• Heather Gibson, MA, LMFT

Affordable Mental Health Services in San Diego County

Updated: Oct 12

Positive Change Counseling Center Blog


You might be interested in trying therapy, or may find yourself needing the support and guidance of a counselor. You may also be wondering “but how much is it going to cost”? If you have health insurance, there is a good chance that mental health/behavioral health is covered to some extent. While we truly believe that therapy is a worthwhile investment, if you have to pay out of pocket, the cost per session may not necessarily fit into your budget. This is why at Positive Change Counseling Center, we are willing to discuss payment options with our clients who do not have health insurance coverage and are on a fixed budget. During the COVID-19 outbreak we are additionally offering 2-3 free sessions for first-responders, medical professionals, and grocery store employees (see our info in the list below).

If you are interested in finding mental health services outside of our practice, we have compiled this list of low cost mental health services in San Diego County. (We will continue to add to this list as we become aware of other great clinicians, so continue to check back!) We would like to highlight that more expertised clinicians may charge more for their services. Clients can sometimes find more affordable therapy if they are willing to work with a pre-licensed ‘associate/intern’ therapist. This is a therapist working toward earning their license, and they always are being guided by a licensed therapist as their supervisor (you’re essentially getting ‘two-sets of eyes’ on your case, for a lower fee!) Community/County resources can also be an affordable (often free!) option for receiving mental health resources. We have included some of these options into the list below.

Note: If you do have health insurance, you are strongly encouraged to look into what is covered under your mental health benefits by calling the phone number on the back of your insurance card. You may even be able to receive some sessions free through your employer, known as an “Employee Assistance Program (EAP)”.

Affordable Mental Health Services in San Diego County

{$80 per session and under}


The Barefoot Therapist ($80/session)

‘Walking therapy’ with Angela Smith, LCSW

CAPS Clinic ($30/session and up)

Center for Applied Psychology & Services at Alliant University - Dr. Mojgan Kahdemi

Clinical Psychology doctoral students in training, offering low fee therapy in SD county.

10455 Pomerado Rd, M15, San Diego, CA 92131


Estes Therapy ($60-$85/session)

$60 per 50 minute session with a Clinical Mental Health Counseling graduate trainee (a graduate student who is supervised by a licensed therapist). Also offering $85 per 50 minutes session with an Associate MFT (pre-licensed MFT supervised by a licensed clinician).

Phone number: (619) 558-0001

North County Address: 2204 El Camino El Real #305, Oceanside, CA 92054

Grow Through Life Counseling ($60-$100/session)

Sessions with associate/intern therapists. Also offering a few slots for any amount clients can pay during COVID.

Kara Kohnen 1-(619)-549-0329 [ext 0]

NISD Counseling ($30-$75/session)

With an associate MFT. Also offering an additional student discount.


Nurturing Solutions (One $0/free session)

For active-duty military families and healthcare workers.

Marla Flores Reves, LMFT 1011 Devonshire Drive, Suite D, Encinitas, CA

A Place of Growth ($60-$100/session)

They accept Medi-Cal, HealthNet and Molina.

591 Camino De La Reina Suite 802 San Diego, CA 92108

(P) 858-519-8002 (F) 619-684-3788

Positive Change Counseling Center ($0/free for 2-3 sessions)

Offering 2-3 free sessions for essential workers (first-responders, medical professionals & grocery store employees) during the COVID19 outbreak. (619)733-6414.

Offices in La Mesa & Rancho Bernardo.

Stronger Together Community Services ($35-$80/session)

Non-profit offering individual, couple, family, and group counseling, as well as recreational therapy (hiking, rock climbing, yoga, and paddle boarding

Dr. Allison Brownlee (she/her/hers)

Trauma Therapists San Diego ($60/session)

Associate therapist, Christy Pascual-Smith, Supervised by Rachel Conway, PsyD 169 Saxony Rd, #111 Encinitas, CA 92024

P: (858) 386-0993 F: (858) 408-7416

University of San Diego (USD) Tele-Mental Health Training Clinic ($5-$40/session)

Student therapists in training, supervised by a licensed therapist

Minimum of 3 sessions required

Phone: 619-260-7670

YMCA Community Support Services ($0 and up*)

(Fees* are assessed on a sliding scale depending upon ability to pay or eligibility criteria for free services).

3333 Camino Del Rio South, Suite 400, San Diego, CA

Tele: (858) 292-9622 Fax: (858)292-0045

2-1-1 San Diego - Offers county mental health resources:

  • Teen Line: Text "TEEN" to 839863 between 6:00pm-9:00pm PST to receive teen-to-teen education and support.

  • Access & Crisis Line: If you need support or are actively seeking services, please call the ACL at 1 (888)-724-7240, and an experienced counselor will provide you with a referral to meet your needs and help determine eligibility.

  • NAMI San Diego Helpline (619)-543-1434 is open for calls, and staffed by experienced volunteers and Peer/Family Support Specialists who can provide support, assistance, and connections to resources.

  • The Peer-to-Peer Warm Line: Call 619-295-1055 or 1-800-930-WARM (9276) 3:30 pm - 11:00 pm 7 days/week to speak to a Peer Support Specialist.

  • SAMHSA's Disaster Distress Line: Call 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746 to connect with a trained crisis counselor

County of SD Behavioral Health Directory

{If you are a clinician offering low-fee therapy in San Diego County, and would like your practice added to this list, please email your information to: }

Heather Gibson | Positive Change Counseling Center

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