Teen Counseling is an online platform designed for teens aged 13-19 as a way for them to gain access to a licensed therapist online. Teens can access the company’s discrete and professional platform through a computer, tablet or smartphone and gain unprecedented access to a fully licensed therapist who can help provide them with the counseling they need. The company also has special services for parents and guardians who are looking to get their child the help they deserve.
The platform TeenCounseling.com was founded in 2013 with a simple mission—to help teenagers who need it the most. Teen Counseling is not meant to replace human-to-human interactions, but instead help make it easier for teens from all over the country to get access to this type of personal care. There are more than 1,000 licensed counselors available through TeenCounseling.com — all of who are independent experts who are looking for new ways to work directly with their clients.
The company’s goal is to help teenagers cope with various issues such as anxiety, stress, self-esteem, depression, bullying, eating disorders, relationships or anger. The goal is to help teens become more successful in their coping skill and to help them access resources that will provide them with guidance and support as needed.
Signing up with Teen Counseling is simple. The first thing that users will likely notice is that there is a different pathway for both parents and teens to take. The platform is straightforward, easy to use and simple to navigate. This is the basic structure of how the process works:
- You fill out a questionnaire and provide basic information regarding your situation.
- You are matched with a licensed therapist who specializes in teens.
- If you are a parent, you discuss your child’s issues and situations with a therapist first and then approve of the therapist. The therapist is then connected with your child.
- Your child uses an app provided by Teen Counseling.com to communicate with the therapist.
- The therapist is able to interact with your child over phone, text and video.
- The entire counseling session remains confidential, but the therapist will be able to alert parents if an intervention is required.
You begin with a questionnaire, where you dictate whether you are a parent, guardian or a teen that needs help. After asking several simple but informative questions, the site will automatically direct you to a page where you can sign up.
Once you include your basic contact information, the website will match you with a licensed, board-certified therapist who can help based on the information that you provided. The company has a secure, HIPAA-compliant system.
Then you are led to the secured payment page. After entering in payment details, your child will be matched with a therapist. If you are not happy, you can always request a new therapist. Once payment has been submitted, teens will be able to access their therapist through their phone app or the online platform.
TeenCounseling.com costs $80 per week, billed monthly as $320. However they do offer financial aid for those that qualify.
Usability (Desktop & Mobile):
Getting started with Teen Counseling is simple. The site will guide you through every question and all of the details of getting started — but that isn’t where the company’s usability features end.
You can easily access all of the communication platforms available through Teen Counseling by logging right online to their website and entering your credentials into their interface. Once logged in, you will be able to enter into your easy-to-navigate and simple, private counseling room. This counseling room is meant only for teens and their counselors. Parents will not have access to these rooms.
These rooms are structured in a similar manner to Google chat or Skype, and are meant to be a private, safe and secure place for teens to communicate with their counselors. The platform does a great job of making all of their different methods of communication, including the live chat, messaging, video call and phone call systems, extremely user-friendly, even for those who aren’t particularly tech-savvy.
Teen Counseling Usability
The room is open 24/7, so teens can always send messages if and when they want — even if their counselor isn’t available at that specific time. Teen Counseling also offers a free app for both iOS and Android.
Counselor Support & Effectiveness:
When teens sign up to use Teen Counseling, they will be assigned one single counselor to work with. This allows the teen to develop a closer relationship with their assigned professional.
As mentioned above, Teen Counseling is not meant to replace traditional person-to-person counseling, but is instead available to make it easier for teens to access this type of counseling. Teens are able to communicate one-on-one with licensed counselors through messaging chats, phone calls or video conferences, right from the smartphones or computers and in an environment that they feel comfortable in.
The counselors are all licensed and credentialed therapists — and while they can offer many of the same benefits that teens get during traditional face-to-face therapy, they do not offer all of the same services. Through the Teen Counseling app, counselors will not be able to make any official diagnosis, fulfill court orders or prescribe medications. It is important that teens and their parents understand these limitations before they begin.
Counseling through this platform is provided in four convenient ways, giving teens the opportunity to choose how they would like to engage in their counseling sessions. These include:
- Exchanging messages with a counselor through the messaging platform — similar to email.
- Chatting live with the counselor during a scheduled live chat session.
- Video conferencing with a counselor.
- Speaking over the phone with a counselor.
One of the best things about Teen Counseling is that teens are allowed to use as many of these different communication methods as they want, as many times as they want. All four methods are included in the monthly membership rate and no additional chargers are incurred, no matter how many live sessions teens book or how many messages they send.
Confidentiality & Privacy:
Teen Counseling takes a number of steps to ensure the utmost in safety, privacy and confidentiality. The company has a world-leading browsing encryption system (SSL) while messages between you and your counselor are further encrypted with bank grade 256-bit encryption. Also, since the platforms counselors are state certified, they are subject to strict local and federal privacy laws, including HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act). Your medical and other health information is private, and is not shared with insurance companies either since Teen Counseling doesn’t take or work with insurance companies.
There are other steps the platform takes to ensure that their teen users are staying protected. When a user schedules a phone session through the platform, the system actually calls the teen at their provided number — their personal contact information is never given to the counselor.
Teen Counseling – Getting Help
When you talk with the counselor, all of the information shared is kept entirely private, even from parents. In fact, parents are not allowed into the private counseling rooms for teens and their counselors. It is meant to be a safe space. While Teen Counseling and the counselors working through the platform will keep all information shared completely private, there are a few exceptions that are designed to help protect you and others. This includes:
- If you are planning on hurting yourself or committing suicide.
- If you are planning on hurting others.
- If you share information indicating you know someone is being abused or neglected.
- If you share information stating an individual under 18 is being abused or neglected.
- If you share information indicating an elderly person is being abused or neglected.
These exceptions are clearly detailed on the Teen Counseling website and are made clear to all users so they know of situations where their private discussions may need to be exposed to others. Overall, the platform does a wonderful job of keeping information secure and private, and in providing teens with the information they need to understand what information will be kept private and what will not.
Teen Counseling’s Counselor Qualifications:
All counselors available through Teen Counseling are licensed, trained, and accredited at the state level. The counselors are independent professionals and are thoroughly vetted, however they are not employees of Teen Counseling. The team of experts are licensed, trained and experienced:
- Psychologists (Ph.D/Psy.D)
- Marriage and Family Therapists (LMFT)
- Clinical Social Workers (LCSW)
- Professional Counselors (LPC)
Due to the structure of this counseling service, while these professionals will be able to provide advice, they will not be able to prescribe medication or give official diagnosis through this platform.
Meet the Counselors
Once you have filled out your initial questionnaire, the platform will take a look at the answers to your questions and match you with a counselor based on the type of issues reported in the original inquiry. This way, teens will be matched with someone who has the training and experience necessary to provide them with the specific type of counseling they are looking for.
Specialties & Areas of Expertise:
Teen Counseling is designed with teens in mind, which is why it covers so many areas of mental health, all of which are common issues that teenagers today can face. The goal of Teen Counseling is to help young people with any type of situation imaginable which include but are not limited to:
- Career Choices
- Coping Skills
- Eating Disorders
- Family Issues
- Life Transitions
- Sleeping Issues
- Social Behavior and Challenges
- Substance Abuse
If you are struggling with a topic that isn’t listed, it is still a smart idea to reach out to Teen Counseling to see if one of their trained professionals can help. According to the company, signing up for this platform is not the right solution if any of the following is true: you have thoughts of hurting yourself or others, you are in an emergency situation, you are required to undergo court-ordered therapy or counseling, or if you are unable to reliably log on to the internet. Teen Counseling does a great job of detailing who the site is for and what it is not for, to help make sure all teens interested in getting help are going to the right source for assistance.
There are so many teens out there who need professional counseling, but who are unsure of how to contact a professional for help. Teen Counseling fills this void for many teens who need this type of help. They don’t just offer teens with access to an adult, but they also provide teens with person-to-person interactions with fully accredited and licensed mental health professionals. The unique thing about this platform is that it not only provides a discrete and convenient way for teens to get help — through the devices that they already use every day — but it can also help parents as well. The website makes it easy for parents to get started so they can step in and make sure their kids are getting the private, personal counseling that they deserve.