Teen Counseling Review

Find an online therapist with experience treating teenagers.

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3.1

Teen Counseling

Teen Counseling

Teen Counseling

Bottom Line

If you’re a teenager in need of talk therapy (and you have your parents’ permission), you might benefit from Teen Counseling’s services.

Pros
  • Convenient monthly subscription

  • All therapists are licensed

  • Offers therapy to teens as young as 13

  • Offers therapy to parents looking for parenting advice

  • Multiple communication options with therapist are available

  • Live chat, phone, or video sessions included in subscription

  • Parent and teen get separate messaging rooms with therapist

Cons
  • No medication management services

  • No psychiatrists on staff

  • Prices on website are geotagged

  • Price ranges depend on therapist qualifications and location

  • You can’t pick your therapist

  • FAQs unclear about how many live sessions are included in subscription

  • No free trial available

  • May not work for more serious mental health issues

  • No free consultations

  • Does not take insurance

3.1

Teen Counseling

Teen Counseling

Teen Counseling

Launched in January of 2018, Teen Counseling is one of the many online therapy companies owned by BetterHelp. It aims to provide therapy for teens and their parents by matching them with therapists specializing in teen mental health and parenting issues. Clients can then conveniently communicate with their therapist via online message, phone call, or live video session. 

To fairly and thoroughly review Teen Counseling against its competitors, we surveyed 100 current users from 33 different online therapy platforms to gain insight into their experiences. We also sent a questionnaire directly to each company to get more detailed information about their offerings. These surveys and questionnaires allowed us to directly compare offerings, quality of service, and client satisfaction across companies. We used the feedback from the client questionnaire to evaluate user satisfaction and perception of quality. 

Teen Counseling did not respond to our questionnaire despite multiple attempts to contact them, but their parent company BetterHelp did. This hindered our ability to gain as much insight into Teen Counseling’s specific services and goals the way we were with some of its competitors, even if it is likely that some policies are standard across all BetterHelp-owned companies. We had to rely exclusively on user survey data and our research to assess the company.

First Impressions and Sign-up Process 

When you go to Teen Counseling’s website, it’s hard not to spot the similarities between the site and several other BetterHelp-owned companies, such as Pride Counseling, Faithful Counseling, and ReGain. Like its sister sites, it has a top menu that links to its FAQs (though it is worth noting that Teen Counseling has two FAQs, one for parents and one for teens), reviews, contact information, login, and a “Get Started” button. Below that, you’ll find an elevator pitch for the company and two buttons to begin the intake process.

Teen Counselling

Teen Counselling

If you scroll down the page, you’ll find more detailed information about the therapists who work for the company, how services work, and testimonials. Unfortunately, prices are not prominently displayed on the homepage; for that, you have to go to the FAQ pages, and the figures you’ll see are geotagged (more on that below).

Otherwise, the website is pretty bare-bones. There is no blog, informative articles, videos, worksheets, or additional resources for therapy seekers like on the many other websites we reviewed. There are also no therapist bios posted on the website. The only insight into who the therapists are is on the customer review page, but only a tiny sample of the 9,000-plus licensed therapists on Teen Counseling's staff is featured there. 

Seventy-four percent of users surveyed reported that they either had a very good or excellent experience signing up for Pride Counseling company.

There are two sign-up buttons on the website and two FAQ pages, one for teens and one for parents since the company offers different sign-up options. You can either sign-up as a parent on behalf of your child, as a parent alone (to focus on your parenting issues in session without your child), or if you’re a teen, you can begin the sign-up process yourself (though your parent or guardian will need to approve your subscription before therapy can begin, as this is required by law). 

While we can appreciate the intention behind having two FAQ pages, the net result is somewhat confusing. On the Parent FAQ page, it is somewhat unclear how the parent invite process works if the parent fills out the intake for their child—and on the teen FAQ page, it is unclear when parental consent is acquired if the teen begins the intake process. And while the teen FAQ page makes it clear that therapy sessions and the chat room are confidential, the parent FAQ page doesn't do as good a job explaining to the parents how much involvement and information they can expect to receive. As a result, users may be left with unanswered questions before signing up for this company’s services—which could be leaving some potential users wary of signing up at all.  

If you sign up, the process is a little different depending on what you’re looking for. If you’re a teen and click the orange button on the homepage, it will take you to a brief questionnaire about how you’ve been feeling recently, then invite you to create an account. If you’re a parent, you’ll click the green prompt on the homepage, then decide if you’re seeking therapy for yourself (for parenting issues) or for your child. Regardless of which option you chose, you'll answer a series of questions about your child and how you perceive their mental health.

Once you create your account, you’ll be asked some questions about your therapist preferences and matched with someone who fits your needs by the company’s algorithm. Unfortunately, you cannot pick your therapist as you can at other companies.

It’s only once you’ve been matched with your therapist that you’ll be given the price for your subscription—which is frustrating. You might go through a bunch of intake steps to end up with a price you cannot afford. However, there is the option to apply for financial aid (more on that below).

Once your payment has been processed, the website states that you should hear from your therapist within a few hours to a few days (which is a large window of time). According to the users we surveyed, 25 percent heard from their therapist the same day, 34 percent within a couple of days, and 25 percent within the same week, but 15 percent said it took up to two weeks or more.

Cost 

Teen Counseling—like all BetterHelp owned companies—only offers one monthly subscription for their services.

Only 57 percent of the users we polled said the price of this subscription was very good or excellent—which is one of the lowest price satisfaction ratings of all the companies we reviewed. 

As far as we can tell, this dissatisfaction is likely due to several reasons: First, the price you pay varies depending on what therapist you’re matched with, but since you don't pick your therapist yourself, Teen Counseling is essentially deciding for you how much you should pay—without asking you what you can afford. And you do not have the opportunity to request a lower price at this stage.

Second, the company isn’t upfront with its prices. The only way you’ll have any idea of cost is by checking the FAQ page, and even there, you’ll only see a range. But even the prices you see will vary based on where you log onto the website because this price range is geotagged—a fact we only discovered because some of our team members live in different regions.

For example, with a New York IP address, you would see a price range of $60 to $90 per week. But if you live in Seattle, you would see a price range of $80 to $100 per week. This means that you could be paying up to $400 a month—$160 more than someone in New York could be paying. 

Since BetterHelp did not respond to us on behalf of its subsidiary, we have no insight into why Teen Counseling’s price range differs so much across different states, nor why the site isn’t transparent about what makes one location more expensive than another.

What Does the Subscription Plan Include?

Every Teen Counseling subscription includes:

  • Two dedicated 24/7 “rooms”—one for the parent and one for the teen—to message the therapist at any time. These rooms are separate and confidential; information will not be shared from room to room without consent or in an emergency.
  • Weekly 30-minute live sessions held over the phone or a video call. 

It’s worth noting that the FAQs were not clear about how many live sessions are included in a subscription. You only get this information once you get to the payment page, which is disappointing. 

Is There a Free Trial?

A free trial is not available.

Does Teen Counseling Accept Insurance?

Teen Counseling does not accept insurance, but it will provide a superbill if you want to try to seek partial reimbursement for out-of-network mental health care from your health insurance company. 

Can You Cancel Your Subscription at Any Time?

You can cancel at any time through your private portal. However, you will not be reimbursed for any unused time remaining on your subscription month. 

Are There Discounts Available?

Verywell Mind readers get 10 percent off their first month of membership. 

You can also apply for financial assistance if you cannot afford the monthly cost of your subscription. To do so, you will need to disclose a good amount of personal information about your monthly income, as well as your spouse’s, if applicable. 

There is no information on the Teen Counseling website about who is eligible for aid and how much assistance you can expect. Since BetterHelp didn’t answer our questionnaire, we do not have any additional information about this type of assistance.

Ease of Use

As mentioned, once you’re signed up, you will have access to your own private “room,” where you will be able to message your therapist and book live sessions. Both you and your teen will have separate portals. 

Seventy-five percent of our survey respondents found this portal to be very good or excellent in terms of user-friendliness. As for communicating with therapists, only 78 percent found the online chat messaging to be very good or excellent, though 80 percent said the speed they heard back from their therapist was either very good or excellent.

Eighty-six percent said their live phone sessions were very good or excellent; 92 percent said the same about live video sessions.

If you do not like the therapist you were matched with, you can switch via your portal settings, though once again, you don’t get to choose your therapist yourself. Instead, you’ll have to answer a brief questionnaire about what you’re looking for in a therapist, and a new one will be assigned to you in 24 to 48 hours. Only 65 percent of our survey respondents said the switching process was easy or very easy.

You can change counselors through your client portal. Complete a brief questionnaire saying why you would like a new therapist, and one will be assigned to you in 24-48 hours. Again, you do not choose your therapist; the site decides for you. Only 65 percent of users we surveyed found the process easy or very easy—and only 7 percent of respondents said they stayed with the first therapist they were assigned. Instead, 33 percent saw two therapists, 33 percent saw three, and 26 percent saw four or more. 

Therapists' Qualifications and Quality of Care

Seventy-nine percent of our survey respondents said that therapists' qualifications were a big reason why they choose Teen Counseling for their online therapy—and 80 percent said they weren’t disappointed because their therapist’s qualifications were very good or excellent. 

All therapists who work for Teen Counseling are actually employed by the parent company BetterHelp, which means they abide by BetterHelp’s guidelines. However, unlike the rest of BetterHelp’s therapists, the 9,000-plus who work for Teen Counseling specialize in treating teens and parents. 

All therapists have their master's degrees, though some also have their PhDs, and they are all licensed in their respective states. The website does not specify how many hours of field experience the therapists have, though, and BetterHelp did not answer on behalf of its subsidiary. 

Ninety-five percent of survey respondents said they were either satisfied or very satisfied with the therapist options available.

Types of Therapy Offered

As noted above, all therapists at Teen Counseling specialize in treating teens or parents. Issues typically addressed in therapy include:

  • Stress
  • Anxiety
  • Low self-esteem
  • Relationship issues
  • Parenting
  • Depression
  • Sleep issues
  • Trauma 
  • Anger
  • Bullying
  • LGBTQIA+ identity topics
  • Grief

However, the website does not provide additional information about what psychological treatments are utilized in therapy. This is likely because each therapist will have their own techniques, but since BetterHelp didn’t answer the questionnaire, we cannot say for sure. 

Teen Counseling only offers individual sessions—so even if you sign up with your teen, you will not have joint sessions. The company does not provide family counseling.

The company also does not offer medication management, which is disappointing given that many competitors, including Talkspace, ReThink My Therapy, Teledoc, and Amwell, do.

Privacy Policies

Teen Counseling is HIPAA compliant. According to Teen Counseling’s Privacy Policy, the company takes a number of steps to protect your privacy. While the policy doesn’t go into great detail, the company says it applies industry standards and best practices to prevent unauthorized access, use, or disclosure of your private data. 

The website does collect cookies and web beacons when you visit the website, but you can change your browser setting to stop accepting them. 

If your therapist suspects you are a threat to yourself or others, they are required by law to report this information to the relevant authorities, including law enforcement. They will also comply with any court, regulatory entity, law enforcement, or subpoena. 

Overall Client Satisfaction

Seventy percent of the users we surveyed said the services they received through Teen Counseling were either very good or excellent, and 64 percent said its value was very good or excellent for the money spent. Both were lower than average compared to the other 33 companies we reviewed. 

Eighty-four percent of users reported that they were either likely or very likely to recommend someone like them to Teen Counseling. 

That said, users seem to stick with the company for a while because only 10 percent of users were new. Instead, 24 percent had been using it for three to six months, 25 percent for six to 12 months, and 26 percent had been with it for one to two years. Fourteen percent had been using it for more than two years. 

It is worth noting that Teen Counseling’s social media presence isn’t the strongest for a company aimed at teenagers. It doesn’t have an Instagram account, a Twitter account, or a LinkedIn page. It has a Facebook page, but it only has 2,617 likes (as of September 2021), and there hasn’t been a new post since October 23, 2018. 

Seventy-eight percent of polled users who had used other online therapy services said that Teen Counseling was better or much better than their previous online service. 

Is Teen Counseling Right For You?

Teen Counseling serves a particular niche in the online therapy world: teenagers and their parents. So if you’re the parent of a teenager and need someone to talk to or get parenting advice, this might be the company for you. Likewise, if you’re a teenager who needs talk therapy because you’re being bullied, have social anxiety, or experience mild anxiety, depression, difficulty sleeping, or high stress—and you have your parent’s consent—this company might also work for you. 

However, since therapy sessions are only 30 minutes and don’t offer medication management, this isn’t the company we’d recommend for teens with more serious mental health conditions, including panic disorders, severe depression, ADHD, bipolar disorder, or PTSD. 

Teen Counseling is also not designed to be an emergency service. Teens who are struggling with suicidal thoughts, in crisis, or need inpatient care are not suitable for this service. Teenagers with psychotic disorders or a history of psychosis are also not a good fit. 

Teen Counseling vs. Talkspace

There are a few different options for companies that offer teen counseling, but one of the most notable is Talkspace because it is one of the better-known companies in the online therapy world.

Both Talkspace and Teen Counseling employ thousands of licensed therapists, are easy-to-use monthly subscription platforms, and offer several convenient ways to communicate with your therapist. Both use algorithms to help you find a therapist, but where Teen Counseling chooses for you outright, Talkspace makes recommendations, and you get the final choice of who you want your therapist to be. 

However, Talkspace is a one-stop destination for all your online therapy needs: It offers individual talk therapy for teens and adults, provides couples counseling, and offers psychiatric appointments and medication management. As a subsidiary of BetterHelp, Teen Counseling is focused on only one thing: individual therapy for teenagers and their parents. 

Price-wise, the two companies are comparable, but Talkspace offers several therapy plans to choose from, compared to Teen Counseling’s one plan:

  • Talkspace offers multiple subscription plans that range in price from $240-$400 per month. You can also add psychiatric appointments and medication management for additional monthly costs.
  • Teen Counseling’s one plan ranges in price from $240 to $400 depending on where you live and the therapist you’re matched with—but you have less control over how much you pay since the company makes the final calculation for you.

Talkspace has a much more informative website, which features several additional resources. It also does a better job at explaining how it protects your private data than Teen Counseling does. 

When it came to our surveyed users, the results were mixed: Nearly the same number of users—69 percent at Talkspace and 70 percent at Teen Counseling—said services were very good or excellent. 

Talkspace did a little better elsewhere though: Ninety-four percent of users were likely or very likely to refer someone to the company, (compared to 84 percent at Teen Counseling) and 90 percent of respondents said they were likely or very likely to still be seeing a therapist at the company in a year (compared to 83 percent). 

However, slightly more Teen Counseling users who had tried other services said they were better or much better than the services they’d used before: 78 percent compared to 76 percent at Talkspace. 

Final Verdict

At the end of the day, Teen Counseling does one thing well: provide talk therapy to teens and their parents who need advice. So if that’s what you’re looking for, you’ll likely benefit from its services. But Teen Counseling isn’t the most affordable online therapy company, and it doesn’t offer medication management. We believe that most adult users would be better served by either Teen Counseling’s parent company BetterHelp or one of its competitors, such as Talkspace, Cerebral, Wellnite, or Ayana Therapy

Methodology

Our methodology for evaluating online therapy companies is comprehensive and data-driven. To review the best online therapy programs, we sent questionnaires to 33 companies and surveyed 100 current users of each. This allowed us to directly and fairly compare services offered by gathering qualitative and quantitative data about each company and users’ experiences.

Specifically, we evaluated each company on:

  • Website usability
  • Sign-up process 
  • Therapist qualifications 
  • Types of therapy offered
  • Quality of care
  • Client-therapist communication options
  • Session length
  • Subscription offerings 
  • Client privacy protections 
  • Cost and value for money
  • Whether they take insurance
  • Average out-of-pocket costs
  • Therapist assignment process
  • Ease of changing therapists
  • Overall user satisfaction
  • Likelihood clients would recommend them

Specs

  • Product Name Teen Counseling
  • Year Founded 2018
  • Insurance Accepted? No
  • Price $240 - $400 per month
  • HIPAA Compliant Yes
  • Platforms Video, audio, e-chat, messaging
  • Payment Options Major credit cards
  • App Available? (Y/N) Yes
Edited by
Simone Scully
simone-scully-verywell

Simone is the health associate editorial director for performance marketing at Verywell. She has over a decade of experience as a professional journalist covering mental health, chronic conditions, medicine, and science.

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