The best online therapy for teens doesn’t necessarily coincide with top-rated sites across the board. While there can be plenty of overlap, younger patients tend to have more specific needs. They have added stressors from peer groups, school, and family dynamics that require therapists well-versed in addressing their challenges.
The Best Online Therapy Sites for Teens
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Why We Like These Online Therapy Providers
The therapist and counseling staff is background-checked, which is essential when treating underage patients.
Different Types of Therapy
Online therapy for teens covers a broad range of conditions. You’ll have some professionals specializing in focused listening for stress and anxiety, while others use CBT, group sessions, family counseling, etc.
Online therapy for teens caters to different preferences for sessions. One program could stick to weekly phone or video chats, while others provide messaging access and private chat rooms.
Parent and Guardian Involvement
While sessions are safe spaces for the clients, online therapy for teens sometimes extends to family inclusion. Alternatively, parents and guardians can book separate virtual sessions or request tools and guidance to help them participate in the treatment plan.
Types of Available Online Therapy for Teens
The best type of online therapy for teens is determined by the specific issues being addressed. A significant benefit of going virtual for counseling or telepsychology is that the best websites have an extensive and varied staff, covering a broad range of specialties.
Some of the top concerns for adolescents between 13 and 18 include the following:
- Social issues
- Eating disorders
- Anxiety disorders
- Behavioral problems
- Lack of coping skills
- School concerns (in-person or distance learning)
- Physical abuse
- Substance abuse
- Low self-esteem
- Lack of a support system
- Family dynamics
Treatment Plans for Teens in Therapy
With issues and concerns covering the spectrum, you can imagine that the best online therapy for teens is not a “one size fits all.”
You’ll find that the top-rated providers promote adolescent counseling as a whole. But, during the registration process, they will ask the right questions to determine the best fit. Once the most significant issue is identified, the best therapeutic approach follows suit.
- Individual online therapy
- Family online therapy
- Online group therapy
- Teen chat rooms
- Focused listening
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy
- Substance abuse counseling
- Coping skills
- Calming techniques
- Goal setting
- Social anxiety treatment
- Question-based sessions
As many teen-based online therapy programs are bundled to address a comprehensive treatment plan, they’re customized based on the combination of needs and preferences.
Some programs may be as simple as weekly sessions through video chats or phone calls. But some younger clients benefit more from having a go-to for daily issues. In that case, the therapist will recommend a messaging system or a private chat room hosted on the website, which is ideal for the age group.
How Can Online Therapy Help Teens?
The teenage years are some of the most stressful we experience. It’s a time of constant change with social expectations, school challenges, hormonal changes, demands from family and friends, and trying to figure out what’s next after getting your diploma in hand.
When you couple a “normal teen life” situation with other stressors and challenges that could include disabilities, bullying, depression, loneliness, peer pressure, grief, or abuse, it’s overwhelming.
What Online Therapy for Teens Can Accomplish
Online therapy for teens is beneficial for various forms of depression, anxiety, and other mental health-related conditions. But it’s also useful in different ways.
- Goal setting
- Coping skills
- Family interaction
- Anger management
- General support through listening techniques
Sometimes all teenagers need is an unbiased person to bounce ideas or problems around with, or just to know that someone is listening without judgment.
Adolescent Accommodations and Referrals
Let’s face it; teletherapy is a successful method for teens as they’re glued to their smartphones and tend to prefer messaging to speaking most of the time. They’re not only more apt to give it a try but to keep it going, as long as they end up with a counselor or therapist who is a good fit.
The best online therapists for teenagers will also recognize when the situation is too severe to benefit from counseling alone. They’ll recommend psychiatry, group sessions, substance abuse treatment, or in-patient programs when the case is warranted.
Does Online Therapy Work for Teenagers?
According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, 80% of children and teens with diagnosable anxiety and 60% of children and teens with diagnosable depression go untreated.
– Full Article at ADAA.org
A primary reason is that parents or guardians aren’t recognizing the need, can’t afford therapy sessions, or aren’t willing to deal with the mental health concerns. Then, you’ve got teens who aren’t willing to go to in-person appointments or even admit that they could use some support.
Teletherapy Advantages for Teens
Online therapy isn’t going to reduce those 80% and 60% figures to zero, but it can address some concerns.
- More affordable than in-person therapy
- Easily accessible
- Untraditional – therapy could be solely messaged-based
Because of the virtual structure that’s less rigid than traditional therapy, teens are more willing to participate. The cost is lower, so it eases the burden on the family. Plus, without having to travel to an office every week, school schedules are uninterrupted, and transportation isn’t an issue.
As far as the therapeutic benefits, online therapy for teens is just as effective as in-office therapy, and, depending on the patient, it can be even more successful.
It’s easier and preferable to communicate remotely for many teenagers. They’re more apt to send a text message and ask a quick question or request some guidance with a problem than to open up to a therapist sitting in an office, at least at first.
Benefits of Online Therapy for Younger Patients
- Individual or family sessions
- Offered in a virtual or messaging format more comfortable for teens
- Group sessions available
- It covers the gamut from mild stress to severe anxiety
- May be covered under family health insurance
- It goes beyond mental health issues and extends to decision-making and coping skills
- Some providers have teen chat rooms and counseling forums
- A variety of options for treatment including various combinations of phone or video chat sessions, chat rooms, groups, text messaging, and self-guided materials
- Online or mobile therapy provides a safe space, encouraging teens to be more open and forthcoming about their issues
Tips for Parents Regarding Online Therapy for Teens
It can be challenging to determine whether your child is experiencing “normal” moodiness or experiencing something more serious.
There are a few signals that merit your attention, including:
- Failing grades at school
- Different friend groups
- Changes in eating habits
- Extreme anger or mood swings
- Symptoms of depression
- Drug or alcohol use
If there are any significant changes or concerns, it’s always helpful to get a professional’s advice.
Online therapy for teens doesn’t require a long-term commitment. Plus, unlike traditional in-office counseling, you can get a same-day appointment for a simple evaluation.