It truly depends on the person. Counselors/therapists vary widely! Some can literally save your life and some can do pretty bad damage.
I had one for my DD that I quit going to, because even after I explained that he was a diagnosed psychopath, she kept asking my DD to talk to him about her emotions and how he made her feel! Seriously...you don't give psychos more ammo!
Our general mental health facility here does a sliding fee scale. I've gone to them when I had insurance that was paying a decent amount and I've also gone when I didn't and my portion would only be $13 (close to free!)
But again, it really depended on who I saw there. I had one therapist who treated me for my PTSD there who made a huge difference in my life and helped me to stop walking around like a robot with my emotions all bottled up, and my DD did get one that understood exactly what she was dealing with and helped her get her feelings and emotions out.
I've also gone to a religious based facility before when I lived elsewhere. That counselor was also wonderful and did NOT push religion on us....and also, surprisingly, did not try to help me "save" my marriage (this was years ago when I was married to the psycho.) She understood he was abusive and helped us adjust and understand that it would be better to get away from him.
Again, I have a lot of experience with counseling and in school to become one. I see the classes filled with other students that are also going to be out there in this field. Some of these students are going to make excellent counselors and some not so much.