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The 5 Best Online Therapy Services For Teens: Talk, Text, & More

Brittany Loggins
Author:
Updated on December 20, 2022
Brittany Loggins
mbg Contributing Writer
By Brittany Loggins
mbg Contributing Writer
Brittany Loggins is a freelance writer covering health, wellness, and all things lifestyle.
Last updated on December 20, 2022
Our editors have independently chosen the products listed on this page. If you purchase something mentioned in this article, we may earn a small commission.

The prevalence of stress and anxiety is on the rise in the United States, but it's seeing the most rapid increase in young adults1

With social media, bullying, and all the typical physical and emotional changes teenagers go through, it's not surprising that approximately 14% of adolescents between the ages of 10 and 19 experience mental health conditions2. What is shocking is that one in three adolescents are not receiving the mental health treatment they need, according to Mental Health America.

On the bright side, with modern times also come a few modern solutions. Online therapy services are making mental health more approachable for today's teenagers, who are already very accustomed to virtual platforms.

Unfortunately, finding the right therapist for your teen isn't always a quick and speedy process. Afterall, this is an important decision, with a lot of factors involved, and it can be difficult to know where to begin.

To help you navigate the evolving landscape of teenage mental health, we spoke with Sanam Hafeez, NYC-based neuropsychologist and the director of Comprehend the Mind. Below, learn how to find the right therapist for your adolescent, plus, find our picks for the best online therapy services for teens.

A peek at the best online therapy services for teens:

Best for speciality care
TalkspaceGo to review
Best for young teens or kids
AmwellGo to review
Best for psychiatry
Doctor on DemandGo to review
Best for community
7 CupsGo to review

What is online therapy for teens?

Much like traditional therapy, online therapy services provide users with access to board-certified psychiatrists, psychologists, psychiatric nurse practitioners (NPs), or licensed clinical social workers who specialize in counseling. While some of them are available for medication management, nearly all of them offer traditional talk therapy-based services that are conducted in a similar manner to sessions in a traditional therapist's office. The only difference being that these sessions are conducted on the phone, through video chats, or through text messages.

A review3 of virtual therapy compared with more traditional styles of therapeutic care found no difference in patient satisfaction or session effectiveness. Since teens tend to spend more time communicating with their friends through virtual channels, virtual therapy for the teenage age group is especially relevant. One study4 even found that it could be a helpful method of preventing mental health problems in the future.  


How to bring up therapy to your teen.

Of course, you'll want to find someone who has extensive experience working with adolescents—but you should also consider your child's preferences, concerns, and feelings toward therapy.

Hafeez agrees, emphasizing that it's super important to make sure your child is comfortable with the general idea of therapy. "It is essential not to bring up a therapist in the middle of an argument," she explains. "This will not be productive, and your child will view going to therapy as a punishment."

Instead, approach the topic gently, by explaining to your child why you believe they would benefit from therapy, while also letting them know that you're there to support them if there is anything they want to talk about. Make it clear that this is something you're suggesting to help them, not to punish them or make them more upset.

It's best to bring up therapy when both you and your child are in a good state of mind. Dr. Hafeez explains that being empathetic opens the door to talking about therapy with your teen—during which time you can ease their mind by specifying that a therapist's job is to listen without judgment. 

How do I know if therapy is working for my teen?

The best way to make sure your teen is finding the help they need from their therapist is to maintain an open line of communication. "Ask your child how they feel after their sessions and avoid questions that only require a yes or no from your child," suggests Hafeez. 

Here are some questions she suggests that will help you understand how your child feels without prying into the intricacies of the sessions. 

  • What do you like best about the therapist? 
  • What do you like the least about your therapist?
  • Do you feel you need more sessions per month?
  • Does the therapist have a sense of humor and approachable manner, or do they seem intimidating?

How we picked:

Specialty

Since we were focused on services that provide therapy to teens, we looked at sites with therapists who specialize in specific age ranges. 

Communication Methods

Especially for teens, it's important to have a variety of communication methods like texting, calls and video chats.

Budget

We looked for options that were budget-friendly both with and without insurance.

Reviews & Ratings

We turned to the Better Business Bureau in addition to customer reviews to evaluate overall responses.

Our picks for the best online therapy services for teens of 2023:

Best for teens: Teen Counseling

Pros:

  • Different methods of communication
  • Pre-set costs and easy cancellation
  • Easy to switch therapists

Cons:

  • Don't accept insurance
  • Not suitable for emergency or crisis help
  • No medication prescriptions
Insurance accepted: No
Gender-confirming care: Yes
Types of communication: Video ChatTextPhone Call

The teen-focused arm of Betterhelp is geared toward helping those between the ages of 13 and 19. Like Betterhelp, it doesn't accept insurance and instead prides itself on providing affordable mental health care even for those without insurance. With more than 13,000 therapists to choose from, this is the easiest option for those looking for a specific certification or area of expertise in a medical practitioner. 

All of the therapists are licensed, and through an initial assessment the site will match you with pros who specialize in bullying, eating disorders, relationships, anger, and other concerns. It also provides separate private meeting rooms for parents and teens that allow the parents to check in while still giving the teen autonomy. They also provide 24/7 support and offer messaging options.

Cost: $60 to $90 per week

Best for speciality care: Talkspace

$100 off your First Month:
MBG100
view on Talkspace

Pros:

  • Plenty of plan variety
  • Audio, video, and text-based sessions available
  • Parents can submit pre-recorded video providing consent
  • All therapists have extensive experience treating teens

Cons:

  • Not upfront with pricing
Insurance accepted: Yes
Gender-confirming care: Yes
Types of communication: Video ChatTextPhone Call

Teens can choose between phone, video, or text-based communication with their therapist—and even a combination of all three with certain plans. Text-based plans even let teens describe the way they're feeling with emojis, which has proven to be an effective and creative way for kids to express their feelings. 

This service specializes in teens ages 13 through 17 and even offers a comprehensive guide on their site that offers up conversation starters for sessions. Talkspace does accept insurance and offers therapists in every single state, which can make the insurance billing process easier.

Cost: $65 per week

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Best for young teens or kids: Amwell

Pros:

  • Accepts many insurance plans
  • Specialists for younger teens and kids
  • Offers therapy and psychiatry

Cons:

  • Pay per visit only
  • Only live video chats offered
Insurance accepted: Yes
Gender-confirming care: Yes
Types of communication: Video Chat

It's harder to find online services for kids below 13 years old; however, Amwell offers providers for those as young as 10 years old. It offers both therapists and psychiatrists, which is great if your child needs medication management. 

The service also accepts a huge range of insurance plans, which you can input before selecting your therapist. This ensures any selected medical practitioners are within your network and prevents any complications with billing. Unlike other services, Amwell only offers live video chats, which can be a turn-off for some patients who want 24/7 connection.

Cost: $109 for therapist with a master's; $129 for therapist with a Ph.D.

Best for psychiatry: Doctor on Demand

Pros:

  • Options for collaborative care
  • Can prescribe medication

Cons:

  • Only allow video visits
  • On the pricier side
Insurance accepted: Yes
Gender-confirming care: Yes
Types of communication: Video Chat

While the entry fee of $299 is a little steep, follow-up visits come in at $129—which is still cheaper than many traditional in-office appointments. Before officially signing up, you can do a free two-minute assessment, which helps you and your child better determine the ideal course of care (and whether the service is the right fit). The company also offers doctors with quite a few different specialties, including anxiety, depression, stress, and PTSD. Plus, the company makes it easy to share medical records, which can come in handy when it comes to evaluating different kinds of medications or treatment plans. 

Before matching your child with a medical practitioner, Doctor on Demand narrows its pool of therapists based on your location and needs. You'll then have full control to work with your teen to choose a therapist. If they're not feeling a connection—remember finding a therapist can be a complex process—it's easy for them to decline a follow-up and try someone new.

Cost: 45-minute initial assessments with a psychiatrist for medication management are $299

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Best for community: 7 Cups

Pros:

  • Chat rooms are monitored and safe
  • Resources like videos and worksheets are provided

Cons:

  • Chat rooms and listening sessions don't involve licensed pros
Insurance accepted: Yes
Gender-confirming care: Yes
Types of communication: Video ChatTextPhone Call

This service offers a range of options when it comes to teen support, including sessions with trained listeners, more traditional therapy sessions, and support rooms with other teens. The latter could act similar to group therapy, which is a type of therapy best suited for those who need interpersonal support or a sounding board to better understand themselves.

In fact, the most unique feature about this service is that they allow teens to talk with other teens. These chat rooms are monitored for safety, and the site also keeps track of the number of messages exchanged with other listeners so that it can provide little milestone messages. In addition to group support, 7 Cups offers mindfulness exercises, videos, worksheets, and even playlists that are intended to promote self-care.

Cost: Free

FAQ

Is online therapy good for teens?

Yes, online therapy is a great option for teenagers, whether they are facing a specific challenge, or you just want to offer a bit more support for the many changes and obstacles facing them today. It’s important to take the time to find a therapy platform and a therapist that you and your child both feel comfortable with.

What therapy works best for teenagers?

This depends greatly on what your teenager is going through, and what your intention is. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a popular and impactful method for children and adolescents, but there are many therapy styles to consider. Once you choose which platform to start with, it’s a good idea to speak with different therapists to learn more about their particular style and expertise.

Does Talkspace work with teens?

Yes, Talkspace is a great platform for teens. It offers phone, video, or text-based therapy, or a combination of all three. Plus, Talkspace does accept insurance. You can find extensive resources on the Talkspace website to help get you started.

Can a 12 year old use BetterHelp?

BetterHelp’s teenage therapy platform, Teen Counseling, is designed for children of ages 13 to 17. For more information on therapy services offered for children 12 and under, head to the BetterHelp website.

The takeaway.

Online therapy is a great way to help your child feel more comfortable as they seek to improve their mental health. These platforms make it easier to find therapists with the right specialties who will work within your budget. If you're new to the world of therapy and want to learn more, we've rounded up more information about all types of online therapy.