The Lone Prophet
Since 1972 We have watched the progression of professional counseling in the U.S since 1972. Pay-in-Advance insurance programs became more popular in 1992 with the rise of Managed Care. The most talented therapists left the profession because their $120 fees could not compete with counselors willing to accept $60 a session. The public was being brain washed into believing that the $20 copay they paid was the actual worth of counseling. Hundreds of new counselors being pumped out of colleges chose insurance as the best way to get clients. Employer Assistance Programs were becoming more popular. This meant that with no co-pay the new brain washing was the belief that counseling was worth no money. Professional counselors were being criticized for charging any fee when ministers did it for free. Counselors like me were raising fees to cover cost-of-living and the time used for reflection, research and creative methods but we were a dying race. We were tired of being considered “$20 Therapists” and many have quit. Then a few years ago “Investor-Based Counseling was introduced.”
The timing was right for the change. Counseling had become recognized as a profession. Colleges were pumping out hundreds of new counselors every year. Government jobs were scarce, so these counselors hung out private practice shingles. Insurance companies had stopped paying for most sessions, established groups were not accepting new counselors, so these newcomers needed some way to get clients. Viola! Investor-Based companies took up the slack. Covid would exaggerate the problem later but at first our country had established counselors competing for clients, hundreds of new counselors out of school competing for the same warm bodies so they signed up with these new investor-based companies. The caveat was, however, that the counselor was paid about $40 for a weekly session and for all the time spent answering the limitless emails, phone calls and texts that were guaranteed. That meant easily that he or she made nothing or minus nothing per client. He or she soon had to quit or be let go for not answering the texts and emails in a timely fashion. Who cared? Hungry counselors were still signing on, so there was no shortage of counselors. They were flocking in by the thousands to provide care for the thousands signing up for therapy. Who wouldn’t want to pay $80 for a therapist’s availability 24/7? And if the counselor didn’t work out, the customer simply dropped him or her and chose another. Those who had never been in counseling couldn’t tell what was good or bad counseling.
My prophesy is that within ten years, counseling will be worthless. Those disappointed with counselors not resolving their issues will seek effective counselors. But in 10 years there won’t be enough of us and people will give up to divorce, failed careers, dead-end jobs, troubled children, in-law problems, and misery all around. Ministers won’t be able to help much because they are not trained as therapists. Unless some powerful influence prevails, the public is doomed to such a prophecy.