How much will it cost to get better?
The biggest factor in the cost of neurotherapy is usually the number of sessions needed. In addition, different clinicians charge different amounts for sessions, and this can vary by geographic region. My own fee for a session of neurofeedback in the Washinton, DC area is $125, a little less than I charge for a psychotherapy session. If someone pays for twenty sessions at once, the twentieth session is free.
Getting started in neurofeedback sometimes begins with a 50 minute initial consultation to discuss ones needs and whether neurofeedback can help. This occurs when a client is not sure if they want to pursue neurofeedback.
Beginning neurofeedback itself typically takes two to three hours of testing and evaluation. I always do a basic “brain map” which reports the level of arousal of different parts of the brain. This uses simple EEG equipment and helps with both diagnosis and treatment planning. In cases where attention and focus is involved, I also do the computerized Test of Variables of Attention (TOVA), which is a test for overall attention and efficiency of brain functioning. After testing is completed I do a one hour clinical evaluation to go over ones history and symptoms in detail, discuss test results, and offer initial treatment suggestions. The cost for each of these three components is $125. As a result, an initial work-up for neurofeedback can cost from $250 to $500 depending on the number of sessions involved and whether an informational session is included.
When TOVA’s are used to guide treatment and as a measure of progress they are given after every 20 sessions. The charge for TOVA’s after the first one is $50 each.
A typical course of treatment for ADHD is often considered to be about 40 sessions. This can be longer if there are significant complications. Anxiety, depression, and other problems may take this amount of work also, and sometimes more.
When a client’s problems require a long course of treatment the option of home training can be explored after stabilization and basic progress have been made. You can read about it in the text box on this page.
What About Insurance?
Insurance companies vary in their willingness to cover the cost of neurofeedback. There are certain diagnoses for which biofeedback has become an accepted treatment method, and since neurofeedback is a form of biofeedback (EEG biofeedback) it will usually be covered in those situations. The treatment of migraines is one example of this.
You might want to ask your insurance company if biofeedback is covered for your particular problem, and if so, whether it is considered to be a medical expense or a mental health expense. If they ask you for the “CPT Code” used, you are being asked for a procedure code that identifies the service being rendered. For neurofeedback the primary one that is used is 90901 (biofeedback by any modality). In addition, 90801 (diagnostic interview), 96119 (neuropsychological assessment by technician), and 96103 (neurofeedback assessment by computer) are used for an initial assessment to plan and direct the actual training. A test of variables of attention is often used every 20 sessions to evaluate progress, which is also the 96103 procedure code.
Consulting your insurance company about their policies on neurofeedback (or simply biofeedback) can be an important part of planning the financial aspects of your treatment.
Earning back the cost of your treatment
In my years as a clinical psychologist I have taken great pleasure in watching my clients improve their overall mental health as a result of psychotherapy.
In many cases the improvements have also shown up at work. I’ve watched clients get promotions or gather the courage to find a more satisfying career–both in terms of enjoyment and personal finances. Sometimes their therapy actually has actually paid for itself as a result of promotions and better jobs.
There are no guarantees, of course, but the same thing can happen with neurofeedback. For some people the career advancement that results from successful neurotherapy can eventually pay for the treatment. Not a bad investment!