There are a lot of people out there encouraging therapists and coaches to "charge what they are worth". And I whole heartedly agree!
There are endless layers to the value a therapist will provide in someones life. I know the therapists that I have been to myself are worth every dollar - just because of their knowledge, inspiration, healing hands, space and then there's the peace that they bring to my mind and body!
We do also need to get practical- I believe that our field should be worth hundreds of dollars an hour, but we do have to appeal to the demographic that we work in..
Personally, I work with families - particularly families that need help in more than one mental/emotional/physical health issue, so once they come in I usually see them regularly for months or even years. I will also often be treating more than one member of the family.
I currently charge approximately $100 an hour. I based this price on the value I add to their lives, my qualifications, expertise and demographic. Of course there are people who could afford more, and those who won't book in due to that price. But I believe that it's a nice middle ground for me and for the families that I work with.
I have a friend who had a different target market, so she charges a lot more than I do, even though we have similar qualifications, value-add and experience. And that worked well for her too. She was concerned about losing her clients when she put up the prices, but in fact she gained more!
So the first layer of questions to ask yourself are the practical:
Who are my main professional colleagues and what do they charge? (i.e. - specialist? psychologist? massage therapist? chiropractor?)
What demographic and target market am I appealing to? (This also includes the disposable income generally available to the people in your area).
What are my expenses? (Get clear! Remember that your business will have to firstly cover its expenses - rent, memberships, advertising, tax, ongoing training etc before making you a profit).
Fear - clear that stuff!! You're not doing yourself any favours if you fear that people won't come or if you are holding onto beliefs such as "I'm not worth that amount" or "I am not providing anything special". Remember that you are a trained therapist.. not someone "just starting out" - but you have many many hours of experience and clinic already under your belt by the time you step out of the safety of study!
Now find the middle ground!
Remember it's always easier to go down in price than to increase. Even when you're starting out, you will need to charge the amount that you would if you had a few years of experience under your belt.