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  • Writer's pictureMike Chang

Virtual Therapy for Teen Anxiety & Depression

Updated: Jan 16


Virtual Therapy for Teen Anxiety & Depression

Virtual Therapy for Teen Anxiety & Depression. You can help right away.


Being a teenager can come with plenty of struggles, and juggling an education, a flourishing social life, at-home responsibilities, and potentially even a job can definitely cause distress. Therapy can be helpful, but it can be tough to find time to make an appointment. Online therapy or counseling through text messages or virtual counseling can provide a different outlet to release a teen’s stress.

Online therapy for teens can cover depression, anxiety, relationship troubles, bipolar disorder, and eating disorders, among others. There are options for family and many other kinds of therapy online as well.

Those interested in mental health treatment may prefer online therapy because it’s easy to access, can take place almost anywhere, and is sometimes more affordable than in-person therapy.


How To Find an Online Teen Therapist

Start by reaching out to the teen’s primary care provider. They may have access to information about local teen therapists and clinics that offer telehealth services online or over the phone.


Therapists are Standing By to Treat Your Depression, Anxiety or Other Mental Health Needs

It’s believed that 14% of adolescents have a mental health condition of some kind, so adolescent mental health requires attention from mental health professionals specializing in this age group. Licensed mental health professionals in this field should have credentials to provide mental health support to teens.


Consider What Type of Online Therapy Services You’re Looking For

Deciding on the kind of therapy is the first thing anyone needs to do when looking into online therapy services. Online services range from talk therapy to family therapy and offer specific care and management based on the person’s individual needs.

What works for one person won’t necessarily work for another. Online therapy platforms have licensed therapists specializing in areas such as self-harm or learning coping strategies. They create a unique treatment plan for each person, so they get the mental health care they need based on their specific conditions and environment.


Talk Therapy

Also known as psychotherapy, talk therapy helps individuals deal with stressful situations, symptoms that have no physical explanation, and mental health conditions that affect them or a loved one. It helps them identify and change harmful or troubling behaviors, emotions, and thought processes.

Psychotherapy usually takes place in a one-on-one environment or in group therapy sessions. Talk therapy for teens may work on its own or be used in tandem with medications that help manage a specific condition, such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). A patient’s specific treatment plan comes together after talking with the therapist and discussing the possible management options for the conditions they present with.(4)

Some common online therapy options include Lighthouse Counseling, Teen Counseling, BetterHelp, Cerebral, Talkspace, and Amwell.


Family Therapy

Family therapy is another kind of talk therapy for teens and their parents, guardians, siblings, and other relatives. It can treat specific mental health conditions, behavioral health conditions, and substance use disorders. Family therapy teaches some family members how to cope or deal with another family member’s diagnosis or condition so they can understand it better. It also encourages the person living with the condition to take specific steps toward coping and adjusting.

During family therapy, most people work with licensed marriage and family therapists (LMFTs). Different kinds of family therapy are available and vary based on treatment goals.


Group Therapy

During group therapy, the psychologist leads the group (usually up to 15 patients) in a discussion about a topic. Some people participate in group therapy only, while others go to individual and group.

Group therapy can show individuals that they’re not alone in dealing with their challenges. The group offers emotional support, as well as education on coping skills and strategies, to help overcome challenges in life.


Medication Management

Sometimes, psychologists or psychiatrists choose to prescribe medications for better mental health. Depending on the teen’s condition, medication management services may provide additional support outside of in-person visits or online counseling sessions.

Psychiatric medication management is one part of the two-pronged approach, including traditional therapy sessions and medications. Psychiatric services focus on testing medications, seeing if they improve or negatively impact the patient’s goals, and adjusting them accordingly. Ultimately, it’s possible to handle psychiatric care with medications in some cases, but not in others.

Medications may offer support for conditions such as:


Mental Health Services and Treatment for Teenagers

Mental health services and any assessments, diagnoses, treatments, or types of counseling are available via telehealth. Usually, these services take place in private or public clinics, as well as in inpatient or outpatient settings.

The psychotherapy services offered by online therapists is similar to what individuals would receive during in-office visits. Online therapy options provide better access to mental health services in some parts of the county and for those with no direct way to get to appointments in person.

However, online support isn’t always the right choice, depending on a person’s situation. Teens with suicidal ideation or severe mental health conditions may need traditional in-person therapy or support through local emergency services.


Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a psychological treatment for conditions such as substance use disorders, anxiety disorders, depression, and eating disorders. CBT works on several core principles, including the idea that psychological problems are a result of (or due in part to) unhelpful thought processes and behavior patterns. Those practicing CBT believe patients can learn how to cope with psychological problems to relieve their symptoms and live more effective lives.

This treatment involves making an effort to change thinking patterns, such as by recognizing distorted thoughts and reevaluating them against reality. It requires building problem-solving skills to cope with frustrating or difficult scenarios.


Find Out What Each Provider Charges for a Teen Therapy Session

It’s important to note that not all therapy sessions cost the same amount. Costs reflect the following:

  • The specialty

  • Session length

  • The provider’s level of education, credentials, or experience

Parents and guardians may want to ask the receptionist at the clinic or office about the costs and whether they accept insurance. If the patient pays out of pocket, then parents may also want to ask about income-based payments or payment plans. Lighthouse counseling accepts most insurance and we could find out if the insurance covers Behavioral Health.


Check To See If Your Insurance Will Help Cover Online Therapy Costs

Does insurance cover online therapy? That’s a question for the plan’s administrators and customer service line. Usually, private insurance carriers do cover telehealth, although there are exceptions to the rule.

To check to see if an insurance carrier will help cover online therapy costs, the policyholder should reach out to their insurance provider for more details and a list of in-network providers. They should ask if the policy has mental health benefits, and if so, how many sessions the insurance policy allows.


Book Your Teen Online Therapy Session

To book a teen therapy session, start by looking into the insurance coverage the teen or their parents have. They may also need to see their primary care provider to get a referral. Otherwise, they can select from in or out-of-network mental health professionals to start therapy.

Mental health providers often accept insurance, but when calling, parents or guardians should ask about the types of insurance accepted and get verification of their plan’s deductible and the price of each session. They should also tell the receptionist the reason for the appointment and request online therapy if that’s what they’re seeking.


Common Questions About Teen Counseling


When Is It Time To Get Virtual Teen Therapy?

A teen’s mental health problems might occur for several reasons, including:

  • Medical conditions, such as mental or physical health conditions

  • Violence, such as domestic violence

  • Loss, such as the loss of a relationship or loved one

  • Stress, such as trouble with interpersonal relationships or grades at school

Teens benefit from therapy as a safe place to discuss their feelings and emotions. Most types of therapy don’t have a set duration. On average, therapy lasts for 3 months when attending once weekly.


Most people benefit from therapy during difficult times in their lives. People, including teens, may want to see therapists when they have symptoms of mental illnesses, have experienced a traumatic event, or are dealing with significant stress. Those with troubling or disruptive behaviors may also benefit from speaking with a mental health care provider.


Keep in mind that anyone can attend therapy at any time. Having a concern is one reason to go, but some people enjoy going to therapy to have someone to talk to and open up to. It can be helpful for teens to talk with the therapist about specific goals during the first session, so they can keep the sessions on track.


Can Online Therapy Help With Teen Depression?

Talk therapy works for many different mental health concerns, including those related to substance use, traumatic experiences, mental health diagnoses, and emotional distress.

Teen therapy specifically helps with a number of conditions, including those that cause emotional distress. Emotional distress, which can present as a hallmark of depression, includes feelings such as numbness or hopelessness. It can also look like unusual anger, sadness, or frustration.


Those who suspect they or a loved one have depression or another mental illness should consider attending therapy in person or online. A licensed therapist has the training needed to start teens and others on the path to recovery. Health insurance plans may cover care on some online therapy platform options, so it’s a good idea to check with the insurance and healthcare provider to make sure both work with one another.


Once a teen is with a covered provider (or sessions get paid for out of pocket) they can begin therapy. In therapy they can focus on discussing major life transitions, mental health concerns, depression, anxiety, neurodivergent conditions, and many other topics that may help them feel like themselves again. If necessary, the healthcare provider may suggest medications or other therapies, which may or may not require referrals to other specialists.


Can Online Counseling Help With Teen Anxiety?

Online counseling has the potential to help a teen with anxiety. The answer to the question, “can a minor sign up alone” depends on the state and their age. For example, in Kentucky, minors can consent to therapy once they’re 16. At that age, they don’t need parental consent.


Emancipated minors also have a right to commit to mental health therapies without the consent of a parent or guardian. For most other scenarios, such as with younger patients, parents do need to consent to mental health therapy.


For those who agree to attend therapy, the mental health provider starts with patient intake forms and discusses the symptoms the patient or their parents see. Someone with a severe mental health condition may have to go to inpatient or in-person meetings first, but some may graduate to telehealth or online therapy sessions later. A hybrid approach is common.


Many online therapy platforms handle common mental health conditions, such as depression, anxiety, eating disorders, substance use disorders, and others. Anyone seeking help with teen anxiety should speak with the online therapist about their specialties and make sure they feel confident about treating the specific condition the patient wants to address. (Mentalhelp.net), (Catrina Cowart 2023)



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