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Key Takeaways:

  • Online therapy for kids is like in-person therapy, as it addresses the same concerns using the same techniques.
  • Choosing the right online therapy services for your child involves reviewing platform features, researching providers, and considering insurance availability, among other factors.
  • Some of the best online therapy platforms include Little Otter, AmWell, LifeStance Health, and Talkspace.

Today’s children face unique challenges—from social pressures to academic anxieties. If you, as a parent or caretaker, are looking for ways to support their mental health, you’ll be pleased to know that many cost-effective online options exist.

However, with so many online therapy services, narrowing your selection can get overwhelming. This guide cuts through the noise, offering a comprehensive look at options catering to different age groups, needs, and preferences.

Our Criteria for Choosing Online Therapy Services for Kids

We consider multiple criteria when collecting the best online therapy services for kids. We want to ensure you have a sound collection of safe, convenient, affordable, and effective options. Here are the factors we consider:

  • Quality of Therapist. We consider licensed mental health professionals with the appropriate training and qualifications. We study their specializations and ensure they have experience working with children.
  • Platform Features. Online therapy options should be flexible and tailored to your needs. We pick services with extensive session formats, such as phone and video calls. We also ensure that the platform boasts an age-appropriate design and consider how it handles a parental environment.
  • Cost. We understand that online therapy isn't always financially approachable. We consider affordable options that don’t compromise output quality or ones that accept insurance.
  • Additional resources. We want parents and caregivers to feel as equipped as possible. Thus, we source therapy options with additional information like articles, activities, and support groups.

11 Best Online Therapy Services for Kids in 2024

If you don’t have access to a nearby therapist or are more comfortable with online therapy, here are the top ten services to consider for your child.

  • Best Overall - Bend Health
  • Best for Pre-Teens - Little Otter
  • Most Affordable - LiveHealth Online
  • Best Subscription-Based - Talkspace
  • Best for Younger Children - Amwell
  • Best Therapist Credentials - MDLive
  • Best for Psychiatry - Talkiatry
  • Best for Parents - LifeStance Health
  • Best for Family Therapy - Thriveworks
  • Best for Autism Support - Synergy eTherapy
  • Best for Choosing a Therapist - Doctor on Demand

1. Bend Health

Bend Health is a subscription-based online therapy service for children aged one to seventeen. It is available in all 50 states and imparts a “whole-person, whole-family” concept that takes a holistic approach to healing. It is a family-focused platform run by pediatric mental health experts.

Price: Coaching (monthly) - $199.99; coaching and therapy (monthly) - $399.99; coaching, therapy, and medication management (monthly) - $599.99

Types of Therapy: Individual, family, medication management, neuropsychological evaluations

Accepts Insurance: Yes

Pros:

  • Available in all 50 states
  • Accepts insurance from an extensive range of providers
  • Accurate diagnoses and short wait times

Cons:

  • Out-of-pocket costs can be high
  • Coaches and therapists are assigned

2. Little Otter

Little Otter takes a holistic approach to therapy for children aged 0 to 14. It is a highly versatile platform with a rich collection of customizable services, ideal for children requiring highly personalized care.

Price: Kickoff session - $20 (30 minutes), therapy session - $200 (45 minutes)

Types of Therapy: Video chat therapy, child psychiatry, specialized ADHD program

Accepts Insurance: No

Pros:

  • Provides parenting coaching from board-certified behavior analysts
  • Offers ongoing, real-time virtual support
  • Can track progress through clinical assessments

Cons:

  • Costlier than most other therapy options
  • Does not have insurance options

3. LiveHealth Online

LiveHealth Online isn’t just the most affordable option on our list—it’s also highly accessible, with services nationwide. On the platform, parents can choose a therapist according to their credentials.

Price: Therapist - $80, psychologist - $95

Types of Therapy: Individual, psychiatry

Accepts Insurance: Yes

Pros:

  • Affordable and flexible services
  • Many scheduling options, including evenings and weekends
  • Accepts many insurance options

Cons:

  • Does not treat younger children (only children ten and up)
  • Psychiatry options aren’t available to children under 18

4. Talkspace

Talkspace is a highly-rated subscription-based therapy service with over a million subscribers. It offers extensive communication methods, including text messaging for tech-savvy kids.

Price: Plans start at $69 per week

Types of Therapy: Individual, psychiatry, medication management

Accepts Insurance: Yes

Pros:

  • Offers multiple subscriptions with different price points and coverage
  • HIPAA-compliant services
  • Messaging-only options available

Cons:

  • Psychiatry and medication unavailable to children under 18
  • Typical sessions are short
  • Only available for kids aged 13+

5. Amwell

While most online therapy options for kids have a minimum age requirement of 13, Amwell offers services to younger children. Its network includes over 350 licensed psychologists and social workers.

Price: $99 to $129, depending on therapist credentials

Types of Therapy: Individual, psychiatry, family therapy

Accepts Insurance: Yes

Pros:

  • Vast selection of licensed professionals to choose from
  • Available for weekends, holidays, and evening sessions
  • Psychiatrists can prescribe medications

Cons:

  • No messaging options
  • Can be expensive without insurance coverage

6. MDLive

MDLive has an impressive roster of therapists, each with at least four years of experience in counseling children. The platform also offers options for children with ADHD and can dispense prescription medication.

Price: Therapy - $108, psychiatry - $284

Types of Therapy: Individual, psychiatry

Accepts Insurance: Yes

Pros:

  • Offers psychiatry care as a separate service
  • Treats ADHD with non-stimulant medication management
  • Employs therapists with at least four years of experience

Cons:

  • Therapist availability is often limited
  • Does not offer family therapy

7. Talkiatry

Talkiatry provides over 400 board-certified psychiatrists with experience treating children five and up. They are an affordable and accessible source of psychiatric care, aiming to address the psychiatrist shortage in the U.S.

Price: Varies with insurance

Types of Therapy: Individual, psychiatry, medication management

Accepts Insurance: Yes

Pros:

  • Accepts over 60 insurance plans
  • Offers psychiatry services and medication management to very young children
  • Lengthy 60-minute initial session

Cons:

  • Not available in all U.S. states
  • Doesn’t treat schizophrenia, SUD, or ED

8. LifeStance Health

Parents need therapy, too, especially as they navigate the complex world of mental health in children. LifeStance Health provides just that—targeted counseling for parent-child relationships and perinatal/postpartum depression.

Price: $150 to $300 per session

Types of Therapy: Children’s, family, group, individual, medication management, psychiatry

Accepts Insurance: Yes

Pros:

  • Applies a wide variety of therapeutic techniques and specialties
  • Comprehensive options for parent-child arrangements
  • Provider bios are available on the website

Cons:

  • Can’t message therapists outside of scheduled sessions
  • Prices on the website are unclear

9. Thriveworks

Even if only one person in the family struggles with their mental health, it can significantly impact the entire household. Thriveworks aims to strengthen family relationships by focusing on dynamics and discussing issues as a group.

Price: Therapy - $160 to $240, initial psychiatry/medication management - $300 to $375, follow-ups - $210 to $300

Types of Therapy: Family, group, individual, medication management, psychiatry

Accepts Insurance: Yes

Pros:

  • Flexible cancellation policy
  • Offers night and weekend sessions
  • Customer support is available 24/7

Cons:

  • No text-assisted therapy
  • Not all services are available throughout the U.S.

10. Synergy eTherapy

Synergy eTherapy provides support options for younger children (as young as six) and assessment for autism spectrum disorder (ASD). It also offers family therapy for parents and caregivers needing support in caring for an autistic child.

Price: $100 to $250 for 45 to 50 minutes

Types of Therapy: Children’s, family, individual

Accepts Insurance: Yes

Pros:

  • Treats children as young as six
  • Provides assistance for ASD
  • Provides reduced-rate sessions with interns

Cons:

  • Has only 34 active providers
  • Limited availability in the U.S.

11. Doctor on Demand

While many online therapy options allow parents to choose their child’s therapist, Doctor on Demand has better, more flexible options. They offer free mental health assessments and guidance for new patients.

Price: Therapy - $134, psychiatry - $299, follow-ups - $129

Types of Therapy: Individual, psychiatry

Accepts Insurance: Yes

Pros:

  • Psychiatrists have 15 years of experience on average
  • Covered by some employers

Cons:

  • Communication methods are limited to live video calls
  • Therapists in some areas have limited availability

Frequently Asked Questions

Is online therapy effective for children?

Online therapy can be effective for children who feel comfortable communicating virtually. Like traditional, in-person therapy, its online counterpart can address concerns like depression and anxiety.

Studies show that online cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is just as effective as in-person CBT for anxiety and depression [*]. Other research has proven reduced OCD symptoms in 68% of children after at least 14 online sessions [*].

How do I know if my child is a good candidate for online therapy?

Your child may be a good candidate for online therapy if:

  • They feel comfortable communicating online and can remain focused for at least an hour.
  • They have access to a computer or tablet with a reliable Internet connection.
  • They have a quiet, private space to discuss sensitive topics.

Can parents be involved in online therapy sessions for their children?

Depending on the platform and its protocol, parents can be involved in online therapy sessions for their children. Some parents of very young children can observe sessions or communicate with therapists directly.

It’s important to discuss with a therapist what is most beneficial for your child before starting sessions.

How frequently are online therapy sessions typically scheduled for children?

The frequency of online therapy sessions will ultimately depend on your child’s specific needs. However, weekly sessions are relatively standard.

How can I help prepare my child for their first online therapy session?

Therapy can be a scary concept for a child to embrace. You can make them more comfortable by discussing what online therapy is and why they need it. Remind them that it is a safe space to discuss their feelings and reassure them that there is no room for judgment.

The Bottom Line

Online therapy offers a valuable and accessible tool for supporting your child's mental health. With various platforms available, you can find a service that caters to your child's age, needs, and preferences.

Take your therapy activities offline with our CBT worksheets. These worksheets aim to improve your child’s sense of self and complement their existing treatment plan.

Sources:

  1. White, K. S., & Cheung, V. “Cognitive behavioral therapy for anxiety disorders.” American Psychological Association, 2021.
  2. Kayser, R, Gershkovich M, et al. “Integrating Videoconferencing into Treatment for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: Practical Strategies with Case Examples.” Psychiatric Services, 2021.

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