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.

Therapists are Standing By to Treat Your Depression, Anxiety or Other Mental Health Needs

Explore Your Options Today

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.

(Video) my experience with online therapy | BETTERHELP vs. TALKSPACE

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)

(Video) 5 Signs that You Need Therapy! | Kati Morton

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)

(Video) Online Teen Therapy: Everything You Need to Know

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)

(Video) 4 Things NOT to Say to Your Therapist

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).



Read In Order Of Posting

Previous Post By Family Therapy Near Me - How To Find A Family Therapist
Next Post By Catrina Cowart

(Video) How to get help without parents being involved


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 find the right therapist questions to ask? ›

Is This Therapist a Good Fit?
  1. What are your strengths and limitations as a counselor?
  2. What is your general philosophy and approach to helping? Are you more directive or more guiding?
  3. Have you been in therapy yourself? How recently?
  4. How often do you seek peer consultation?
Mar 3, 2016

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.

Is Talkspace any good? ›

The Bottom Line. Talkspace may be an excellent option for those seeking the convenience of unlimited messaging, scheduled live sessions, or a variety of the two. It may also be a good option for those who want to use their insurance benefits for online therapy.

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.

What is the first question a therapist asks? ›

During the first session, your therapist may ask you: What are your symptoms? What brought you to therapy? What do you feel is wrong in your life?

What is difference between CBT and DBT? ›

CBT seeks to give patients the ability to recognize when their thoughts might become troublesome, and gives them techniques to redirect those thoughts. DBT helps patients find ways to accept themselves, feel safe, and manage their emotions to help regulate potentially destructive or harmful behaviors.

Can I tell my therapist what I want to talk about? ›

It's easy to feel like you need to talk about “deep” or “serious” issues in therapy But remember, there's no “correct” topic to discuss in therapy. You can talk about whatever you want. True, some people come to therapy to address something specific, like anxiety or depression.

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 cognitive behavioral therapy for 15 year olds? ›

Therapists or psychologists use CBT for teens to help them become aware of irrational or negative thinking so they can see situations clearly, process them, and respond to them in healthy ways. CBT intervention for kids can be a powerful part of an integrated treatment plan for adolescent mental health disorders.

What is the typical cost of Talkspace? ›

Therapy on Talkspace starts at $276 – 436 monthly ($69 – $109 weekly), with online psychiatry costing $249 for an initial appointment and follow-ups costing $125. Talkspace accepts many major insurance plans, which could make your out-of-pocket expenses significantly less.

What is the difference between BetterHelp and Talkspace? ›

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.

Is it better to work for Talkspace or BetterHelp? ›

Based on my research, I believe you're much more likely to get good therapy on 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.

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 do therapists notice in first session? ›

Most of those I spoke to said they jot down information about symptoms, demographics, treatment history, and personal history during that first meeting so as to get a sense of both what potential issues they'll be tackling and who the patient is more generally.

Can I ask my therapist questions about herself? ›

As a client, you are allowed to ask your therapist just about anything. And, it is possible that the therapist will not or cannot answer the question for a variety of reasons. Some counselors believe strongly in being a "blank screen" or "mirror" in therapy.

What is the most important question in therapy? ›

As therapy deepens, the meaning of the “What do you want” question deepens. What do you want your life to be about? What do you want most, above all else? What is that you're willing to put effort toward, sacrifice for, or make yourself uncomfortable for?

Who should not use DBT? ›

DBT is not recommended for individuals with intellectual disabilities or uncontrolled schizophrenia. A therapist who is trained in DBT can help you determine if DBT is an appropriate treatment for you.

What is better for trauma CBT or DBT? ›

In trauma treatment, a therapist may use CBT for common psychiatric conditions, especially anxiety and depression. Other illnesses include eating disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). On the other hand, DBT is typically preferred for: Bipolar disorder.

Is DBT or CBT better for anxiety? ›

For depression, anxiety, OCD, phobias and PTSD, research has shown that CBT tends to be the more effective treatment. For borderline personality disorder, self-harm behaviors and chronic suicidal ideation, DBT tends to be the better choice.

What to tell and not tell your therapist? ›

If you're wondering what not to tell a therapist, read below.
  • Don't tell lies. ...
  • Don't share complaints about your previous therapist. ...
  • Don't say that you want to be friends. ...
  • Avoid telling half truths. ...
  • Don't tell them you just want a prescription. ...
  • Avoid telling your therapist to fix you.
Jul 7, 2022

Why does my therapist look at my hands? ›

Hands. Your client's hands can give you clues about how they're reacting to what comes up in the session. Trembling fingers can indicate anxiety or fear. Fists that clench or clutch the edges of clothing or furniture can suggest anger.

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.

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 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 age is CBT recommended for? ›

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a type of talk therapy that can help people of all ages, including younger children and teens. CBT focuses on how thoughts and emotions affect behavior. Your child doesn't need to have a diagnosed mental health condition to benefit from CBT.

What are the disadvantages of CBT in children? ›

CBT does have some limitations. Because it only focuses on the present and your child's reactions to events, it doesn't consider other factors that can affect her behaviour. For example, she might have genetic triggers for depression. If so, addressing her faulty thinking alone might not be enough.

What mental disorders are treated with cognitive behavioral therapy? ›

In addition to depression or anxiety disorders, CBT can also help people with:
  • bipolar disorder.
  • borderline personality disorder.
  • eating disorders – such as anorexia and bulimia.
  • obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • panic disorder.
  • phobias.
  • post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • psychosis.

How do I know what type of therapist is right for me? ›

When deciding on a therapist, there are many factors that go into finding the best fit, including specialty, personality, cost, and scheduling.
  • Personality Fit. ...
  • Licensing, Certifications, & Education. ...
  • Specialty. ...
  • Cost & Insurance Coverage. ...
  • Scheduling. ...
  • Online vs. ...
  • Specific Life Stages or Cultural Backgrounds.

How do I know which therapist is right for me? ›

Signs Your Therapist is Good For You
  • They actually listen to you. ...
  • You feel validated. ...
  • They want what's best for you. ...
  • They're a strong communicator. ...
  • They check in with you. ...
  • They take the time to educate themselves. ...
  • You view them as an ally. ...
  • They earn your trust.
Sep 30, 2020

What is the best way to pick a therapist? ›

Here are some tried-and-true methods for finding a therapist to help you reach your therapeutic goals.
  1. Consult your provider directory. ...
  2. Ask someone you trust. ...
  3. Use a reliable online database. ...
  4. Explore local resources. ...
  5. Reach out to organizations that address your area of concern. ...
  6. Think about your goals ahead of time.

Are virtual therapy sessions 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.

How do you tell a therapist they aren't right for you? ›

The best way tell a therapist it isn't working is to be open and honest. At the end of the session, when they ask if you want to schedule another appointment, say: “I really appreciate the time you've spent with me, but I don't think it's a good fit and am going to try to find a different therapist.”

What are the 5 types of therapy? ›

Approaches to psychotherapy fall into five broad categories:
  • Psychoanalysis and psychodynamic therapies. ...
  • Behavior therapy. ...
  • Cognitive therapy. ...
  • Humanistic therapy. ...
  • Integrative or holistic therapy.

Why does my therapist watch my hands? ›

Hands. Your client's hands can give you clues about how they're reacting to what comes up in the session. Trembling fingers can indicate anxiety or fear. Fists that clench or clutch the edges of clothing or furniture can suggest anger.

Is it better to see a psychiatrist or psychologist? ›

If the issue you're hoping to address is relationship-focused, say a problem at work or with a family member, you may find what you need from a psychologist. If you are experiencing debilitating mental health symptoms that are interfering with your daily life, a psychiatrist may be a good place to start.

What is the difference between a psychologist and a therapist? ›

Psychologists can do research, which is a very important contribution academically and clinically, to the profession. A therapist is a broader umbrella term for professionals who are trained—and often licensed—to provide a variety of treatments and rehabilitation for people.

Is it best to tell your therapist everything? ›

The short answer is that you can tell your therapist anything – and they hope that you do. It's a good idea to share as much as possible, because that's the only way they can help you.

Do therapists listen or give advice? ›

Many therapists give advice, but there isn't a single correct answer to the question of whether they should. Giving advice in the context of therapy — something that sounds benign — is actually a controversial and divisive issue.

How do I decide what to talk about in therapy? ›

  1. “Small” issues. It's easy to feel like you need to talk about “deep” or “serious” issues in therapy But remember, there's no “correct” topic to discuss in therapy. ...
  2. Patterns and behaviors. ...
  3. Present feelings. ...
  4. Rumination. ...
  5. Relationships. ...
  6. Past traumas. ...
  7. New life challenges. ...
  8. Avoided thoughts and conflicts.
May 24, 2021

What are the disadvantages of virtual therapy? ›

One of the downsides to virtual therapy is a perceived reduction of connection between client and therapist. Since they are not in the same room together, some clients may have a harder time receiving empathy from their provider like they would if they were sitting across from one another at the practice.

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.


1. #LetsTalkAboutIt: What is Therapy Like for Teens?
(Psych Hub)
2. Online Play Therapy Techniques to Support Your Child & Teen Clients Virtually with Jackie Flynn
(Jackie Flynn)
3. Why Online Therapy Can Work Best For Teens and Young Adults
(Hope For The Journey)
4. Case study clinical example CBT: First session with a client with symptoms of depression (CBT model)
(Judith Johnson)
5. HONEST REVIEW ON BETTER HELP THERAPY | is online therapy worth it?
(Viannca with a V)
6. 10 Signs Your Mental Health is Getting Worse
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Francesca Jacobs Ret

Last Updated: 02/11/2023

Views: 6412

Rating: 4.8 / 5 (48 voted)

Reviews: 87% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Francesca Jacobs Ret

Birthday: 1996-12-09

Address: Apt. 141 1406 Mitch Summit, New Teganshire, UT 82655-0699

Phone: +2296092334654

Job: Technology Architect

Hobby: Snowboarding, Scouting, Foreign language learning, Dowsing, Baton twirling, Sculpting, Cabaret

Introduction: My name is Francesca Jacobs Ret, I am a innocent, super, beautiful, charming, lucky, gentle, clever person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.