Review of Online Therapy for Teens: Pros, Cons and Costs

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Teen Counseling is a telemental health platform designed to connect teens and their parents with therapists.

Teens today face challenges many of their parents never imagined, from the ubiquitous nature of social media and instant cellphone communication to a global pandemic.

According to a 2021 balance sheet study, anxiety in children and adolescents increased from 11.6% to 20.5% and depression increased from 12.9% to 25.2% during the COVID-19 pandemic. Still, many teens couldn’t meet the therapists in person, and those from low-income households couldn’t afford the services available.

Telemental health platforms and services existed before the pandemic, but they have become more common and accessible due to the pandemic.

A 2017 pre-pandemic report found that telemental health care can be an effective way to treat a wide variety of mental illnesses. These platforms often provide access to care at lower cost and reach remote locations where few in-person options may be available.

Teen Counseling is an online platform that connects teens with trained and licensed therapists. It also offers parents the opportunity to consult professionals about their teenager’s mental health.

Before we dive into our in-depth review, here’s a look at some of the pros and cons of Teen Counseling.

Advantages

  • It’s cheaper than some in-person mental health services.
  • You benefit from 24/7 open communication with a therapist.
  • You have access to licensed mental health professionals.
  • You can access the platform from anywhere with an internet connection.
  • Users can send a message, phone call, live chat or video conference with their therapist.
  • The selection process helps teens find a good therapist.
  • Users can change therapists at any time.
  • Parents can meet with therapists to discuss their teen.

The inconvenients

  • Prices vary depending on the qualifications of the therapist.
  • Users cannot choose therapists, only be matched with them (although switching is possible).
  • Users can be matched with therapists from another city who may not be familiar with local services.
  • The effectiveness of Teen Counseling can depend heavily on the responsiveness of the therapist.
  • Teen Counseling does not offer a free trial.
  • The service does not offer refunds after monthly billing.
  • The service does not include prescriptions or medication management.

Teen Counseling, a sister site to BetterHelp, is a telemental health platform designed to connect teens with therapists. The platform does not employ therapists. Rather, they facilitate access and connect with licensed therapists.

Teens or parents can register, each inviting the other as part of the registration process. A brief screening process at registration matches teens with a mental health professional. The therapist, teen, and/or parent schedule an appointment via the most convenient method of communication.

Teen Counseling is designed to help teens solve and cope with issues such as:

These types of services work well for users who have reliable access to a mobile phone, laptop or other connected device and to the Internet fast enough to avoid disconnections during sessions.

It is important to keep in mind that Teen Counseling is not designed for those who are in immediate danger or in crisis. It is also not approved for those who have received a court order or order from another authority that requires the necessary counseling.

Counselors are equipped to deal with a wide range of mental health issues and illnesses, from anxiety and stress to eating disorders and relationship issues.

You can schedule appointments for video conferences, live chats or phone calls or leave messages which your therapist can answer at their convenience.

Your digital “waiting room”

Each account includes two dedicated digital “rooms” – one for the teen and therapist only and one for the parent and therapist only. These rooms are where users send messages and initiate chats, calls, and video conferences.

Messaging and live chats

You can leave messages in the room for the therapist 24/7. The therapist can then respond at their convenience. You can also schedule a live chat, enter the room and chat in real time with your therapist.

Phone calls and videoconferences

Phone calls require an appointment. You log into your account at the agreed time. The therapist then prompts you to enter the landline or mobile number you are using and the platform makes an online call.

For a videoconference, you log into your account and the therapist prompts you to start the video session. These sessions require a Chrome or Firefox web browser if you are using a laptop or computer. When using an iPhone, iPad, or Android phone, you must use the TeenCounseling app.

All therapists available through Teen Counseling must be:

  • accredited psychologist (PhD/PsyD)
  • licensed marriage and family therapist (LMFT)
  • Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW/LMSW)
  • licensed professional therapist

All of these qualifications require a master’s or doctoral degree. Therapists are required to have passed the certifications and qualifications of the state in which they practice. They must also have at least 1,000 hours of practical experience and have practiced for at least 3 years.

A parent or teenager can open an account by answering the screening questions. You are matched with a real person to further discuss your needs before making a final match with a therapist.

Parents then send an invitation to their teen or a teen invites their parent to get their consent.

You work with a single therapist for all treatment sessions. However, you can change therapists at any time.

A growing body of evidence supports the use of telemental health platforms and services.

A systematic review 2017 of 25 articles found that using telemental health platforms for psychotherapy and other mental health services improved patient satisfaction and reduced costs.

2021 studies conducted with people close to childbirth, studentsand young people and adolescents with Chronic diseases support the convenience and cost-effectiveness of telemental health services.

However, an online-only platform presents challenges. Users must have access to the technology, know how to use the technology, and access a private location for the sessions.

Additionally, some experts believe online therapy loses some of the nuances that make therapy more effective, such as reading a client’s body language.

The cost of a consultation for adolescents varies according to:

  • Your location
  • your chosen preferences
  • the availability of the therapist
  • the qualifications of the therapist

Fees generally range between $60 and $90 per week. Fees are billed in full at the beginning of the month, bringing monthly costs to $240 to $360 per month.

Users can cancel at any time. However, if you cancel in the middle of the month, previously debited funds are not refunded.

Does Teen Counseling offer discounts?

Teen Counseling does not offer free trials or discounts at the time of writing.

When it comes to customer reviews, Teen Counseling has mixed results.

Positive reviews

Many teens report success in connecting with a reactive therapist. And teens and parents say they’re getting much-needed therapy to develop their coping and relationship skills. Some also note that it is a cheaper option.

Additionally, parents are expressing relief at connecting their teens to mental health care much earlier than they could through in-person services. This is especially useful for those who live in areas where there are few in-person options.

Negative Reviews

A number of negative reviews report therapists not responding or therapists not showing up for scheduled appointments.

Also, while you can cancel services at any time, some users are reporting issues with this process. Negative reviews also indicate that it can be difficult to get a response from customer service.

Advice for teenagers privacy policy includes complying with HIPAA regulations and protecting sensitive information from outside sources.

The website tracks page views and collects web beacons and cookies. The platform also monitors appointments and when users access their accounts and rooms, as well as when therapists access rooms.

Participating mental health professionals are required by law to notify the appropriate authorities if they suspect that users may pose a threat or harm themselves or others. They also state that therapists will comply with judicial, law enforcement, and other legal authorities upon request.

Is TeenCounseling.com right for my teenager?

Teen Counseling is a good option for teens who are comfortable with digital communication and may need help with coping skills or have mental health issues.

The platform creates an easily accessible platform with discreet and private communication with a therapist.

Parents also benefit from the support of the same mental health professional, who helps them know how they can support their teenager.

However, Teen Counseling cannot provide crisis support. Also, it cannot be used to enforce a court order.

Does TeenCounseling.com accept insurance?

Teen Counseling does not accept insurance or submit claims. However, you may be able to be reimbursed depending on your insurance plan.

How do Teen Counseling live chat sessions work?

Live chat sessions require an appointment. Once you’ve logged into your account online or through the Teen Counseling app at the appropriate time, you can enter your “room” and begin messaging in real time.

Teen Counseling is a telemental health platform that matches teens and their parents with a therapist. Costs are sometimes lower than in-person sessions, although this depends on the user’s insurance and the availability of therapists in their area.

It can be a convenient way to connect with a therapist and get mental health care that might not otherwise be available to you.

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