Workbooks, exercises, and apps for mental health therapy are great adjacent tools for in-person sessions with coaches and therapists. With our world turning more and more digital by the minute, it is easy to see the growth in the mental health and wellness categories. The key questions we need to start asking when considering apps in modern mental health care are:
- How do we integrate digital wellness into our lives?
- Is it a replacement for traditional therapy?
- What kinds of applications will best support each mental health journey?
Let’s explore some of these conversations below:
Pros and Cons of Using Apps for Mental Health Therapy
Before we dive in too deep let’s start to understand some of the pros and cons associated with using apps for mental health therapy.
|Convenience: Treatment can take place anytime and anywhere and can be ideal for those who are challenged by in-person sessions.
Introduction to Mental Health Care: Technology can be a good first step for individuals who have avoided mental health care in the past.
Lower Cost: Some apps are free or cost less than traditional care.
24-Hour Service: Some technology can provide round-the-clock monitoring or intervention support.
Support: Technology can complement traditional therapy by extending an in-person session, reinforcing skills, and providing support.
Self-Monitoring Features: Some apps enable users to self-monitor their mood by reporting their thoughts, behaviors, and actions. This can help support self-awareness and understanding.
|Effectiveness: The biggest challenge with apps for mental health therapy is obtaining scientific evidence that they work as well as traditional methods.
Who Should Use Apps: A heavy concern is understanding if apps work for all people and for all mental health conditions.
Privacy: Apps deal with very sensitive personal information so creators need to be able to ensure privacy for app users.
Guidance: There is no standard rule book to help consumers know if an app is proven effective.
Overselling: There is some concern that if an app or program promises more than it delivers, consumers may turn away from other, potentially more effective therapies.
Getting Started with App Supported Mental Health Therapy
Now that we understand some of the benefits and challenges associated with using mental health applications, we can dive a little deeper into how to integrate these kinds of technologies into our lives. It will be very case-sensitive based on the mental health challenge you’re trying to treat, the severity of the condition, and your understanding of technology.
For those who aren’t able to meet with a mental health professional due to a lack of time, resources, or accessibility, mental health apps do have a fair number of advantages. At a minimum, they provide some sort of guidance and support — which is better than nothing. As these applications continue to grow alongside technology they can aid in removing barriers and stigma surrounding mental health for individuals who haven’t taken the full leap into therapy.
Of course when deciding to use a mental health app and integrate it into your life there are a number of questions you should be asking when trying to select the right platform. Take some of the following questions in mind as you move forward:
- Will I benefit from a mental health app?
- Was this application created by experienced psychologists?
- Should a mental health app substitute for therapy in my case?
- How often will I be working within the application?
- Is this technology-free, subscription-based, or a one-time purchase?
Bring Mental Health Therapy Apps into Everyday Life
Getting started and developing a routine can be the hardest part. Here are some ways to start developing that consistency:
- Set alarms and reminders to work on the platform.
- Actively choose a time of day to work on mental health.
- Think about proactive ways to apply lessons to your personal life.
- Select the right app for your roadblocks.
Some of the apps that work well with individuals are listed below. Be aware this isn’t a full list, there are plenty of options out there. The key is finding the right fit for your circumstance. Don’t be afraid to try multiple to get into the swing of things.
Moodkit: This app is based on the methods of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). With over 200 activities, users receive specific steps to reduce negative feelings and enhance well-being. You can track moods, negative thoughts, and stress management with an in-app journal.
Bearable: This app tracks moods, mental illness symptoms, medications, sleep, exercise, food intake, and social interaction. This app is largely based on tracking and understanding long-term data as opposed to giving tools to manage mental health.
Headspace: This basic app helps individuals practice mindfulness and meditation. With a series addressing stress, sleep, anxiety, focus & productivity, relaxation, centered fitness & tension release, there’s something for every experience level and lifestyle.
Noble: Individuals can take advantage of pre-created Roadmaps based on unique situations and needs. With guidance through automated lessons, action items, and assignments, there is a large focus on healing. This app can be used individually, or to increase the effectiveness of one-on-one sessions.
Mental health professionals are using apps with patients in many ways. Apps can be assigned as a form of homework to help a patient practice new skills and stay motivated between sessions. Tracking a patient’s moods or other symptoms can be another perk when integrating apps into traditional therapy. These apps can be used as an accessible alternative to revisit concepts for patients who have finished therapy.
There is a level of responsibility that comes into play when bringing an application into your therapy practice. There needs to be a level of protection for your patient’s data, privacy, and current needs.
- How will this app secure my patient’s data and privacy?
- Is the app based on good practices and real evidence?
- As a provider, how can a mental health app be of use as a tool to support your existing operations?
- For your clients, how can an app further their treatment goals?
- Are you and your client able to approach the app from different sides but with the same goal?
Bring Mental Health Therapy Apps into Practices
With more than 10,000 apps for mental health therapy available, a high turnover rate, and low barriers for new apps to emerge patients can certainly benefit from guidance on how to select a mental health app. Finding technology that is both evidence-based and focused on privacy can be challenging. Research does suggest that self-help apps provide more value when used in partnership with traditional therapy. Finding the right balance for your practice is a learning experience.
- Choose an effective mental health app for your client
- Decide how much time are you able to spend within the app
- Create processes around saving in-app conversations and information
- Create resources around downloading the app, how to use the app, and getting started.
The apps for mental health therapy listed below specifically are highlighting the partnership between patients and mental health professionals. They have created underlying software and processes to use the apps for therapists as tools for between-session support and ongoing progress management.
Live OCD Free: This app helps users create an exposure hierarchy to address symptoms of OCD The app includes the option to send progress reports directly to the user’s therapist.
CBT-I Coach: CBT-i uses cognitive-behavioral techniques to improve your sleep habits. The app provides a structured program that can be used with therapists at CBT sessions. The app could also be used alone.
Noble: Therapists can take advantage of pre-created Roadmaps that are developed with healing in mind. Creating a connection between therapist and client is an integral part of keeping all parties involved in the health path. This app can be used individually, or to increase the effectiveness of one-on-one sessions.
Bridging the Gap of Individual and Professional Use
Apps for mental health therapy offer various opportunities for individuals, patients, or mental health professionals to add some variety to their treatment plans while also encouraging users to track their progress.
As health professionals ourselves, we value client outcomes that are made possible through preventative and between-session work. Supporting our clients through content, assignments, and communication fosters better relationships and outcomes.
Noble is consistently building various types of online counseling software and materials for better mental health care. We support businesses, counselors, mental health professionals, and clients, paving a smoother path to healing. If you have questions about using our platform in your practice, Contact Noble today.