Mental health counseling that won’t break the bank in SWFL

Reporter: Andryanna Sheppard
Published: Updated:
Margeaux Philpot, an FGCU master’s student, offers therapy at the university’s Community Counseling Center. (CREDIT: WINK News)

Finding a therapist and an affordable one with or without insurance can be really hard.

But cost shouldn’t be the reason that keeps you out of the counselor’s chair and away from mental health resources.

The COVID-19 pandemic flipped the world upside down and showed the importance of mental health.

But, people have struggled with the new normal.

“The pandemic created a lot of isolation, a lot of anxiety, a lot of stress, job losses, and uncertainty, right at a global level,” said Eduardo Gloria, CEO of Catholics Charities of the Diocese of Venice.

People have lost jobs and loved ones.

“Research shows that counseling works,” said Alise Bartley, director of the Community Counseling Center at FGCU. “It decreases the symptoms, the mental health issues that the client is experiencing.”

But sometimes, counseling is just not in the budget.

Insurance might not cover it or the therapist you finally found and like doesn’t take insurance because it’s a hassle.

“It is very hard in order to gain access to care if you don’t have the funds in order to get that care,” said Margeaux Philpot, an FGCU master’s student.

Philpot is getting her master’s in mental health counseling.

At the same time, she works at the university’s Community Counseling Center offering therapy to the community virtually or in-person on a sliding scale.

“I feel that I am able to make a difference and I hope to be able to continue to make that difference even after I graduate and go out into the field,” Philpot said.

Philpot and her classmates are watched over by Bartley as they work at the Community Counseling Center.

It costs $25 an hour or whatever you make an hour, whichever is less.

Right now, their oldest client is 90.

“Our average session rate is eight, which means that we’re providing good enough care for our clients that they want to continue seeing us,” Bartley said.

Catholic Charities of Collier County also does its best to make therapy accessible to everyone.

“We recognize that mental health is as critical as some primary things like housing, food, even education, right. So we know that if we are working hard to help individuals with some of these primary needs, but their mental state is not where it needs to be,” Gloria, of the Diocese of Venice, said.

When the pandemic hit, Catholic Charities got rid of their sliding scale and made it free.

Their trained counselors help people virtually and in-person at their Naples location.

They also work with the school district of Lee and Collier counties.

“In this time of need, this can really give you that that peace of mind or that serenity that you were looking for,” Gloria said. “It can help you heal from those wounds that maybe you’re not understanding what’s going on.”

The pandemic has been hard but Bartley said we can thank it for helping to break the stigma surrounding mental health.

“We are physical beings, and we are mental beings. And because of that, we need to be certain that we’re getting the treatment that we need,” Bartley said.

Neither of these options handles mental health emergencies. Instead, they teach you skills to help you through your current issues at little to no cost.


For more information on the Community Counseling Center at FGCU, visit the link or call 239-745-4777 to schedule an appointment.

For more information on the Catholic Charities of Collier County, visit their website or call 239-455-2655.

If you or your loved one have had any issues or questions about cost of care, email us at


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