Affordable Therapy in Alberta
Find information on subsidized counselling and sliding scale fees for private therapy.
You can find many local resources offering mental health support or counselling on this page.
Is therapy covered by Alberta Health Care Insurance?
Alberta only covers therapy offered by the government and Alberta Health Services. When private therapists practice outside of publicly funded programs, they are no longer funded by the public. Alberta Health Care Insurance does not cover private therapy or psychology services, including those offered by Therapy Alberta.
Where do I find affordable therapy?
1. Crisis and Distress Services
2. Government/AHS Services
3. Non Profit Services
4. Private EAP Services
5. Private Subsidized
6. Sliding Scale Therapy
1. Crisis and Distress Services
You can find local resources offering crisis services for people in distress here.
2. Alberta Government/Alberta Health Services
Alberta’s public healthcare system offers a wide variety of services, including short- and long-term counselling. Some are available for walk-in, while others require a referral.
Alberta Health Services offers walk-in counselling at certain locations for help with a variety of mental health concerns, including stress, grief, parenting, relationships, depression, and anxiety. The onsite counsellors use a team approach and focus on helping people make changes in their lives by learning what their strengths are. These sessions are completely confidential and are 50 minutes. Wait times can vary, as clients are seen in priority of need.
Access Mental Health offers crisis, addiction, and wellness counselling. Service areas across Alberta are divided by regions, so check the website to contact your local area.
Some physicians and psychiatrists offer mental health care covered by Alberta Health, and some hospitals offer out-patient mental health services. Ask your doctor or a walk in doctor for a referral.
Primary Care Networks are groups of family doctors who work alongside nurses, mental health therapists, pharmacists, social workers, and other health professionals to meet the everyday health needs of local communities. They offer a variety of supports, including one-on-one help from mental health professionals, access to social services, and workshops. Find information about your local PCN here:
In 2020, the Government of Canada launched Wellness Together, an online mental health support providing access to resources, skill-building, assessments, and counselling.
In 2020, Alberta Health partnered with Togetherall, an anonymous digital community for non-judgmental support and access to resources for a variety of common mental health struggles.
Alberta Health Services also has a list of resources for help in tough times with a wide range of support services.
3. Non-Profit Mental Health Services
There are also many non-profit organizations sponsored by government funds and private donations offering subsidized mental health counselling. Visit each site for more details:
Calgary Counselling Centre - Calgary and Alberta individual and group counselling
CASA - Edmonton kid, teen, and family counselling
CCASA - Calgary and area sexual assault crisis support, counselling, and education
CIWA - Calgary individual and group counselling and education for immigrant women
Community Connect YYC - Calgary counselling from various providers
Counselling Alberta - Alberta individual online counselling
JFSC - Calgary mental health support line and brief counselling
Kindred (formerly Catholic Family Service) - Alberta online counselling & Calgary group and family programs
Momentum Counselling - Edmonton individual, couple, and group counselling
SACE - Edmonton and area sexual assault crisis support, counselling, and education
Skipping Stone - Affirming counselling, skill building, and resources for trans and gender-diverse youth, adults, families
The Canadian Mental Health Association - Alberta mental health services & resources
The Family Centre - Edmonton individual, family, and group counselling
YWCA Calgary - Calgary individual and family counselling programs for prevention and treatment of family violence
YWCA Edmonton - Edmonton individual and family counselling programs for prevention and treatment of family violence
4. EAP/EFAP Mental Health Services
You may have an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) or Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP) with your employer. These programs are offered through various organizations and provide access to brief online and in-person mental health services (4 - 6 sessions). To learn more about your employer’s EAP Program, check your employment benefit package or reach out to your human resources department. Some providers include:
5. Accessing Community Subsidized Private Therapy
Some cultural or faith communities may cover or co-pay members’ private therapy to support their wellbeing. If you do not have insurance coverage or the ability to pay for therapy and you belong to a cultural, faith, or church community, you might inquire whether they can assist your healing journey.
The Lionheart Foundation provides financial subsidies to individuals seeking treatment with their directory of therapists.
Some grants also exist to help pay for therapy with your own therapist, including the Breaking Free Foundation in Calgary.
6. Sliding Scale Fees from Private Practice Therapists
With financial support, government and non-profit organizations can easily offer zero or low cost services. When mental health professionals practice outside of publicly funded programs, they are no longer funded by the public. Our provincial health coverage (Alberta Health Care Insurance Plan) does not cover private therapy or psychology services.
Private practice therapists pay for their own business costs and typically charge for services in alignment with their association’s fee schedule. Many Albertans have insurance for private therapy - you can read more about paying with insurance.
Therapy Alberta and many other private therapy practices offer sliding scale fees to reduce the barriers clients face to accessing private therapy services. Since rates can vary and usually begin at $125, it’s best to reach out to the therapist you hope to see to discuss your fee.
Cultivate is a local Calgary private therapy practice that offers services on a pay what you can basis for people who may not have insurance coverage or are limited by finances. There are no minimum fee requirements or session limits.