Eligibility & Application
Q: Why should I join Open Path? Why not just offer low-fee sessions on my own?
It’s true: most of us already offer lower fees to certain clients. However, when we offer lower fees to clients we are acting as lone altruistic individuals. By becoming an Open Path Member Clinician you put your altruism to work, becoming part of a nationwide movement of clinicians dedicated to ending economic disparity in the mental health field. Also, it’s our intent to make Open Path a place of support for clinicians offering low-fee therapy: in addition to your profile page bringing increased traffic to your website, we offer discounts on CEUs, a chance to be spotlighted on our interview page, and other benefits listed here.
Q: How do I apply to be an Open Path Member therapist?
Start the application process here. Once you’ve been approved, we’ll ask you to fax or scan a copy of your liability insurance information and state license to us.
Q: What qualifications do I need to apply?
You must be a licensed or provisionally licensed (Pre-Licensed/License Eligible) mental health clinician with a graduate degree in psychotherapy, counseling, or a related field from an accredited institution. We also welcome unlicensed professionals practicing in jurisdictions where it is legal to practice counseling and psychotherapy without a license. You must also pass our peer-reviewed online application process. Finally, we require all of our member clinicians to show proof of liability insurance.
Q: Can therapists in Canada join Open Path?
Yes, we welcome therapists in Canada to join Open Path. In order to participate, you will need to be a Registered Social Worker, Registered Psychologist, or Registered Psychotherapist and meet the following criteria:
You must provide documentation of your postgraduate degree in psychotherapy, counseling, or a related field from an accredited institution.
You will need to show proof of liability insurance.
You will need to provide documentation showing that you are registered with your provincial college.*
* If you are a psychotherapist and applying from one of the 4 regulated provinces (Quebec, Ontario, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia) you must be able to show that you are a Registered Psychotherapist with your provincial college.
If you are applying from one of the other 9, unregulated provinces, you must show that you are registered with the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association. We are not accepting applications from psychotherapists who are unregistered.
We look forward to reviewing your application.
Q: Can my group practice or clinic have an Open Path profile?
Yes, it is possible to have a profile on our site for a clinic or group practice. However, we recommend having therapists from the clinic use individual profiles on our site for two reasons:
1. It provides a greater SEO push for your clinic.
2. We’ve learned that people are far more likely to click on a face, than a company logo. The individual clinician can link to your main website from their profile.
If you would like to go with having the clinic posted only, we would need an application from the point person (who would receive all of the emails coming from Open Path staff and prospective clients), plus a copy of the state license and liability insurance for every person in the practice who’d be potentially working with an Open Path client.
If there are interns at the clinic, we can accept them into Open Path as long as they already hold their postgraduate degree in counseling, psychology, or related field. Interns can submit their supervisors’ license and insurance information if they do not hold their own. We will also need the name and email address, plus the state registration card of their license to practice as an intern, from each participant.
If you would like to create profiles for each therapist, which we recommend, each therapist would need to fill out the application in order to create their profile, and also send a copy of their license and liability insurance.
Q: What happens after I apply?
After being approved to be an Open Path Member Clinician, we will send you a username and password to set up your profile page. Once we send a client your way, he/she will get in touch with you to schedule the first therapy session.
Q: What do you do with my professional information on my application?
We simply use it for our own records: Open Path will never share or sell your information. Our only goal is to connect you with people who can’t afford therapy while supporting your practice in the process.
Q: How much do I have to pay to have a profile page on your site?
Absolutely nothing! Part of our mission is to support you in your therapy or counseling practice. As Open Path grows and our visibility increases, your visibility will increase too. It’s our belief that your involvement with Open Path will have a positive impact for your full-fee practice as well, driving new web traffic to your practice’s homepage. Also, we’re committed to supporting your practice in other ways: Click here to learn more about the benefits of being an Open Path Member Clinician.
Rates & Fees
Q: What am I allowed to charge Open Path clients for couples counseling and/or family therapy?
Open Path member therapists are allowed to charge up to $80 for couples counseling and/or family therapy sessions. If you plan to charge greater than $60 for this kind of session, we recommend that you share that information on your Open Path profile so that clients know what to expect.
Q: Can I offer the reduced rate for a limited number of sessions, and then raise the rate above $60 after the limit is met?
We do not allow member therapists to raise the rate after a certain number of sessions to an amount over $60. We ask that you see Open Path clients within the range of $30-60 per session ($30-80 for couples and family counseling).
Q: If a client’s financial situation positively changes, is it acceptable to renegotiate their fee outside of Open Path’s $30-60 range?
Yes, if a client’s financial situation significantly improves, it is acceptable to renegotiate their fee. For example, if the client is paying $30 a session and a therapist’s rate is $125 and the client suddenly gets a high paying job, we believe it’s financially and therapeutically appropriate and important to change the fee. The therapist would be encouraged to respectfully renegotiate the rate with the client at that time. If the client has any questions about their membership with Open Path at that point, the therapist can direct them to Open Path at email@example.com.
Q: Why do you charge low(er) fee paying clients a membership fee?
Open Path is a nonprofit organization: we use the funds we receive from the membership fee to market Open Path, maintain our website, pursue grants and other avenues of funding, and recruit new therapists and counselors nationwide. We’re in the process of building a financial aid fund for potential clients who cannot afford the $59 fee. If you know of anyone who would like to donate to Open Path’s financial aid fund, help us direct them here.
Open Path Clients
Q: Can I see more than two clients at a time?
Yes. As long as your profile page indicates that you are accepting new Open Path clients, we will do our best to send them in your direction.
Q: How many clients do I have to see to be an Open Path therapist? (maybe this could be combined with the one above)
Just one. Your profile page has a field for you to indicate and update to show if you have space for a new client or not. As members of the Collective dedicated to providing affordable therapy, we ask that you keep this field current and be honest in disclosing the number of Open Path clients you are seeing.
Q: Can my current low(er) fee paying clients become Open Path clients?
Yes. Your client(s) would need to fill out our application and pay our one-time $59 membership fee.
Q: How will Open Path bring new clients to my door?
In addition to strengthening your digital presence and fielding queries from potential clients who discover Open Path in their own web search or via word of mouth, we support therapists who wish to conduct outreach to gain additional referrals. If there are organizations in your community you’d like to contact, please let us know by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org and we can provide you with the needed materials and information.
Thanks to a generous grant from Google, we direct marketing resources toward targeted ads designed to increase the number of referrals throughout the country.
Q: I don’t have any room in my current caseload, can I still join?
Yes, with a caveat. After signing up for Open Path, you may indicate on your profile page that you are not currently accepting Open Path clients. We do ask that within six months time, you change this status on your page to make room for at least one Open Path client in your caseload.
Q: If a non-Open Path client requests reduced fee appointments with me, and I have no room in my schedule, may I refer them to Open Path?
Of course. We hope that Open Path will help alleviate the burden of saying no to certain clients. While we can’t promise there will be a therapist available to work with them, we welcome the referral and will do our best to help them find an affordable clinician.
Q: Can clients who have Medicaid use Open Path?
If there are no available Medicaid providers in the client’s area, a client could use Open Path to meet their need for affordable mental health care. It’s important to note that Open Path rates are much higher than Medicaid rates for psychotherapy. If there are available Medicaid providers in the client’s area, we ask that they not use Open Path.
Q: If am already seeing a few Open Path clients and I don’t have room for more, will I get swamped with phone calls from people hoping to work with me?
No. You will be able to indicate whether or not you are accepting Open Path clients on your profile page. This page is always in your control.
Q: Instead of individual therapy, may I see an Open Path client in a group setting, or propose this to my prospective Open Path client as an option?
This is between you and your client. However, we expect that all Open Path clients have access to one-on-one sessions with their therapist if they prefer it.
Q: What are Open Path’s guidelines on online therapy?
Open Path allows its member therapists to offer online therapy. We strongly encourage all therapists offering online therapy to research the guidelines or policies of their state’s licensing board as well as of their medical liability insurance policy. Some therapists may only be able to offer remote counseling to clients located in the same state as where they are licensed. We also highly recommend that therapists conduct an initial assessment with new clients requesting online therapy to determine the appropriateness of this approach before regular sessions are undertaken.