As a parent, you have made the decision to find counseling for your teenager. Now what do you do? One of the biggest hurdles in getting your teenager counseling is figuring out WHERE to find one. It feels confusing. If you live in a rural area you may feel like you have no options. Or perhaps you live in a big city, and you feel overwhelmed by all your choices. Here are 7 resources to help you find a therapist for your teenager. Plus find helpful tips on what to keep in mind as you and your teenager meet with the therapist.
7 Resources to Find a Therapist for Your Teenager
Before you start looking for a counselor for your teen, let’s chat about the different counselors you may encounter. This is a brief overview to help you figure out what you are looking for and questions you may wish to ask.
Note: This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase through a link The Reluctant Cowgirl will receive a small commission, at no additional cost to you, used toward keeping this blog going. I only recommend products I appreciate and trust. Read all my disclosure here.
Read here for 7 Warnings Signs Your Teen Needs Counseling
What is the Difference Between a Counselor, a Therapist, a Psychiatrist and a Psychologist
Counselor is a broad term that covers a variety of types of trained individuals that offer counseling. They may or may not hold a license. When someone says they offer counseling, you may wish to ask a few more questions about their particular degree or training.
Therapist use a behavioral approach to therapy and have more advanced training such as a master’s degree. They may hold a master’s degree in a variety of areas such as social work, family therapy or counseling and may have a license.
Psychiatrist have a medical background and are able to prescribe prescriptions as well as offer counseling services..
Psychologist typically have a master’s in psychology. They may be associated with a college through their teaching or research. Psychologist often have their PhD or doctorate.
Types of Therapy
According to Pysch Central therapy can fall into these 5 categories: Play, Family, Group, Individual and Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy. When finding a counselor for your teen, you may wish to ask if they offer to work with the whole family as part of working with your teenager.
7 Places to Ask for Help when Choosing a Therapist
As you seek counseling for your teen or tween consider the options below. I would highly suggest exploring a couple of these ideas at the same time as finding the right counselor that matches your needs and your teen’s personality is a very personal choice.
Ask a Friend for a Therapist Referral
One of your best sources of information can be friends and family. Asking for help for your teenager can be hard. You may feel like you have failed, or you are concerned about protecting your teenager’s privacy. But realize you are making a good choice in seeking help and take into your confidence a few safe people.
Ask a few trusted friends or family members if they know of any local therapists or private practices they would recommend? Have they ever gone to a counselor that they found helpful? You may be surprised at how many others have already dealt with a similar situation.
You may also wish to ask if your friend found any books, blogs or podcasts helpful when dealing with their circumstance.
Churches Often Offer Counseling
Many churches that are bigger can be a great place to find a therapist for your teenager. One advantage to churches is they sometimes have a sliding pay scale if you don’t have great insurance.
When I was facing an unplanned pregnancy, I sought counseling and was referred to a church not too far from where I was living. Even if you don’t go to that church, most churches will welcome the opportunity to work with your family.
Read here for 25 Self-Care Activities for Teens
While researching for this post, I called a large church and found that though they did not directly offer counseling, they were associated with a counseling agency. The counseling agency used the large church campus for their offices, plus offered counseling at another agency. Feel free to look online at the larger churches in your area or call their church office.
Also noteworthy is that many churches host 12 step group programs and Celebrate Recovery programs for those who are 18 and older. Some churches also host Celebrate Place where they work with children and teens. Teens even have their own program called The Landing. If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction, abuse, gambling addiction, eating disorders or codependency then Celebrate Recovery is for you.
Schools Can be a Good Place to Start for Counseling
Schools can be a good resource in terms of counseling for a variety of reasons.
- School is typically a place you and your teenager feel comfortable so it can make a great place to start your counseling search.
- Schools often work with the local mental health agency.
- School counselors can offer an initial assessment on ways counseling may benefit your teenagers.
- Your teenager may qualify for onsite counseling from the mental health agency.
Things to keep in mind. Though counseling may be offered at the school through the local mental health agency, often the times may be irregular. And most local mental health agencies may or may not be licensed and are understaffed. So it may be hard for your teenager to make a deep connection with a counselor who has a huge caseload.
But the school can at least help you get the ball rolling while you seek out other therapists. Schools typically have a big resource list of area services which may get you pointed in the right direction
If your student is in college, check into the counseling offered at the college or university. Most colleges now have a counselor on site making receiving counseling much more convenient. Read here for more on counseling services at colleges.
BetterHelp Offers Online Counseling for Teens
Did you know that now you can receive counseling online? This is fabulous news if you live in a smaller town where the best counselors may live an hours drive away.
BetterHelp has a site that is dedicated to helping you and your teenager connect with the right counselor at Teen Counseling. Now your teenager can receive support and help right from home. The benefits to Teen Counseling’s services are:
- Certified counseling that your teenager can receive at home.
- Counseling is done through text, video or phone.
- Teens will have access to more counselors from which to choose.
- Teens may find texting and video more inline with their mode of communication.
- Counseling through Teen Counseling is cheaper than most therapy sessions.
As you look at BetterHelp’s Teen Counseling site keep in mind that not all cases will work for text, video and phone therapy. And it may take longer for your teenager to build a connection with their therapist since it is not face to face.
NewLife.com Offers a List of Recommended Counselors
New Life is an organization that was started by a group of Christian counselors. They currently have a radio program, conferences and a vast array of books on various self-help topics. They also have a counseling network to help you connect with a recommended, vetted counselor in your area.
I have personally used New Life’s nationwide counseling network and found it very helpful. You pay a registration fee to New Life and will receive a list of counselors in your area. You will also receive your first counseling session for free to offset the registration fee.
If finding a counselor that has more conservative beliefs is important to you then I highly recommend New Life. PLUS, you will find tons of resources on their site to help your family.
Local Non-Profit Services Offer Peer or Group Counseling
For years, I worked at an organization that supported and advocated for those affected by domestic violence and sexual assault. As part of our advocacy, we offered peer counseling and group counseling. There were groups for anger management, offenders of domestic violence and survivors of domestic violence. We also offered peer counseling for those affected by sexual assault.
The people that work at non-profits have a variety of backgrounds and degrees. But there is typically a licensed social worker working as the director and a licensed therapist signing off on all the peer sessions and groups.
So non-profit organizations can be a great way to receive free or low cost group or peer counseling. You will be encouraged by advocates who are familiar with your situation, or who have actually lived your situation and come through it. Typically, a peer counselor should refer you to an licensed counselor for ongoing counseling.
Most of the resources are meant for 18 years old and up, but bigger organizations may have groups on anger management and healthy relationships geared toward teens.
Courts May Refer Offenders or Victims to Counseling
Finding one’s family mired in the court system is very stressful. And obviously not a choice a parent would willingly make. However, if your child becomes involved in the court system, they may receive counseling as a result.
For instance, many state’s victim’s compensation program pay for counseling for victims. If your child was a victim of a crime they may be eligible to receive reimbursement for counseling. The court may help you find a counselor or have a list of suggested counselors. Or you may be on your own to find a counselor. But the good news is that the state’s victim’s compensation program will usually pay for the counseling.
If your child is the offender, they may be sent to a program to deal with the core problem. Many courts desire to try to connect offenders with services that will help treat the root problem and the symptoms. As a court advocate, I have seen families, through their lawyers, ask the courts that their child be sent to a drug and alcohol treatment center rather then just sit in jail or the local juvenile detention center. If funding is available, often this request is granted.
Pin and SHARE!
Go here to the National Center for Victims of Crime to learn more.
I hope that your family never faces this challenge, but it is something to bear in mind if the worst happens.
Questions to Ask Your Teenager’s Counselor
Finding and choosing the best counselor for your teenager can take some time. Feel free to ask questions! Here are some questions you may wish to ask your therapist:
- Have you worked with tweens and teens?
- What is your specialty?
- What is your degree? Are you licensed?
- Do you have experience in the area our child is struggling?
- Do you ever offer video sessions?
- How can we support our teen at home?
- Do you offer resources for our teen to work on at home in conjunction with their counseling?
- How will you keep us, the parents, informed of our child’s progress?
Also, remember it is important that your teen and their counselor connect. If you aren’t seeing progress, ask your teen if they feel like someone else might be more helpful.
7 Resources to Help Find a Therapist for Your Teenager
Worrying about your teenager is hard enough on moms! But I hope through this post you now have a little more confidence in your ability to choose the right counselor for your kid!
Do you have any other recommendations on resources to find a therapist for teens? Comment below!
Would you like some extra support as a mom of tweens and teens? Wonderful! You are in the right place. Make sure to click on the Resource Library to start receiving my weekly personal note of encouragement plus gain access to all the FREEBIES!
You may also appreciate Ways to Comfort Your Depressed Teen.