Getting Therapy In Singapore: Factors That Influence Costs, Options, Subsidies (2024)

How Much Does Therapy Cost In Singapore

Therapy involves talking to a professional about your thoughts, feelings, and emotions. The therapist will then offer insights into your problems and suggest potential solutions or coping techniques. With therapy Singapore, the primary focus is on open sharing and expression.

There is much to gain from therapy or counselling in Singapore. You don’t have to be mentally unwell to seek counselling services; often, therapy can be used for evaluating your child or adolescent, resolving problematic behaviours, or simply guiding you and your partner in daily life through marriage counselling Singapore.

In this article, we’ll explore the difference between a therapist and a psychiatrist, how much therapy cost in Singapore, and how to get cheaper help for improving your mental health Singapore.

What Is The Difference Between A Therapist And A Psychiatrist?

Both therapists and psychiatrists concentrate on treating mental health illnesses and the symptoms that go along with them. The most significant distinction is that psychiatrists can recommend drugs and other medical interventions because they have medical degrees. They might also have different approaches to treating patients.

Let’s look at the differences between the two.


The term therapist is all-inclusive for professionals trained and licensed to offer various rehabilitation and treatment to people. They can have any number of degrees, including:

  • A master’s degree
  • MD
  • Ph.D., or
  • Certificate in social work, clinical psychology, family and marriage counselling, substance abuse, or psychiatry

Psychoanalysts, marriage counselors, life coaches, and social workers are all examples of therapists.

The goal of a therapist is to assist patients in making decisions and clarifying their feelings to resolve problems. 

They do this by offering guidance and support to assist patients in making informed decisions.

Tip: When choosing a therapist, consider their licensing, education, and professional qualifications. 


A psychiatrist Singapore is a certified medical doctor who has completed formal post-graduate education and a clinical residency. They can also accurately diagnose and treat mental illnesses.

Qualifications wise, they must have at least a:

  • Master’s degree in medicine and
  • Bachelor’s degree in medicine and surgery

Psychiatrists must complete 11 to 13 years of schooling and residency before they are fully licensed to practice in a clinic or hospital. As a result, depending on their training, psychiatrists may conduct talk therapy sessions with clients – just like therapists can.

The only difference, however, is that psychiatrists may write prescriptions for mental health conditions. 

Note: Clients are frequently referred to psychologists for therapy after being formally diagnosed by a psychiatrist. 

Regulation Of Therapists and Psychiatrists

The Singapore Medical Council, Singapore Nursing Board, and Allied Health Professions Council regulate the professional practice of psychiatrists, nurses, and occupational therapists, respectively.

Furthermore, MOH regulates the provision and advertisement of licensable healthcare services under the Private Hospitals and Medical Clinics Act (PHMCA) and the Healthcare Services Act to ensure patient safety and welfare. This ensures that mental health services provided under the auspices of a licensed healthcare service adhere to proper regulatory standards.

How Much Is Seeing A Therapist In Singapore?

So, how much does therapy cost in Singapore?

Prices can vary according to the experience and credentials of the therapist or counsellor. But in general, most spend anywhere from $40 to $120 per session, averaging at about $60. This is usually for a one hour session. An expert and highly talented therapist can cost upwards of $200.

Considering that therapy isn’t a one-time fix-all and requires multiple sessions, it is in your best interest to look for a therapist or facility that best fits your needs. Some providers may offer package deals, so don’t be afraid to ask.

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Tip: Do your research and read up on the therapist or counsellor in question. This includes reading reviews. 

If money is an issue for you, you can try searching for free counselling services.

However, getting an appointment with free or publicly funded healthcare services often comes with long waiting times.

How Much Is A Psychological Assessment In Singapore?

A psychological evaluation is conducted to:

  • Evaluate particular aspects of a person’s psychological profile
  • Fully comprehend the type and scope of clients’ difficulties
  • Diagnose Dyslexia, dyscalculia, and other learning disabilities

You may spend as low as $45 to $60 for a psychological assessment at a public hospital. However, you may have to wait for a few weeks to get an appointment.

Conversely, a private clinic charges between $150 to $400, with usually a much shorter waiting time.

Using Medisave For Mental Health Conditions In Singapore

In case you were unaware, Medisave can be utilised for psychiatric care. You can pay up to $150 per day for hospital expenses during inpatient treatment, with a $5,000 annual cap. Under the Flexi-MediSave program, those 60 and older may withdraw an additional $200 annually.

Patients with difficult chronic ailments can now utilise up to $700 yearly under the improved MediSave 500/700 plan, while those with simple chronic conditions can spend up to $500 annually.

Major depressive disorder, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, dementia, and anxiety are among the chronic conditions that can be treated outpatient. However, you’ll be required to make a 15% co-payment.

Why Is Therapy So Expensive?

  • Years of training

Naturally, those with extensive training and experience often charge higher. For instance, a private practitioner psychiatrist with several years of expertise will charge higher than a social worker with only a few years of experience.

  • The reputation of a therapist or clinic

Likewise, if a therapist or clinic is well known for their services and in high demand, they may bill a higher rate per hour or per session.

  • Type of therapy

Highly specialised or difficult treatments may be more expensive.

  • Inadequate private insurance coverage

While many insurers today provide specialised policies that pay out in the case of a mental health diagnosis, unfortunately, the coverage is still insufficient. Further, these insurance policies only cover therapies for schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, significant depression, and anxiety.

  • Limited understanding of mental health 

Similarly, what constitutes mental health problems in Singapore’s public healthcare system is rather restricted. These narrow definitions limit who and how many persons can get assistance from public institutions for mental health in Singapore.


  • Improving your mental health takes time 

There isn’t a miracle drug you can take for mental health. Self-improvement is a journey, and going for therapy is part of it. This includes multiple therapy sessions that may go on for months and even years.

Does Polyclinic Have A Psychiatrist?

Some polyclinics offer psychology services by psychologists and other healthcare professionals, such as family physicians, nurses, and social workers.

You can also get a referral letter from a polyclinic to see a psychiatrist. The polyclinic can refer you to a private or government-based psychiatrist; if you have a psychiatrist in mind, you can mention it to the doctor writing your referral letter.

Getting a referral letter from a polyclinic can entitle you to subsidised fees when seeing a government-based psychiatrist.

If you suffer from severe mental illness, it is recommended that you seek treatment at the Institute of Mental Health (IMH) or a nearby psychiatric clinic.

Does Therapy Treatment Work?

Some people enter therapy anticipating a quick fix and become discouraged when their problems don’t go away after one or two sessions. They also expect the therapist to hand them all the solutions and answers on a silver platter.

Therapy is a two-way street – as much as your therapist wants to help, you have to put in the work. Remember: therapists don’t give you specific solutions.

Instead, their job is to help you process your current and past emotions, thoughts, and traumas before teaching you new coping mechanisms.

Although therapy can be costly, it is an investment in your health that could benefit your relationships, career, and general well-being. Don’t let the expense deter you from enhancing your quality of life.

If you require financial assistance to seek help for your mental health, Money Kinetics can assist. We can help source for a personal loan that suits your needs best – including flexible repayment terms and lower interest rates. It only takes a few seconds to make a quote request. Apply here.