to a certain percentage of what you pay out of pocket.

That brings us to private pay. Many therapists choose to take private pay. When therapists do work with insurance, they may have to provide a diagnosis, even when they don’t believe one to be warranted. The insurance company may then want to restrict treatment time based on the diagnosis provided. With private pay, everything remains confidential between yourself and your therapist.

If you’re paying out of pocket, what can you expect to pay? Therapists will share their session rate with you upfront and in Colorado, you will typically see session rates ranging from $60-$200 per session. Session pricing often varies based on session length, the therapists experience level and type of therapy.
Seem like a big financial commitment? There are many resources to find affordable therapy. I am partial to People House’s Affordable Counseling Program (ACP) as this is where I did my own internship. The ACP at People’s House offers counseling on a sliding scale for $20-$50/session. These therapists are all currently in a Master’s program and are supervised by experienced therapists.

What type of therapy should you do? Now this is a great question! There are many modalities of therapy, and I would need multiple blog posts to even begin to cover them all. For the purpose of brevity, I will cover three main bodies of therapy that all have many subset specialties but you can always ask a potential therapist to share what orientation they use and why.

Talk therapy– This is probably what the majority of us think about when we think of therapy. This approach uses conversation and reflection as a tool to explore beliefs, emotions, personal content and history. Most therapists will utilize talk therapy to some extent. One of the major orientations in talk therapy is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy or CBT. CBT has become increasing popular in the West because it is clinically measurable. CBT utilizes the understanding that our thoughts or cognition create action so when we shift negative or maladaptive thought, we can shift behavior.
Somatic Therapy– Soma or body therapy has gained popularity over the years as the therapeutic field has begun to understand the relationship between mind and body, particularly in the case of trauma. We now know that in traumatic situations the body has a fight, flight or freeze response and this happens in a part of the brain that talk therapy cannot as easily access. Somatic interventions are particularly helpful in helping reset the nervous system and brain after traumatic instances or histories. You might see somatic interventions called Somatic Experiencing, EMDR and brainspotting.
Many therapists may specialize in or have certifications in other therapeutic approaches such as hypnotherapy, exposure therapy, internal family systems or expressive arts therapy. I have experienced many of these types of therapies and truly find value and insight in all of them.
Finding a therapist– your friends and family are a great place to start. Perhaps you know someone that has been seeing a therapist they love, ask them for a referral. I mentioned Psychology Today earlier, this is a directory that can filter therapists based on age, modality, payment options, insurance, and specialty. People House! We offer a great directory of skilled practitioners from a variety of orientations and price points.
Pro Tip: in your search it is important to remember that you are the expert in your healing and growth journey. There are so many different therapists with varied cultural backgrounds, educations, and specialties. Most therapists offer a complimentary consultation so I would recommend choosing 2-3 potentials and setting up consults. Then go with your gut! Choose the person that you with resonate with and off you go on your therapy journey.

Elani has been working as a life coach since 2012. She began working in this field after completing personal self-development and mindset work that helped her work through her own eating disorder and anxiety issues. When she found herself feeling incomplete with the mindset approach she began working with a yoga and Daoist mentor in New York City and was fascinated by the way our psychology mirrored our physiology and vice versa. Elani would later bring this training into her graduate thesis work and as well as her work with therapy clients. Around this same time, Elani also began working with a spiritual mentor and iridologist. This study led to the inclusion of meditation in both her personal and professional practice.

In 2016, Elani realized she had a great deal to learn about human psychology after witnessing a psychotic episode in a close family member. This experience caused her to seek out her own therapist and through that journey Elani chose to return to school for a masters. She completed her degree in Counseling Psychology from Pacifica Graduate Institute in 2021. Pacifica is a graduate school based in the depth psychological approach and this orientation informs Elani’s work with both therapy and coaching clients. She is currently working with individuals, families and couples in Colorado. You can read more about depth work and Elani by visiting her website at She also offers a complimentary consultation to anyone interested in the potential of working with her and you can book that using this link: