Helping People Cope With OCD
Information for Clergy

Counseling About Financial Issues for OCD Treatment

When money is an issue it can present challenges to getting OCD treatment. If financial difficulties are shared with you by someone seeking your help, it’s important to encourage them to find a way to get treatment, sometimes using a creative problem-solving approach.  Here are some ideas for how to pay for treatment or stretch limited dollars to get help.


Encourage them to call their insurance company to find out:

  • Which services are covered under their plan
  • Whether there is a list of preferred therapists for CBT treatment of OCD
  • What percentage of charges will be covered—some insurance companies pay more if a treatment provider is part of the company’s “network” of providers, and pays a lower percentage of fees if the provider is “out of network”.
  • Whether the policy has annual or lifetime limits for mental health services.

If the person who needs help is a college student, the first place to refer them is the student health center or counseling center at the college or university they attend.  Many colleges offer student health insurance, which may include coverage for mental health services at deeply discounted rates, or without charge.  These campus services also may be able to make referrals to psychologists in private practice who are trained and experienced in offering cognitive behavior therapy.

If the person is a young adult who may still be covered under a family health insurance policy, you’ll want to encourage the person to talk with his or her parents about their family insurance plan and its coverage.


Some cognitive behavior therapists offer a sliding scale of fees, linked to the OCD sufferer’s ability to pay for services.

Since the only scientifically-supported effective therapy for OCD is CBT (sometimes with accompanying prescription medication), you can help an OCD sufferer not waste time or money on other therapies that may be offered by various doctors, hospitals, mental health centers, pharmacies or social clubs, such as yoga, relaxation therapy, traditional psychoanalysis or talk-therapy, nutrition counseling or nutritional supplements and the like.  While these therapies may offer limited benefits to anyone, they were designed to treat other disorders—not OCD.

It’s also important that any therapist the OCD sufferer chooses is trained and experienced in Cognitive Behavior Therapy.  If you are counseling parents about a young child who has OCD, the therapist must have successful experience treating children.

While you will most likely not be researching therapists yourself, recommending that a person does an appropriate amount of “due diligence” in selecting a therapist will ultimately result in finding a qualified and experienced CBT therapist, not some other doctor or facility that will charge fees for treatment that doesn’t work on OCD.

You can refer interested individuals to the OCD Facts section of this web site for information about how to find a CBT therapist and questions to ask a prospective therapist.

You may also wish to suggest they contact their local mental health association for names of cognitive behavior therapists and also to determine if any kind of financial assistance is available for treatment.


If a therapist recommends the use of medication in conjunction with OCD therapy, patients may have difficulty affording the prescriptions.  A number of resources offer information about prescription assistance, including:

  • The Partnership for Prescription Assistance 1-888-4PPA-NOW or
  • Needy Meds

You can also suggest that the OCD sufferer do the following:

  • Ask the prescribing doctor whether they can use a generic version of the medication prescribed for them.  Generic drugs generally are less expensive than “name brand” medications.
  • Call various pharmacies to find the one that offers the medication at the lowest cost.
  • Ask pharmacies if ordering a three-month supply would lower the cost for themselves or their insurance company.  Some insurance companies offer discounts on co-pays for prescriptions if the medications are ordered in 90-day supplies by mail or online.

You can perform a service for the OCD sufferer if you remind them that they should avoid ordering medications online from unknown sources. Some web sites offer “easy” access to doctors who will write prescriptions that are filled by online “pharmacies.” Sometimes junk email messages offer discounts on prescription medications (often filled through foreign countries).

While the pricing may be attractive (and far lower than local pharmacies offer), there are many confirmed reports of online shoppers receiving fake medications and, when analyzed, some such purchased drugs were actually found to contain harmful substances, including contaminated powders and, in one case, cement!

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