April 17, 2024

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Best online teen counseling in 2021

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Many companies offer online therapy sessions for young adults aged 13–19 years. These sessions may benefit those with a mental health condition, such as anxiety or depression. Sometimes, a person may also book an online appointment with a psychiatrist, who can prescribe certain medications.

This article explores the types of teen counseling, how to know if a teen needs therapy, and how to encourage them to seek help. It also covers factors parents or caregivers could consider when looking for an online therapist and reviews some companies offering therapy sessions.

There are different types of teen therapy available, including:

  • Talk therapy: Includes one-to-one sessions with a qualified therapist, who may ask questions to learn more about a person’s feelings and difficulties. They could also help devise coping strategies.
  • Family therapy: These sessions require the individual to attend therapy with family. These may help if there are challenges affecting relationships between family members.
  • Group therapy: These sessions focus on specific topics and allow the person to learn more from their peers by sharing experiences and how they handled specific scenarios. There is often a qualified mental healthcare professional leading group therapy sessions.
  • Psychiatric care: Individuals with specific mental health conditions may benefit from speaking with a psychiatrist, who may also prescribe medications.

Learn more about different types of therapy.

Counselors and therapists may use different techniques to help teens deal with challenges better. Some techniques include:

  • Building rapport: A therapist will try to build a personal connection with an individual, and a first session allows for introductions and discussions on hobbies, likes, dislikes, and more. A therapist should always strive to ensure that a young adult does not feel judged during their sessions.
  • Questioning: Therapy sessions aim to create a safe space, allowing a person to feel as comfortable as possible. A therapist may ask questions to develop a strong understanding of the teen’s beliefs and perspectives.
  • Positivity: Many people experience negative thoughts and internally criticize themselves. Attending counseling sessions to improve low self-esteem or build confidence can help with these thoughts. A therapist may try to teach young adults to acknowledge and identify their negative thoughts, let them go, and change them to positive thoughts.

The National Institute of Mental Health highlights some signs that may help parents or caregivers identify that a child may need mental health care, including:

  • mood swings
  • behavioral changes
  • low energy or lack of motivation at school
  • physical changes, such as showering less and decreased energy
  • engaging in risky activities, such as smoking cigarettes or drinking alcohol
  • spending increasing amounts of time alone
  • claiming people are trying to control their mind
  • hearing things other people cannot hear
  • loss of interest in things they would usually enjoy

The Child Mind Institute states that some individuals may not admit that they have an issue. They may also believe no one can help them. This can also be a symptom of their condition, as depression can affect how they think and prevent them from thinking positively.

As a result, the institute suggests that parents or caregivers ask teens what they are looking for and what they wish to achieve from mental health treatment. They can also ask them what they want to improve, as the therapist can then determine how they can help achieve their goal.

Mentalhealth.gov offers other ways to approach the subject of mental health with a teen, including:

  • discussing the topic when they feel comfortable and safe in their environment. This could be at home or outdoors, with a trusted adult.
  • straightforward communication
  • asking if they would like to talk with someone else about their difficulties
  • letting them know that it is ok to speak with an adult and that this can help in some situations
  • asking them what is happening for them and how they are feeling
  • expressing concern for their well-being and asking them directly if they are planning to harm themselves or others

There are various factors a parent or caregiver can consider when looking for an online therapist for a teen. These include the below.

  • Specialization: Refers to the area the therapist focuses on, such as family, stress, or addiction.
  • Pricing: A person may consider checking costs and the pricing plans that a counseling service offers. Costs may vary by specialization, insurance plan, and session type.
  • Reviews: Checking the company, provider, or therapist’s reviews may help individuals learn about the experiences of others.
  • Treatments: The American Psychological Association states that a person should ask a therapist what kinds of treatments they offer whether they are effective for dealing with specific needs.

Here, we look at some of the best companies that offer teen counseling.

Please note that the writer of this article has not used these services. All information presented is purely research-based.

All pricing is correct at the time this article was published.

7 Cups

7 Cups offers free support rooms for individuals aged 13–17 years, allowing them to chat with a trained listener.

Trained listeners are not qualified therapists, and these chat sessions should not substitute professional mental health care. However, teens may find them beneficial if they are looking for someone to talk to or need a little emotional support.

7 Cups’s free chat rooms do not suit those with severe mental health conditions or those experiencing suicidal thoughts, but listeners can refer them to appropriate crisis resources.

In addition, this platform offers ongoing support for teens from licensed therapists at around $150 per month.

7 Cups also has accreditation with the Better Business Bureau, which gives them a B rating. The service also has a score of 1.6 stars out of 5 from 10 reviews posted on the review platform. Positive comments mention great emotional support, while less favorable ones mention payment issues and lack of contact from customer services.

Trustpilot awards 7 Cups with a rating of 4.6 stars out of 5 based on 155 reviews. Positive comments stated that 7 Cups is a great place for receiving and providing support, while negative reviews mention a lack of security and privacy from internet trolls.

Teen Counseling

Teen Counseling is a platform that forms part of BetterHelp. It works with licensed professionals who help individuals deal with stress, anxiety, bullying, eating disorders, and other issues.

Teen Counseling allows teens to communicate with a counselor in a private therapy room. Their parents or caregivers do not have access to these rooms.

The service hosts sessions through messaging, phone calls, video conferencing, and live chat, which are available via smartphones, tablets, laptops, or desktop computers.

Therapy sessions cost around $60–80 per week, but prices depend on a person’s chosen plan.

Teen Counseling has a rating of 2.9 stars out of 5 with Trustpilot. However, this overall score only comes from two reviews, which reported issues with obtaining a refund or scheduling an appointment with a therapist.


In 2018, Talkspace began offering teen counseling.

The company works with over 3,000 licensed therapists available to contact via text, video, photo, and audio messages. These therapists specialize in specific mental health conditions.

Talkspace hosts sessions in a private room with a secure connection, and a person can reportedly chat with a licensed professional at any time. They can also switch therapists at no additional charge.

Talkspace offers three subscription plans, and the pricing depends on how many live sessions an individual requests.

The service has a rating of 1.4 stars out of 5 with Trustpilot from 39 reviews. Less favorable comments note insensitive customer services, high costs, and lack of therapist availability and response to messages.


MDLIVE provides physical and mental health services for adults, children, and teens, allowing them to engage in video appointments with counselors or psychiatrists.

Parents and caregivers may find this service helpful if they think a child may benefit from medication or if they need to discuss their current prescription.

MDLIVE’s pricing varies depending on the type of consultation and an individual’s insurance plan, but initial sessions with psychiatrists can cost up to around $285, with follow-up visits costing about $110.

Trustpilot gives MDLIVE 4.7 stars out of 5 based on over 11,000 reviews. Positive comments include great, secure, and fast service, while negative reviews mentioned doctors being dismissive, repeated appointment cancellations, and difficulty registering or logging in.

Below, we look at some of the most commonly asked questions around teen counseling.

Does insurance cover online therapy?

Some insurance providers cover online counseling costs just as they would with in-person appointments.

However, online therapists that do not accept insurance plans may offer a lower price, as online visits do not include office space costs.

Individuals can contact their insurance provider or employer to check their mental health benefits.

Can treatment involve parents or caregivers?

Many online therapy platforms require input from a parent or caregiver if the person is under 18 years of age. Therapists may discuss with parents and caregivers how the sessions will proceed and what to expect.

Can a minor sign up without parental consent?

Those under 18 years of age may require their parent or caregiver’s consent to book consultations with a therapist, but this can vary depending on their state of residence.

Is the session information shared or confidential?

Therapy sessions are confidential.

However, therapists may have to inform the police or other organizations if a person is harming themselves or other people. They may also notify authorities if there is an indication of abuse.

Under the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, which became legislation in 1996, for those aged under 18 years, confidential information has protection from third parties, but not from parents. This means that those under 18 years old receive much less confidentiality.

Is online therapy the best option for me?

Online therapy may benefit individuals who feel they cannot attend or are uncomfortable attending in-person appointments. It can also help those with limited access to mental healthcare in their area.

However, online therapy sessions are not suitable for those in crisis or who have suicidal thoughts. They are typically also not suitable for people experiencing a severe mental health condition that requires immediate attention.

Online teen counseling can help those requiring emotional support and mental health care.

Online therapy may prove more cost-effective than in-person visits, while some online services may accept health insurance coverage.

There are various techniques a therapist may use to help teenagers or young adults. With this in mind, parents and caregivers should consider different factors before committing to a particular therapy. These include therapy type, pricing, and a therapist’s specialization, among others.