As someone who was trained as a creative arts therapist, and has been in therapy myself for many years, I fully understand the value of counseling. Particularly during those extremely difficult teen years.
I also know how challenging it can be to get a teen into therapy — not necessarily because they don’t want to go (though they may not), but because schedules and finances can be big obstacles.
Yet multiple studies and reports show stress and anxiety on the rise for teenagers. There are more and more parenting books addressing the issue too. So it’s clear that therapeutic support is something our teens could really benefit from.
That’s why I am so pleased to share our newest sponsor, TeenCounseling. It’s an online platform allowing teens from ages 13 to 20 to seek the help of a licensed therapist right through their computers, tablets, and yes, even their smartphones.
Don’t miss a special discounted TeenCounseling.com membership offer for our readers, below
Now, while I consider myself digitally savvy, I admit that the idea of online counseling did raise a few questions. But considering how often I’ve tapped into the power and convenience of medical apps when I need a physician, I was willing to explore this approach to mental health treatment for teens and try it out myself.
I also know that making the decision to seek the support of a therapist for your teen can be tough all on its own. So having a platform that helps make that first step easier for families can be extremely valuable in terms of success.
So based on my own experience, I’m sharing 5 things I discovered about TeenCounseling that surprised — and impressed — even this skeptic parent.
1. Finding a therapist is easy because you get matched.
If you’ve ever tried to find a counselor for yourself, you know how time-consuming the process can be. And with a teen, you may be up against time limits too — let’s just say the interest and your window of scheduling can close pretty quickly.
With TeenCounseling, I set up my account, then filled out a questionnaire; questions included what types of issues my teen was having, what qualities in a therapist were important to me, and what qualities weren’t.
Within 24 hours, I was matched with a therapist from TeenCounseling’s database of over 1000 therapists with whom I could message directly through the system. Right away. No waiting.
One note: I would love for the site to add non-binary and trans options to the questionnaire about your teen, especially since other aspects of it are already so LGBTQ-inclusive.
2. The therapists are real, licensed professionals with lots of experience.
I honestly wasn’t sure to what to expect in terms of experience and background, but the therapist we were matched with had many years of experience, both in-person and online. She was even a creative arts therapist, which I was particularly excited about given my own background.
While you do get a lengthy bio on the therapist you’re matched with, as well as access to valuable reviews from previous TeenCounseling users, I appreciate that I could also check the therapist’s professional license number.
Ours still maintains a private practice, while also providing services through TeenCounseling. And as someone who has worked in this setting for many years, both as a therapist and a client, I was extremely impressed with her professionalism, demeanor…basically everything about her.
Scroll down for details about a special TeenCounseling.com membership offer for our readers
3. All communication is done through their secure platform, including phone and video sessions.
Once you’ve matched with a therapist, you’re able to message with them to share more information and set up an appointment.
After messaging the therapist, I decided to speak with her over the phone — I think that’s important to get a feel for the person. However, instead of sharing your personal information, you are prompted within the TeenCounseling system to accept the call. Kind of the way ride-share services don’t reveal your number to the driver.
The same goes for your live chat (think real-time texting) and video calls.
Also good to know: while you and your teen share an account, your messaging is completely separate, for confidentiality reasons, of course. You invite your teen to the account, and then they create their own login and separate messaging space.
Knowing that they really do have a private, confidential space to talk is huge in terms of their own willingness to participate.
4. The convenience factor is huge.
There are so many aspects to this:
Flexible times: The ability for my teen to schedule appointments during free periods at school, or late at night, is a big deal. Because quite honestly, she has limited free time during the week, and on weekends, she wants to sleep late and hang out with her friends when she’s not working at her job.
Texting or talking on your terms: The live chat feature means she’s able to text back and forth with her therapist on her own schedule — even on the bus home from school — no actual talking required. As long as kids are spending their free time chatting on phones via text, it’s so smart to offer them the option to get therapy that way too.
Easy scheduling: I like that you’re able to contact a therapist when you need them, and schedule using their convenient calendar. The flexibility makes it more likely that your teen will stick with the program.
Overall, I really appreciate that TeenCounseling is attempting to meet their clients “where they are,” which in itself is an important therapeutic principle that helps guarantee better outcomes.
5. The cost may be way more affordable than a traditional therapist.
While some therapeutic services are covered by insurance, it can be difficult to find a good counselor who also happens to accept your health care plan. When you finally do find someone, they may not have appointment times that work for you. So basically, many families end up paying for therapy services out of pocket, and the cost can be a massive barrier keeping teens from counseling when they really need it — and as often as they need it.
With TeenCounseling, you pay a monthly membership fee starting at $260. This includes a minimum of 4 live chat, phone chat, or video chat sessions that range from 30-50 minutes each. Messages are unlimited.
Depending on where you live, and the type of services you’re receiving, this is probably a significant savings from a private therapist, especially if your teen goes to weekly sessions.
Bottom line about TeenCounseling:
I am really passionate about therapy for teens in need, provided they find the right counselor for them. This service really delivers. The convenience alone makes it extremely viable, and the affordability factor for many families can make all the difference between getting help…and not.
So if you’ve got a tween or teen in your life who you think might benefit from therapy, after giving it a shot myself, I think this approach is worth trying.
Special offer for Cool Mom Picks readers: Save 10% off a TeenCounseling membership through this link.
Our thanks to our sponsor TeenCounseling.com for doing so much to make therapy more accessible and affordable for teens and their families.