Ever wondered what goes into your session fee?

These days we’re lucky to have a diverse landscape of holistic health care available to those whose needs aren’t met by conventional allopathic medicine, or who want to round out their western medical treatments with complementary approaches. With so many forms of holistic health support at different price points, it can be challenging to know what you’re getting when you pay for services. Explaining where your financial resources are going is one way that Long Spell aims to provide trauma informed care—the more you know, the more you’re able to make decisions that align with your values. Here’s a breakdown of your session fee:

Herbalist Pay

About 75% of your session fee goes directly to paying your herbalist. When you pay me for my services, it ensures that I am being taken care of too. This energy exchange is foundational to creating a reciprocal client-herbalist relationship. Your session fee covers approximately 4 hours of my labour:

  • Time spent with you in session
  • Formulating and dispensing your medicine
  • Charting and communications
  • Growing, harvesting, and extracting herbal medicines, or sourcing them from ethical providers in my network
  • Continual professional development and ongoing research to support your protocols

To get a better sense of what this looks like in terms of an hourly wage, after accounting for overhead expenses, my $190 standard appointment fee works out to about $35/hour.

Free & Lower-Cost Services

Part of what makes herbal care truly holistic is making sure it is available to everyone who needs it. Approximately 5% of my regular rates supplement my financial accessibility offerings. At the beginning of the Covid pandemic, Long Spell began offering sliding-scale acute care appointments and co-created Wet Coast mutual aid kits, a collaborative project that supplied nervous system and immune support to vulnerated neighbours in Vancouver and Victoria in the spring and summer of 2020. I also donate medicine as needed and within my capacity to support community members in need, including Indigenous land defenders, social justice organizers, and artists.

Operating Costs

Operating costs reflect the remaining 20% of your fee. I run a lean operation, but certain costs are unavoidable (and like so many self-employed people, I’ve learned the hard way that trying to do everything myself to keep overhead low isn’t actually the most financially sound approach, but it is a one-way road to burnout). In addition to basic operating costs like insurance, practice management software, and an office setup, this year Long Spell is contracting out key functions like bookkeeping and graphic design to free up more of my time to work with clients.

Herbal Formulas

I work very hard to keep the cost of your medicine as low as possible. The price of a formula covers the cost of supplies—everything from seeds or plant starts and gardening supplies, to alcohol and bottles, to finished tinctures purchased from other medicine-makers. For each new formula I dispense, there is a $10 fee for formulation. That way, if you get the same formula more than once, you pay only cost.

Financial Transparency for Good Relationships

I hope this post helps you to understand and feel good about what you’re paying for when you work with me as your herbalist. I believe that financial transparency helps all of us to have better relationships with our labour, income, expenses—and with each other! I welcome dialogue on this topic—feel free to reach out to me via email if you want to chat about this.