This option gets mentioned in jest during the preceding season, but the impetus for this resolution often runs a lot deeper than one dysfunctional family Christmas. Jake Lynn, spokesman for the American Psychoanalytic Association, says the cost of effective psychoanalysis varies on an individual sliding scale. Working through the root causes of one's issues can take less than a year and cost as little as $10 per session or upward of $200 and -- as Lynn illustrated through the example of New York Times ( NYT) literary critic Daphne Merkin and her August magazine piece My Life in Therapy -- may require decades to address. With some health care programs only covering 10 to 20 visits a year -- and one a week when, Lynn says, multiple visits are recommended -- the cost of psychoanalysis can be as worrisome as the issues it addresses. Choosing psychotherapy, which tends to focus more on current conditions than underlying causes, doesn't give a discount either, with American Psychotherapy Association spokeswoman Tanya Miller noting that per-session costs in her organization's home state of Missouri ranged between $85 and $100, and San Francisco-based psychotherapist Jim Hutt telling his Web visitors that per-hour fees in his city average $25 to $200 but range between $2 and $250.