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9900 Willows Rd NE
Redmond, WA 98053
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Mental Health Counseling from a Biblical Perspective for Teens, Young Adults, Adults, and Couples in the Redmond and NewCastle areas. Seattle Christian Counseling for Teens & Adults emphasizing God's word with Joshua Loy, MA LMHC and Gabe Davis, M.Div, M.S., LMFT.

Counseling: Why Not Use Insurance?

Blog | New Ground Counseling | Addiction Counselor

Blog posts from Joshua Loy, MA LMHC and Gabe Davis MS, MDiv, LMFT. New Ground Counseling focuses on Bible-based, Mental Health Counseling for Teens in the Redmond, Bellevue and greater Seattle area.  Emphasizing the power of God's Word in Biblical Counseling with Teens and Young Adults.

Counseling: Why Not Use Insurance?

Joshua Loy

Why shouldn't I use insurance to pay for counseling?

Whether or not you receive counseling at New Ground or with another provider, I encourage clients to NOT use insurance as the way to pay.  Although reducing the cost of counseling, I believe that managed care/insurance ultimately hurts those seeking counseling and hinders counselors.  This is because using insurance to pay for counseling might ensure that your problem will NOT be treated spiritually (see below).  

Jesus said, “What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?” (Mt. 16:26).  As someone seeking counseling, I encourage you to prioritize the care of your soul when choosing a counselor!  

How does insurance work with counseling services?

Most insurance companies pay for counseling services as part of a managed care model.  In short, they choose a model of counseling (and its’ counselors) to employ; seek homogeneity among treatment providers; and help pay for your counseling.  In return they decide which therapists you can and cannot see; decide which conditions are worth paying for; control treatment plans; and seek a “resolution” as soon as possible by limiting sessions. 

Insurance can make getting started difficult and time-consuming.

As part of this model, getting started with counseling can be burdensome and time consuming because of two common pre-requirements 1) a referral from your primary physician and 2) pre-authorization from your insurance company.  You’ll need to have many conversations with others about the problems you are having before you see a counselor.  Also, you may start seeing a counselor only to find that your “conditions” are not approved for payment.

Insurance plans only reimburse for “major” mental health issues.

Insurance companies often require that clients be diagnosed with a major mood disorder for reimbursement.  Some believe that this inevitably leads to over-diagnosis.  For example, if you are grieving, anxious, have a relational problem, were abused at a young age, or have a “spiritual problem” – no payment.  BUT if you have major depression or a full blown panic disorder, then okay we'll pay.  Often this leads to clients and counselors desiring to find a major mood disorder (because then they’ll receive payment).  Additionally, this diagnosis will forever be on your medical record and you’ll need to be checking the “yes” box in the future when asked “Have you been treated for a psychiatric condition?”  Of course, there is nothing wrong with checking this box, but you'd want to be confident in any diagnosis you receive, and insurance might not allow you that confidence.

Insurance plans ensure that your problem cannot be thought of (or treated) spiritually.

Most importantly, this leads to treatment that often must ignore the spiritual state of the person and/or God’s plan for restoration.  Insurance companies must approve treatment plans with their own recommended interventions, which almost inevitably exclude the Bible, spiritual treatment, and healing according to God.  Conversely, New Ground uses the Bible as the key to understanding our hearts, our problems, and their solutions.  I wish that more insurance companies saw these things as worthwhile investments and essential to soul-care, and not just a “specialty!”  Many people go to counseling, pay a small copay, but never receive treatment for their most important needs—spiritual ones.

Insurance will limit your sessions.

Lastly, your insurance desires that you resolve your issues as quickly as possible, because it costs them money.  This often means as few as 3-4 sessions and 6-8 at most.


In conclusion, the counseling field has hitched its’ wagon to the medical model of care.  Doing so has some advantages, but at the expenses of soul-care, over-diagnosis, limited confidentiality, and removing the Bible from treatment.  Conversely, Jesus says there is nothing more important than the state of our hearts spiritually before God!  So when we come to counseling with real soul-needs, we need to value and prioritize God and His words (the Bible) as essential for healing and wholeness.  Unfortunately, this means we might have to exclude insurance in order to make a real soul-investment in counseling.