The 7 Best Online Therapy Programs for Kids in 2020

Protect your child's mental health

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Our Top Picks

Best Overall: TeenCounseling

"Therapy sessions can be conducted via messaging, live chats, phone calls, or video conferencing."

Best for a Free Consultation: Synergy eTherapy

"As a smaller company, they’re able to offer free consultations to make sure online therapy is right for your child or teen."

Best for Unlimited Messaging: Talkspace

"Talkspace therapists reply to messages five days per week, and teens can send messages as often as they like."

Best for a Free Assessment: Doctor On Demand

"Doctor On Demand offers some quick, free assessment tools that can help uncover symptoms of potential mental health problems."

Best for Younger Children: Amwell

"While most sites won’t treat children for therapy until age 13, Amwell sees kids as young as 10."

Best for Psychiatry: MDLIVE

"Complete a quick questionnaire before deciding who you'd like your child to see."

Best Free: 7 Cups

"Minors are able to chat in teen support groups, or they can speak with a trained listener, free of charge."

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: TeenCounseling

TeenCounseling

TeenCounseling 

4.1

TeenCounseling, which is part of the popular site BetterHelp, provides therapy for young people between the ages of 13 and 19.

Licensed mental health professionals teach coping skills, help teens feel happier, and assist them in reaching their goals.

TeenCounseling provides strategies that can improve their relationships or help them perform better in school. They teach teens coping skills to help them deal with a variety of issues, including anxiety, stress, self-esteem, depression, anger, bullying, and eating disorders.

Teens are also given a private “therapy room” where they can communicate with a counselor. And, parents do not have access to this room. 

Therapy sessions can be conducted via messaging, live chats, phone calls, and video conferencing. Services can be accessed by smartphone, tablet, or computer. Phone calls may also be conducted on a landline.

Therapy costs range from around $40 to $70 per week, depending on the plan. And, not to worry: The subscription can be canceled at any time for any reason.

TeenCounseling's services are not appropriate for teens who: have thoughts of hurting themselves or others, are in an urgent crisis situation, have been diagnosed with severe mental illness, have mandated therapy by a court or other authority, or do not have access to a reliable internet connection or digital device.

On top of therapeutic options, your child may benefit from an online support group. Here are our picks for the best online anxiety support groups.

Best for a Free Consultation: Synergy eTherapy

Synergy eTherapy

Synergy eTherapy

Synergy eTherapy is an online therapy site that isn’t yet available in all states (your child or teen one must be matched with a therapist who is licensed in the state where you reside.) As a smaller company, they are able to provide each potential client with a free consultation. They treat adults, teens, and couples.

During the consultation, your child can familiarize themselves with Synergy's video platform to ensure the technology is going to work for them. They can also have an opportunity to ask any questions about online therapy and learn how it might be helpful to them (whether they are a good candidate for online treatment).  

Synergy eTherapy allows for phone calls and video chats. Here’s the breakdown of their prices: a 30-minute phone call or video chat costs around $85, a 50-minute phone call or video chat is priced at about $125, and a 75-minute phone call or video chat is approximately $190.

You don’t need to purchase a subscription plan for your little one or teen. Instead, you can buy one session at a time. And, depending on which type of insurance you have, the service could be covered.

While the licensed treatment providers at Synergy eTherapy can assist with a variety of mental health issues and teenage-related problems. They report the most common adolescent issues they treat are anxiety, depression, parental conflicts, self-esteem, and feeling overwhelmed in the age of social media.

Best for Unlimited Messaging: Talkspace

Talkspace

Talkspace

4.5

Talkspace is one of the biggest and most well-known online therapy sites. They began providing treatment for adolescents in September of 2018. Teens over the age of 13 are eligible for services.

They have over 3,000 licensed therapists available, and each one has undergone a background check. Talkspace often specialize in specific areas such as trauma or depression, and each therapist who works with an adolescent is licensed and equipped to do so.

Talkspace offers three different subscription plans. With Unlimited Messaging Therapy Plus, teens can contact their therapist through text, audio, or video for around $65 per week. Plus, a therapist will reply five days per week. For about $79 per week, teens will get unlimited messaging capabilities included in the Unlimited Messaging Therapy Premium. And, you'll get one live session per month.

Then, there's LiveTalk Therapy Unlimited: For $99 per week, teens will get four live sessions a month and can contact their therapist on all of the aforementioned platforms. There is also a one-week free trial period.

Teens may enjoy Talkspace because of the ability to send messages to their therapist at any time of day or night. The service is similar to text messaging, which most teens enjoy. But, it’s conducted in a “private room” where teens and their therapist can communicate with a secure connection.

Therapists typically reply a couple of times each day. Each time a teen sends a message, they’ll receive information about when they can expect to hear back from their therapist. Talkspace offers a “guaranteed response time,” so teens will know when to expect guidance and support from their therapist.

Best for a Free Assessment: Doctor On Demand

Doctor On Demand

Doctor On Demand

3.3

Doctor On Demand is a comprehensive telemedicine service that treats both physical and mental health conditions. They offer both psychologists and psychiatrists for minors. So, if you’re interested in talk therapy or medication for your child, both can be accessed on their site. 

If you’re concerned your child may be struggling with an emotional issue, Doctor On Demand offers free assessments that can be helpful. In less than two minutes, your teen may learn about whether they have signs that could indicate mental health issues, like anxiety or depression.

While their licensed mental health specialists are qualified to treat a number of mental health issues, they often address problems like anxiety, depression, stress, trauma and loss, and addictions. Through live video chat sessions, Doctor on Demand 's psychologists can conduct online therapy services, and psychiatrists are able to prescribe medication.

The fee for a live video appointment depends on the type of service you request. A 25-minute video chat costs about $129, while a 50-minute video chat is priced at around $179. For medication management with a psychiatrist, an initial 45-minute assessment is approximately $299 and for about $129, you can get a follow-up visit.

If you aren’t sure whether your child should speak with a psychologist or psychiatrist, they suggest you schedule an appointment with a psychologist first. They note that in many cases, children’s mental health is best treated with a combination of talk therapy and medication, so they may suggest that your child see both mental health providers at some point.

Best for Younger Children: Amwell

Amwell

Amwell

Most websites that provide treatment to minors, begin treating children at age 13. Amwell, however, will work with children starting at age 10. 

Before your child can use the service, you must set an account and choose the service you'd like to access for them, such as therapy or psychiatry. The biography and photograph of each licensed mental health professional are available for review. 

Licensed mental health professionals can work with children on a variety of issues, ranging from anxiety to life transitions. Appointments are conducted via live video chats.

If you suspect your child may be experiencing a behavioral health issue, such as difficulty sleeping, trouble functioning in school, difficulty socializing, mood disturbances, or behavior problems, schedule an appointment.

The cost of each visit ranges from around $59 to $99, based on the experience and credentials of the mental health professional. You can enter your child's health insurance information on the Amwell site, and find out if the insurance company will cover services or reduce out-of-pocket costs.

Depending on your location, you may find that family therapy is available. Family therapy may be appropriate in a variety of circumstances, such as blended family issues, divorce, grief and loss, or lifestyle changes that affect everyone.

Therapy is a lifelong process. If you or your child are seeking counseling, the best online therapy services can help.

Best for Psychiatry: MDLIVE

MDLIVE

MDLIVE

3.1

MDLIVE provides a variety of physical and mental health services for adults and children that includes allowing children and teens to meet with a counselor or psychiatrist for a live video appointment.

After completing a quick questionnaire, you’re able to review the biographies and photographs of potential service providers, before deciding who you'd like your child to see.

MDLive can be helpful if you would like a consultation with a mental health professional for your child or you think your child would be willing to video chat with a therapist. It can also be appropriate if you suspect your child may need medication, or you would like a second opinion on the dosage your child is already taking.

The cost of an initial visit with a psychiatrist is around $259, while follow-up appointments cost about $99. If appropriate, a psychiatrist may be able to write a prescription for medication. If you're looking for an appointment with a therapist for your child, it will cost approximately $99 for a single session.

Unlike some other services where there's instant access to a mental health professional, your child may need to wait several days or more for a preferred appointment slot or therapist.

Best Free: 7 Cups

7 Cups

7 Cups

3.9

While 7 Cups offers therapy for adults, they don’t provide professional therapy for teens. But, they do offer the opportunity for teens to speak to trained listeners for free. 

Your teen can enter “teen support rooms,” where they can chat with one another about any issues they’re experiencing. They can also speak one-on-one with a trained listener, where they can talk about anything they wish with someone who knows how to respond in an emotionally supportive manner. While they don't offer advice, they will listen. 

It’s important to note that trained listeners are not licensed, mental health professionals. So, it shouldn’t be used as a substitute for mental health treatment. It may be appropriate for a teen who could use a little support or encouragement, but is not appropriate for a teen experiencing a mental illness.

7 Cups' teen chat rooms and community forums are available to anyone between the ages of 13 and 17. And, your teen doesn’t have to give their real name: They can choose to remain anonymous.

Does insurance cover services?

The aforementioned services are all covered by insurance, with the exception of 7 Cups. TeenCounseling provides billing information, so you can submit your bills to your insurance company. Synergy eTherapy is considered out-of-network, so it’s up to your provider and plan as to whether services will be covered. In general, it's always best to check with your insurance carrier about coverage.

Can parents be involved in treatment?

Most online therapists welcome parental input. Your involvement in therapy will depend on your child’s treatment goals and needs.

Can a minor sign up without parental consent?

Minors can sign up for Talkspace, but it depends on the state. For all of our other reviewed services, those under 18 years old can't sign up for them without a parent or guardian's consent. In general, a minor’s ability to sign up for services without parental consent varies by state, so it's always best to check with whichever service you're considering.

Is the information my child shares confidential?

Therapists must keep information confidential but there are exceptions to this rule. They are mandated to report child abuse and neglect, and they must intervene if they think a client is a danger to themselves or someone else.

Which type of therapy is available online?

Many types of therapy are available online. Talkspace provides the following tactics: cognitive behavioral therapy, existential-humanistic, dialectical behavioral therapy, psychodynamic, mindfulness, and more. Synergy eTherapy offers gestalt therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy, and dialectical behavioral therapy. 7 Cups is only a listening service. For all other reviewed services, you will need to contact them directly to find out which therapy offerings they have.

It's important to note that some forms of treatment are not able to be done online, such as EMDR or play therapy. Those types of therapy are interactive and need to take place in-person with a therapist.

Is online therapy right for all kids?

No. Not everyone is a good candidate for online therapy. Most websites outline who they believe are ideal for their services. Online therapy is not recommended for children or teens who are experiencing thoughts of suicide.

Seek Help Now

If you are having a personal crisis and need to talk to someone immediately, visit our national helpline database.

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