Psychotherapy sessions can range between 50 and 500 pesos (about $10 to $100) per session, Alonso says.
Although it can still be expensive, depending on who your therapist is, Frankenberg says generally mental health care in Buenos Aires is accessible to more than just the elite. The good insurance plans pay for a certain number of sessions for particular therapists who accept them; some plans offer partial reimbursement, too.
Just like in the United States, psychologists cannot write prescriptions. The therapists I spoke with said, in their view, Argentine therapists are less oriented toward medication.
Coming and going
Every psychologist has his or her own life story. Rolon grew up in a poor family; his father was a construction worker and his mother cooked outside the home when they needed more money. His parents encouraged him to study hard so that he could be better off. Today, he's a psychology celebrity; I even saw two of his books for sale at a subway vendor.
"I think a great part of my need to listen ... has to do with things that I saw when I was very young," he said.
Word choice is very important in psychoanalysis, Rolon explained. He has had to adapt himself as well to patients from Spanish-speaking countries that use different idioms, words and turns of phrase.
During her two years of psychoanalytic therapy, Rathbon learned a lot about being patient and making changes "one day at a time." She worked as a headhunter in Buenos Aires and maintained a website on the side about being an expatriate.
In January, she decided it was time to go home to Idaho. That's where she is now, figuring out what to do next.
Saying goodbye to her therapist in Buenos Aires wasn't easy.
"Your analyst is so in your head. How do you tell them that you feel like you're finished?" she asked. "I told him that I was moving home and I thought it was a good breaking point. It was hard, it was emotional, but he understood."