How To Find The Best Online Therapy For Teens (2023)

How To Find The Best Online Therapy For Teens (1) Being a teenager can come with plenty of struggles, and...

Being a teenager can come with plenty of struggles, and juggling an education, a flourishing social life, at-home responsibilities, and potentially even a job can definitely cause distress. Therapy can be helpful, but it can be tough to find time to make an appointment. Online therapy—or counseling through text messages and email—can provide a different outlet to release a teen’s stress.(1)

Online therapy for teens can cover depression, anxiety, relationship troubles, bipolar disorder, and eating disorders, among others. There are options for family and many other kinds of therapy online as well.(1)

Those interested in mental health treatment may prefer online therapy because it’s easy to access, can take place almost anywhere, and is sometimes more affordable than in-person therapy.(1)

How To Find an Online Teen Therapist

Start by reaching out to the teen’s primary care provider. They may have access to information about local teen therapists and clinics that offer telehealth services online or over the phone.

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It’s believed that 14% of adolescents have a mental health condition of some kind, so adolescent mental health requires attention from mental health professionals specializing in this age group.(2) Licensed mental health professionals in this field should have credentials to provide mental health support to teens.(3)

Consider What Type of Online Therapy Services You’re Looking For

Deciding on the kind of therapy is the first thing anyone needs to do when looking into online therapy services. Online services range from talk therapy to family therapy and offer specific care and management based on the person’s individual needs.

What works for one person won’t necessarily work for another. Online therapy platforms have licensed therapists specializing in areas such as self-harm or learning coping strategies. They create a unique treatment plan for each person, so they get the mental health care they need based on their specific conditions and environment.

Talk Therapy

Also known as psychotherapy, talk therapy helps individuals deal with stressful situations, symptoms that have no physical explanation, and mental health conditions that affect them or a loved one. It helps them identify and change harmful or troubling behaviors, emotions, and thought processes.(4)

Psychotherapy usually takes place in a one-on-one environment or in group therapy sessions. Talk therapy for teens may work on its own or be used in tandem with medications that help manage a specific condition, such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). A patient’s specific treatment plan comes together after talking with the therapist and discussing the possible management options for the conditions they present with.(4)

Some common online therapy options include Teen Counseling, BetterHelp, Cerebral, Talkspace, and Amwell.

Family Therapy

Family therapy is another kind of talk therapy for teens and their parents, guardians, siblings, and other relatives. It can treat specific mental health conditions, behavioral health conditions, and substance use disorders. Family therapy teaches some family members how to cope or deal with another family member’s diagnosis or condition so they can understand it better. It also encourages the person living with the condition to take specific steps toward coping and adjusting.(5)

During family therapy, most people work with licensed marriage and family therapists (LMFTs). Different kinds of family therapy are available and vary based on treatment goals.(5)

Group Therapy

During group therapy, the psychologist leads the group (usually up to 15 patients) in a discussion about a topic.(6) Some people participate in group therapy only, while others go to individual and group.

Group therapy can show individuals that they’re not alone in dealing with their challenges. The group offers emotional support, as well as education on coping skills and strategies, to help overcome challenges in life.(6)

Medication Management

Sometimes, psychologists or psychiatrists choose to prescribe medications for better mental health. Depending on the teen’s condition, medication management services may provide additional support outside of in-person visits or online counseling sessions.(7)

Psychiatric medication management is one part of the two-pronged approach, including traditional therapy sessions and medications. Psychiatric services focus on testing medications, seeing if they improve or negatively impact the patient’s goals, and adjusting them accordingly. Ultimately, it’s possible to handle psychiatric care with medications in some cases, but not in others.(7)

Medications may offer support for conditions such as:(7)

  • ADHD
  • Sleep disorders
  • Schizophrenia
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Panic disorders
  • Bipolar disorder

How To Find The Best Online Therapy For Teens (2)

Mental Health Services and Treatment for Teenagers

Mental health services and any assessments, diagnoses, treatments, or types of counseling are available via telehealth. Usually, these services take place in private or public clinics, as well as in inpatient or outpatient settings.(8)

The psychotherapy services offered by online therapists is similar to what individuals would receive during in-office visits. Online therapy options provide better access to mental health services in some parts of the county and for those with no direct way to get to appointments in person.

However, online support isn’t always the right choice, depending on a person’s situation. Teens with suicidal ideation or severe mental health conditions may need traditional in-person therapy or support through local emergency services.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a psychological treatment for conditions such as substance use disorders, anxiety disorders, depression, and eating disorders. CBT works on several core principles, including the idea that psychological problems are a result of (or due in part to) unhelpful thought processes and behavior patterns. Those practicing CBT believe patients can learn how to cope with psychological problems to relieve their symptoms and live more effective lives.(9)

This treatment involves making an effort to change thinking patterns, such as by recognizing distorted thoughts and reevaluating them against reality. It requires building problem-solving skills to cope with frustrating or difficult scenarios.(9)

Compare Online Teen Therapy Provider Reviews Online

Before selecting a mental health professional, it’s important to review and compare online therapy provider reviews. Check the professional’s biography to learn more about their specialties and to see patient reviews. If the therapist doesn’t offer online therapy for teens or doesn’t specialize in teen counseling, it’s possible to ask for the names of other mental health professionals who do.

Insurance carriers generally keep a list of in-network mental health professionals. Parents may also want to reach out to their child’s primary care provider for suggestions and referrals.

Find Out What Each Provider Charges for a Teen Therapy Session

It’s important to note that not all therapy sessions cost the same amount. Costs reflect the following:

  • The specialty
  • Session length
  • The provider’s level of education, credentials, or experience

Parents and guardians may want to ask the receptionist at the clinic or office about the costs and whether they accept insurance. If the patient pays out of pocket, then parents may also want to ask about income-based payments or payment plans.

Check To See If Your Insurance Will Help Cover Online Therapy Costs

Does insurance cover online therapy? That’s a question for the plan’s administrators and customer service line. Usually, private insurance carriers do cover telehealth, although there are exceptions to the rule.(10)

To check to see if an insurance carrier will help cover online therapy costs, the policyholder should reach out to their insurance provider for more details and a list of in-network providers. They should ask if the policy has mental health benefits, and if so, how many sessions the insurance policy allows.(11)

Book Your Teen Online Therapy Session

To book a teen therapy session, start by looking into the insurance coverage the teen or their parents have. They may also need to see their primary care provider to get a referral. Otherwise, they can select from in or out-of-network mental health professionals to start therapy.(11)

Mental health providers often accept insurance, but when calling, parents or guardians should ask about the types of insurance accepted and get verification of their plan’s deductible and the price of each session. They should also tell the receptionist the reason for the appointment and request online therapy if that’s what they’re seeking.(11)

Common Questions About Teen Counseling

When Is It Time To Get Teen Therapy?

A teen’s mental health problems might occur for several reasons, including:(12)

  • Medical conditions, such as mental or physical health conditions
  • Violence, such as domestic violence
  • Loss, such as the loss of a relationship or loved one
  • Stress, such as trouble with interpersonal relationships or grades at school

Teens benefit from therapy as a safe place to discuss their feelings and emotions. Most types of therapy don’t have a set duration. On average, therapy lasts for 3 months when attending once weekly.(12)

Most people benefit from therapy during difficult times in their lives. People, including teens, may want to see therapists when they have symptoms of mental illnesses, have experienced a traumatic event, or are dealing with significant stress. Those with troubling or disruptive behaviors may also benefit from speaking with a mental health care provider.(13)

Keep in mind that anyone can attend therapy at any time. Having a concern is one reason to go, but some people enjoy going to therapy to have someone to talk to and open up to. It can be helpful for teens to talk with the therapist about specific goals during the first session, so they can keep the sessions on track.(13)

Can Online Therapy Help With Teen Depression?

Talk therapy works for many different mental health concerns, including those related to substance use, traumatic experiences, mental health diagnoses, and emotional distress.(13)

Teen therapy specifically helps with a number of conditions, including those that cause emotional distress. Emotional distress, which can present as a hallmark of depression, includes feelings such as numbness or hopelessness. It can also look like unusual anger, sadness, or frustration.(13)

Those who suspect they or a loved one have depression or another mental illness should consider attending therapy in person or online. A licensed therapist has the training needed to start teens and others on the path to recovery. Health insurance plans may cover care on some online therapy platform options, so it’s a good idea to check with the insurance and healthcare provider to make sure both work with one another.

Once a teen is with a covered provider (or sessions get paid for out of pocket) they can begin therapy. In therapy they can focus on discussing major life transitions, mental health concerns, depression, anxiety, neurodivergent conditions, and many other topics that may help them feel like themselves again. If necessary, the healthcare provider may suggest medications or other therapies, which may or may not require referrals to other specialists.(13)

Can Online Counseling Help With Teen Anxiety?

Online counseling has the potential to help a teen with anxiety. The answer to the question, “can a minor sign up alone” depends on the state and their age. For example, in Kentucky, minors can consent to therapy once they’re 16. At that age, they don’t need parental consent.(14)

Emancipated minors also have a right to commit to mental health therapies without the consent of a parent or guardian.(14) For most other scenarios, such as with younger patients, parents do need to consent to mental health therapy.

For those who agree to attend therapy, the mental health provider starts with patient intake forms and discusses the symptoms the patient or their parents see. Someone with a severe mental health condition may have to go to inpatient or in-person meetings first, but some may graduate totelehealth or online therapy sessions later. A hybrid approach is common.(15)

Many online therapy platforms handle common mental health conditions, such as depression, anxiety, eating disorders, substance use disorders, and others. Anyone seeking help with teen anxiety should speak with the online therapist about their specialties and make sure they feel confident about treating the specific condition the patient wants to address.(16)

What Are Therapy Activities for Teens?

Therapeutic activities for teens can help change behaviors and ways of thinking and improve self-worth. A teen’s therapist may discuss these or other age and interest-appropriate activities to improve mental health issues by changing thought patterns or behaviors that hurt the teen’s life and mental health.

Some therapeutic activities for teens include:(17)

  • Creating a music CD that consists of songs based on a theme. This act helps build self-awareness.
  • Writing a letter to themselves. Writing helps get emotions down on paper to better process them and gain perspective.
  • Playing “spot the strength,” an exercise that helps teens recognize their character strengths (as well as those in others).



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How To Find The Best Online Therapy For Teens? ›

Specialized therapy for ages 13-17.

What age is Talkspace for? ›

Specialized therapy for ages 13-17.

How do I choose a virtual therapist? ›

Consider the factors listed below when choosing an online therapist:
  1. Type of Communication During Therapy. ...
  2. Cost & Insurance Coverage. ...
  3. Scheduling & Availability. ...
  4. Credentials. ...
  5. Specialty & Approach. ...
  6. Personal Preferences.

How do I engage my 15 year old in therapy? ›

Asking questions can be a great way to engage teens in lively discussion and help build self-awareness. Questions also show that you are curious and have an interest in the lives of the youth you're talking to. There are a number of different types of questions and all have a time and place.

How credible is Talkspace? ›

Yes, Talkspace is legit. The company has been operating as an online therapy program since 2012. All providers are licensed therapists required to have 3,000 hours of clinical experience. Additionally, the psychiatry plan requires an MD to prescribe and manage medications.

Is Talkspace good for anxiety? ›

Talkspace can help people manage their mild anxiety symptoms and depression symptoms, but should not be used during a mental health crisis. Therapists do not answer text messages more than once a day and are not available immediately for appointments.

What is the alternative to Talkspace? ›

Talkspace's alternatives and competitors. See how Talkspace compares to similar products. Talkspace's top competitors include Spring Health, NOCD, and Twill.

Does therapy work better in-person or online? ›

Effectiveness. In many cases, online therapy provides the same quality of care. Several studies have found that teletherapy is just as effective as in-person sessions for treating a range of mental health disorders, including anxiety and depression.

Is online counseling worth it? ›

Research suggests that online therapy can be just as effective as traditional in-person therapy, and the American Psychological Association's 2021 COVID-19 Telehealth Practitioner Survey found that a majority of the psychologists surveyed agreed.

What is the most effective psychotherapy for high schoolers? ›

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT): CBT helps teens identify harmful thought patterns and teaches them how to replace those patterns with more positive ones to boost their self-esteem.

What is the controversy with Talkspace? ›

One therapist told the New York Times that Talkspace reprimanded them for recommending outside resources in a supposedly confidential chat with a patient. Employees said the company mined private user chats for phrases it could use in marketing campaigns.

Is it better to work for Talkspace or BetterHelp? ›

BetterHelp therapists are better paid and happier than therapists on Talkspace. I believe that these happier therapists offer a better service to their clients.

How is Talkspace different from BetterHelp? ›

Both platforms match people with licensed, accredited therapists for counseling services, but BetterHelp offers financial aid and costs a little less. Talkspace has a wider range of services, including psychiatry.

What is the most effective type of therapy for anxiety? ›

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is the most widely-used therapy for anxiety disorders. Research has shown it to be effective in the treatment of panic disorder, phobias, social anxiety disorder, and generalized anxiety disorder, among many other conditions.

What type of therapy is best for anxiety? ›

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is the most effective form of psychotherapy for anxiety disorders. Generally a short-term treatment, CBT focuses on teaching you specific skills to improve your symptoms and gradually return to the activities you've avoided because of anxiety.

Can Talkspace diagnose me? ›

Talkspace therapists aren't authorized to diagnose conditions, but Talkspace does have psychiatrists who can aid in medication management.

What celebrities use Talkspace? ›

Other celebrities — including Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande, Demi Lovato, Michael Phelps and Harry Styles — have partnered with mental health apps such as BetterHelp, Talkspace or Calm. “It does seem like it's a trend, but I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing,” said Dr. Amanda J.

Does Talkspace do ADHD? ›

Talkspace therapists have exceptional knowledge about the various types of therapy for ADHD that will help you or a loved one manage. Learn why so many people are turning to Talkspace for help in how to deal with ADHD. With Talkspace online therapy, you can learn to not just live with ADHD, but to thrive with it.

Is Talkspace only texting? ›

You can send text, video, or voice messages to your provider anytime something comes up — whether you're commuting, at the office, or in bed. You can expect to hear back from your therapist within one working day, during their business hours, five days per week.

Who should not use online therapy? ›

Not Appropriate for Serious Psychiatric Illnesses

For example, if you have a serious addiction or have more severe or complex symptoms of a mental health condition, online therapy may not be recommended unless other in-person therapies or treatments are also involved in your plan.

Is it better to talk to friends or a therapist? ›

Talking to a friend may be free, but only working with a therapist will give you the cognitive and emotional skills to live a happier life. When we don't completely understand what psychotherapy is, it's easy to assume it won't be more beneficial than talking to a friend.

Is therapy over zoom less effective? ›

Is online therapy as effective as face-to-face therapy? Online therapy provides an equally effective option for mental health support as face-to-face therapy. People seeking therapeutic support for anxiety, depression, and other common mental health needs can use virtual or in-person therapy as a support.

What is the BetterHelp scandal? ›

FTC says online counseling service BetterHelp pushed people into handing over health information – and broke its privacy promises. In the hierarchy of confidential data, health information ranks right up there.

What are the cons of online counseling? ›

6 Cons of Online Therapy
  • Difficulty Connecting With Your Therapist. ...
  • Costs and Insurance Coverage Vary. ...
  • It May Take a Few Sessions to Find the Right Therapist. ...
  • Technical Issues or Data Privacy Concerns. ...
  • A Lack of Live Customer Service Support. ...
  • Online Therapy Isn't the Right Fit for Everyone.
Feb 24, 2023

Who is not appropriate for telehealth? ›

(2) Assess whether the client is appropriate for telehealth, including, but not limited to, consideration of the client's psychosocial situation. Telehealth services may not be suitable for clients who are severely mentally ill or for those who pose a danger to self or others.

What therapy works best for adolescent mental health? ›

Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) helps improve a child's moods, anxiety, and behavior by examining confused or distorted patterns of thinking. CBT therapists teach children that thoughts cause feelings and moods which can influence behavior. During CBT, a child learns to identify harmful thought patterns.

What are the most common mental health issues in high schoolers? ›

The most common mental illnesses in adolescents are anxiety, mood, attention, and behavior disorders. Suicide is the second leading cause of death in young people aged 15–24 years.

What is the most successful form of therapy? ›

Cognitive behavioral therapy is considered the gold standard in psychotherapy. Numerous clinical trials have found CBT to be effective for a spectrum of emotional health challenges, from anxiety and depression to addiction and schizophrenia.

What to do when you can no longer cope with your child? ›

Do not feel you have to cope alone. If you're struggling with your child's behaviour: talk to your health visitor – they will be happy to support you and suggest some new strategies to try. visit the Family Lives website for parenting advice and support, or phone their free parents' helpline on 0808 800 2222.

What are some signs your child might need counseling? ›

Here are a few of the most common regressions that signal that your child may need counseling:
  • Bedwetting (when already night trained)
  • Frequent temper tantrums.
  • Separation anxiety and clinginess.
  • Excessive anxiety and fearfulness.
  • Language regression (using “baby talk”)
Aug 10, 2020

What to do if a child is unhappy at home? ›

Talk with your child about sadness and depression.

Kids might not know why they are so sad and why things seem so hard. Let them know you see that they're going through a hard time and that you're there to help. Listen, comfort, offer your support, and show love.

Is Talkspace good for ADHD? ›

Talkspace therapists have exceptional knowledge about the various types of therapy for ADHD that will help you or a loved one manage. Learn why so many people are turning to Talkspace for help in how to deal with ADHD. With Talkspace online therapy , you can learn to not just live with ADHD, but to thrive with it.

Can Talkspace prescribe ADHD? ›

Talkspace does not provide controlled substances to treat ADHD.

What can Talkspace diagnose? ›

Our short online mental health screening tests will help you determine if you should seek help from a licensed mental health professional to address mental health issues.
  • Anxiety. Start test.
  • Depression. Start test.
  • Bipolar Disorder. Start test.
  • OCD. Start test.
  • PTSD. ...
  • Social Anxiety. ...
  • Panic Disorder. ...
  • Borderline Personality Disorder.

Can you use Talkspace anonymously? ›

Talkspace not only promises confidentiality. It also promises anonymity. You can be a Talkspace customer without your therapist having any access to personally identifying information.

What is the best therapy style for ADHD? ›

Cognitive-behavioral therapy is generally considered the gold standard for ADHD psychotherapy. While “regular” CBT can be helpful for ADHD, there are also specific types of CBT for ADHD.
Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for ADHD
  • Psychoeducation and organizing/planning.
  • Coping with distractibility.
  • Adaptive thinking.
May 31, 2022

Can Talkspace prescribe Adderall? ›

Talkspace notes that it does not prescribe controlled substances. These may include anti-anxiety medications called benzodiazepines, such as alprazolam (Xanax), or stimulants for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, such as amphetamine/dextroamphetamine (Adderall).

Can you get Adderall on Talkspace? ›

While Talkspace Psychiatry offers useful services, it's worth noting that the psychiatry professionals are unable to prescribe controlled substances, including: Adderall.

What is best telehealth for ADHD? ›

Best Online ADHD Therapy
  • Best Subscription Service: Talkspace.
  • Best Medication Management: Talkiatry.
  • Best Availability: BetterHelp.
  • Best for Kids: Little Otter.
  • Best With Insurance: Amwell.
  • Best for Families: Thriveworks.
  • Best for ADHD Assessment: ADHD Online.
  • Best Self-Guided Resource: HealthyGamer.
Mar 14, 2023

Can an online therapist prescribe Adderall? ›

Most online doctors are unable to prescribe Adderall. Adderall is classified as a controlled substance by the Food and Drug Administration, and not all online doctors can prescribe controlled substances. For this reason, it is generally recommended to meet with a doctor in person to get an Adderall prescription.

What is the best prescription alternative to Adderall? ›

SHORT-ACTING STIMULANT ALTERNATIVES — Currently available short-acting stimulants that may be used as alternatives to Adderall include dexmethylphenidate (Focalin, and generics), methylphenidate (Ritalin, Methylin, and generics), and dextroamphetamine (Zenzedi, ProCentra, and generics); their onset of action occurs ...

What are the 5 signs of mental illness? ›

5 Warning Signs of Mental Illness
  • Changes in personality. ...
  • Changes in emotion. ...
  • Isolation. ...
  • Sudden absence of self-care. ...
  • Sense of hopelessness or feeling overwhelmed. ...
  • Warning Signs of Suicide.
Dec 17, 2020

Can I secretly record my therapy sessions? ›

Response: From a legal perspective, the law requires “two-party consent.” This simply means that all parties to the potential recording must consent for the recording to take place. A therapist does not have a legal or ethical obligation to allow a client to record sessions.


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