I read a newsletter yesterday that got me thinking. Mercom Market Intelligence Report on Healthcare IT for January 27, 2014 talked about the boom in patient at-home monitoring. I wondered what kind of apps might be around for behavioral health and whether they might be useful as supports in therapy.
When I worked as a psychologist, I practiced Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), as taught by Aaron Beck and his colleagues. The biggest struggle my patients had was to remember to do their homework, self-monitoring that almost always involved daily recording of activities, thoughts and reactions. I always provided them with a pocket-sized notebook to record things (this was 20 years ago, after all). Now, I would be more likely to find a higher tech way to assist them.
And so I began my quick review. I started with a Google search for ‘behavioral health self monitoring apps.’ I was somewhat surprised at the pages of links and articles that appeared. This has clearly become a hot area. Some of the apps are aimed at young people and children; many are aimed at adults.
I have not reviewed any of these apps. I am going to give you lots of articles and links so you can explore for yourself.
- For self-monitoring: ‘Did I Do That?’ Positive Behavior Starts with Self-Monitoring.
- In 2010, NPR did a story they called ‘Mental Health Apps: Like a ‘Therapist in Your Pocket’.
- There are apps to help troops self-manage behavior and stress and to track mood at the web site of the National Center for Telehealth & Technology.
- Dr. Julie Kinn of the National Center for Telehealth & Technology presented a slideshow on their apps: Web and Mobile Apps for Military Behavioral Health.
- Frederick Meunch, Ph.D. posted on his Psychology Today blog, Self-Monitoring Made Easy.
There are some more formal articles and research reports on the subject.
- Mobile, Social, and Wearable Computing and the Evolution of Psychological Practice, in Professional Psychology: Research and Practice. 2012, Vol 43, No 6, 622-626, by Margaret E. Morris and Adrian Aguilera.
- Smartphones for Smarter Delivery of Mental Health Programs: A Systematic Review, Journal of Medical Internet Research.
- Opportunities and Challenges for Smartphone Applications in Supporting Health Behavior Change: Qualitative Study, Journal of Medical Internet Research.
- Using Technology as an Adjunct Therapy for Mental Health Treatment.
- 17 Best Depression iPhone & Android Apps of 2013, as reported by Healthline.
The American Psychological Association is offering some continuing education on the subject.
- APA, CE Corner: Smarter phone, smarter practice.
And multiple organizations list smart phone apps among a variety of self-help resources.
- Choices Mental Health Counseling provides a list on their website of Behavioral Health Apps for Your Android Phone.
- Humboldt State University Counseling & Psychological Services > Self Help Resources.
I was surprised at the broad array of resources available. Certainly each clinician will need to review these and determine if there any that fit well with their practice and modalities and might be beneficial to their clients. Perhaps some of you have already done that.
Please share any smartphone apps you use in your practice or organization to facilitate therapy progress. We would love to know what you have found useful.