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Is Online Therapy Effective For Teens?


teen in online therapy

Online therapy, also referred to as online counseling, has become rather noteworthy in the mental health provider landscape. It provides mental health services and support over the Internet. According to Verywell Mind, the primary tools for communicating in online therapy include email, real-time instant messaging, mobile device apps, video conferencing, text-based chats, and telephone. An online therapist is required to have the same level of education and training as is needed by a traditional in-person therapist. It is, however, notoriously difficult to regulate online therapists, as the fact that they can operate from anywhere in the world makes it challenging to enforce state laws regulating training, education, and scope of practice. Much like in-person therapists and counselors, online providers will have different educational backgrounds, will differ significantly in their professional experiences, and can hold different credentials. Forbes Magazine lists some of the conditions that can be effectively treated with online therapy, some of which include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Addiction
  • Interpersonal relationships
  • Eating disorders
  • Anger management

While online therapy can be useful for a variety of ailments, it is generally not an appropriate option for all conditions (e.g., borderline personality disorder, suicidal thoughts, psychosis, etc.). The short answer as to whether online therapy is effective for teenagers is yes, sometimes it can be. Each teen is unique with nuanced needs and distinct preferences. 


There are many possible benefits to online therapy over traditional face-to-face treatment for teenagers. Psychology Today provides the following examples:

  • Scheduling can be more convenient, as studies have shown online therapy requires 7.8 times less of a therapist’s time than face-to-face treatment, opening availability. 
  • Most online therapy services cost less than face-to-face treatment.
  • Teenagers are able to participate in a therapy session from the comfort of their own homes, or in an environment that is familiar to them which can help to create a sense of intimacy that supports the development of the clinical relationship between client and provider.
  • Online therapy offers easier access to young people in rural areas or with transportation limitations.
  • Teenagers with anxiety, especially social anxiety, are more amenable to participating in online therapy.
  • Online therapy effectively circumvents mental health stigma by maintaining one’s anonymity (e.g., as there is no risk of being seen in a waiting room).

While there are many potential benefits, online therapy does not always resonate with each teenager. It can be an effective for some teenagers, and ineffective for others. 

For Information and Support

Seeking help is never easy, but you are not alone! If you or someone you know needs mental health treatment, we strongly encourage you to reach out for help as quickly as possible. It is not uncommon for many mental health difficulties to impact a person for the long term. The earlier you seek support, the sooner you and your loved ones can return to happy, healthy, and fulfilling lives.

Our admissions team is available to answer any general questions regarding mental health issues, treatment, and/or specific questions about the program at Pacific Teen Treatment and how we might be able to help your family. We can be reached by phone 24/7 at 800-531-5769. You can also contact us via email at

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