Smartphones Provide Therapist Apps

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  • Accessing a therapist can be as simple as pulling out your phone.

    Since a quarter of Americans are diagnosed with a mental illness and admit to seeking professional help, there are several smartphone applications that can help the coping process.

    Whether you’re looking for something to boost your mood or a serious guide for an emotional condition, there are a variety of apps that serve as “surrogate therapists.”

    While counselors advise against solely using technology over professional one-on-one care, they do believe that the apps can be a supplemental tool.

    "You can definitely utilize and capitalize on the smartphone technology to create tools that people have with them all the time," said Kristen Mulcahy, a psychologist in Falmouth, Massachusetts.

    Mulcahy developed a free app catering to those suffering from obsessive compulsive disorder equipped with comprehensive tools for children and adults. The app, available on the iPad and iPhone helps reduce the anxiety experienced when they feel repetitive behaviors coming on. For example, a patient can use the tool to measure how long they can go without checking a door lock repeatedly when leaving the house. If they give in during the time allotted, they have to hit the “Just Gave In” button.

    The app also emails charts of a patient’s progress to their therapist.

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