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Many companies offer online therapy sessions for young adults ages 13–19 years. Some companies may offer a psychiatrist, who can prescribe certain medications for conditions such as anxiety and depression.

A quick look at the best online teen counseling options

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.

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 harmful behaviors, 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

A person typically signs up for online counseling via the service’s website. To sign up, they may input information about their personal details, requirements, and reasons for signing up for counseling.

The service will then match an individual to a counselor. Once it finds a match, people can schedule appointments with their counselor as and when necessary.

Many services have various communication platforms to choose from, such as messaging, phone calls, and video chats.

Billing generally occurs monthly or annually, depending on the service and the plan a person chooses.

Medical News Today chooses counseling options according to the following criteria:

  • Age suitability: Services that offer therapy to teens.
  • Communication method: Services that offer a range of communication methods, such as by phone, text, or video.
  • Specialization: Services that offer therapists that specialize in different areas of concern.
  • Cost: Services that fit a range of budgets.

Below is an exploration of some of the best companies that offer teen counseling.

Please note that the writer of this article has not tried these products. All information presented is purely research-based and correct at the time of publication.

Medical News Today follows a strict product selection and vetting process. Learn more here.

Best for ad-hoc support: 7 Cups

  • Who it is best for: teens looking for someone to talk with when necessary
  • Specialties: free counseling, live chat
  • Advantage: free counseling for teenagers
  • Disadvantage: listeners are not qualified therapists

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 with or need some emotional support.

7 Cups’s free chat rooms are not suitable for those with severe mental health conditions or those experiencing suicidal thoughts. However, 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 (BBB), which gives them a B rating. The service also has a score of 2.53 stars out of 5 from 19 reviews 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 from 358 reviews. Positive comments stated that this service is a great place for receiving and providing support, while negative reviews mention a lack of security and privacy from internet trolls.

Best for support with stress and bullying: Teen Counseling

  • Who it is best for: teens with stress, anxiety, bullying issues, eating disorders, and other mental health issues
  • Specialties: private therapy rooms, counseling on various platforms
  • Advantage: a person can message their therapist anytime
  • Disadvantage: does not accept insurance as payment

Teen Counseling is a platform that forms part of BetterHelp. It works with licensed professionals who help individuals deal with stress, anxiety, bullying issues, eating disorders, and other concerns. The service is for teens ages 13–19.

Teen Counseling allows teens to communicate with a counselor in a private therapy room. 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 $60–90 per week. Prices depend on a person’s location, preferences, and the availability of Teen Counseling therapists.

Teen Counseling has a rating of 3.9 stars out of 5 with Trustpilot. This overall score comes from 26 reviews. Positive comments mention great service and positive outcomes, while negative reviews mention communication issues and long wait times when assigning therapists to people.

Best for live sessions: Talkspace

  • Who it is best for: teens who prefer live online therapy sessions
  • Specialties: over 3,000 licensed therapists, various communication platforms
  • Advantage: includes unlimited messaging feature
  • Disadvantage: live counseling sessions capped at 30 minutes

In 2018, Talkspace began offering teen counseling for ages 13–17.

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 anytime. 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, their location, and therapist availability. Below is a table with the Talkspace plans available and approximate pricing:

  • Messaging therapy: Includes text, video, and audio messaging. Prices start from $69 per week.
  • Live therapy: Includes four 45-minute live sessions a month. Prices start from $99 per week.
  • Live + messaging therapy: This is the most expensive plan and includes text, video, and audio messaging, plus four 45-minute live sessions per month. Prices start from $129 per week.

The service has a rating of 1.2 stars out of 5 with Trustpilot from 124 reviews. Less favorable comments note insensitive customer services, high costs, and a lack of therapist availability and response to messages.

Read our review of Talkspace here.

Best for teens who need medication: MDLIVE

  • Who it is best for: teens who may also need medication
  • Specialties: psychiatry, medication management
  • Advantage: accepts insurance
  • Disadvantage: psychiatrist availability may be limited compared with regular therapists

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. However, initial sessions with psychiatrists can cost up to around $285, with follow-up visits costing $108.

Trustpilot gives MDLIVE 4.1 stars out of 5 according to over 11,000 reviews. Positive comments include secure and fast service, while negative reviews mentioned doctors being dismissive, repeated appointment cancellations, and difficulty registering or logging in.

Best for all ages: Thriveworks

  • Who it is best for: people looking for free resources
  • Specialties: couple therapy and mental health care
  • Advantage: people have the option to choose phone or video chats
  • Disadvantage: sessions can be expensive for persons without insurance

Thriveworks is a company that offers in-person and online therapy sessions. It is suitable for individual therapy, child therapy, and couples.

On the website, people can also find free e-books and information about anxiety, depression, and self-care.

Those who prefer online therapy can opt for phone or video counseling, but the company also offers in-person sessions. All sessions take place within five days of booking an appointment and last around 50–60 minutes.

Thriveworks accepts insurance from several providers, such as Aetna, Cigna, and Humana. With insurance, the cost is $15–40 per session or around $99 per session without insurance.

Thriveworks does not hold accreditation with the BBB, nor does the organization give the company a grade. It has an average of 1.13 out of 5 stars rating from 31 reviews. Trustpilot gives the company an average rating of 2.3 out of 5 stars from 10 reviews.

Positive reviews on the platforms state that customer care representatives are helpful when resolving issues. Negative reviews report that the company may not accept insurance payments and may continue charging accounts after canceling subscriptions.

Best for talk therapy: Amwell

  • Who it is best for: children and teens who want talk therapy
  • Specialties: online therapy, psychiatry, pediatrics, and feminine health
  • Advantage: the company does not store or save sessions
  • Disadvantage: psychiatrists cannot treat anyone under 18 years of age

Amwell offers talk therapy to people ages 10 and above. The therapist on this platform can help people with concerns such as anxiety, depression, PTSD, and life transitions.

While Amwell does offer psychiatry, this is only available to people 18 years of age and above.

Each visit costs between $109–129. Amwell accepts insurance from several providers such as Aetna, Blue Cross Blue Shield, and Medica.

Amwell does not hold accreditation with the BBB, and the organization gives the company a D grade. Customers on this platform give Amwell an average rating of 1 out of 5 stars from three reviews. On Trustpilot, customers give the company an average of 2.3 out of 5 stars from over 2,000 reviews.

Positive reviews state that the therapy is effective and people connect with their therapists within 24 hours of scheduling an appointment. Negative reviewers report that people had difficulties accessing appointments and receiving refunds.

Best for night appointments: Synergy eTherapy

  • Who it is best for: teens who can only access therapy at night or over weekends
  • Specialties: teen, grief, e-yoga, and couples therapy
  • Advantage: offers a free initial consultation
  • Disadvantage: not available in all states

Synergy eTherapy offers teen counseling at all times of the week, including during the night and the weekend. This may benefit those who cannot take time away from school or work to attend therapy.

The company is only available to people who reside in California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Wisconsin.

Synergy eTherapy offers a free initial consultation. Any other consultations cost between $100–200. Some therapists may accept insurance from providers such as Optum and Aetna.

The company does not currently hold accreditation with the BBB, and the organization gives Synergy eTherapy an A+ grade. There are no customer reviews on this platform.

At the time of publishing, Synergy eTherapy does not have a Trustpilot page.

The table below compares each of the teen counseling services in this article.

PriceAge rangeFormatTherapistsInsurance
7 Cupsfree
from $150 per month
13–17live chat• trained volunteer listeners
• licensed therapists
no
Teen
Counseling
$60–90 per week13–19• online messaging
• phone calls
• video conferencing
• live chat
• psychologists
• marriage and family
• licensed therapists
• social workers
no
Talkspace$69–129 per week13–17• online text
• video
• photo
• audio messages
• licensed therapists
• psychiatrists
yes
MDLIVEfrom $108 per session10 and abovevideo appointments• licensed therapists
• psychiatrists
yes
Thriveworksfrom $15 per sessionany age• phone
• video
• in-person
• clinical social workers
• licensed psychologists
• licensed marriage therapists
• counselors
yes
Amwellfrom $109 per session10 and abovevideo appointments• psychologists
• social workers
• psychiatrists
yes
Synergy
eTherapy
from $100 per session13 and above• phone
• video
• clinical psychologists
• family therapists
• psychotherapists
yes

There are various factors a parent or caregiver can consider when looking for an online therapist for a teen, including:

  • Specialization: Refers to the area the therapist focuses on, such as family, stress, or addiction.
  • Pricing: A person should 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 and whether they are effective for dealing with specific needs.

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, whether at home, in another familiar indoor location, outdoors, or 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 okay to speak with an adult and that this can help in some situations
  • asking them what is happening with 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

Learn more about the warning signs of suicide.

Suicide prevention

If you know someone at immediate risk of self-harm, suicide, or hurting another person:

  • Ask the tough question: “Are you considering suicide?”
  • Listen to the person without judgment.
  • Call 911 or the local emergency number, or text TALK to 741741 to communicate with a trained crisis counselor.
  • Stay with the person until professional help arrives.
  • Try to remove any weapons, medications, or other potentially harmful objects.

If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, a prevention hotline can help. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24 hours per day at 800-273-8255. During a crisis, people who are hard of hearing can use their preferred relay service or dial 711 then 800-273-8255.

Click here for more links and local resources.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) recommends finding a therapist who listens to the individual’s feelings and helps them reach their goals at their own pace.

People in therapy should not feel as though the therapist is judging them. The aim of each session is to ensure a person is comfortable and feels as though they are progressing toward their goals.

It is also important that people feel able to give their therapist feedback. If a person finds assignments difficult or would prefer to approach concerns in other ways, they must feel able to talk with their therapist to adjust treatment if necessary.

People may find it easier to connect with a therapist if they share a similar background and ethnicity, and if the therapist specializes in a person’s particular concerns.

If a teen does not feel comfortable discussing their concerns with a therapist, it may be best to choose another healthcare professional they can connect with.

There are different types of teen therapy available, including:

  • Talk therapy: 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: Family therapy sessions require the individual to attend therapy with family. These may help if there are challenges affecting relationships between family members.
  • Group therapy: Group therapy sessions focus on specific topics and allow the person to learn more from their peers by sharing experiences and how they handled specific scenarios. A qualified mental health care professional often leads 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. 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.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, a person should seek help from a therapist if they experience:

  • sleep difficulties
  • changes in weight
  • changes in appetite
  • difficulty getting out of bed in the morning
  • concentration difficulties
  • lack of interest in usual activities
  • difficulty performing regular activities

If a person needs support with self-harm, they can also consider calling the self-injury hotline at 1-800-DONT CUT (1-800-366-8388).

Seeking help from a therapist is not always the most suitable choice. In an emergency or crisis, a person should call local emergency services or text TALK to 741741 to speak with a trained crisis counselor.

If someone is showing signs of suicidal ideation or behavior, a trusted adult should call emergency services.

Below are answers to the most common questions about 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 less expensive sessions, 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 others. 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 of age 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 health care in their area.

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

Is teen counseling expensive?

The cost of teen counseling varies between services. On average, the price can range from $60 to $200 per week. If a person has concerns about the cost, they should aim to find a company that accepts insurance as payment.

Do I need insurance for counseling?

A person does not need insurance to have online counseling, and many teen counseling services do not accept insurance as payment. Individuals should check whether their chosen service accepts insurance before signing up.

Are online therapists licensed?

Reputable companies do not allow unlicensed therapists on their platforms.

People can search for their therapist on databases such as the American Psychology Association’s psychologist locator.

Is online counseling the best option?

Online counseling may be a good option for teens who prefer attending online sessions or those who have a busy schedule. Online counseling can fit into a person’s work and school schedule easier than in-person therapy.

However, online counseling cannot help people who are currently in crisis. People should always contact emergency services if they, or someone they know, are at risk of harming themselves or others.

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

Online therapy may prove less expensive than in-person visits, while some online services may accept health insurance coverage.

A therapist may use various techniques 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, a therapist’s specialization, and others.