- Autumn Quiles, LCSW
Cell phones are often a hot topic in my weekly conversations- teens use them to stay connected and grown-ups use them to stay afloat. It seems like these little devices live in the hands of most people I know, including myself.
I only recently began to consider cell phones as an instantaneous tool that could support people as they push through their days. For a person who is working on Their Stuff, each day brings bumps and detours to their wellness path and sometimes a good app can be a picker-upper that will keep you focused until the next session.
No app is a good substitute for hashing out Your Stuff with a professional- in fact, many apps were actually built to share your data with your therapist. And they have been super helpful for me and My People because we gather a lot of concrete information about what is not working, when it is not working and where things tend to go awry. We can look for patterns, especially those that are keeping a person stuck, and then swiftly disrupt that pattern and choose a new path.
So, I thought I would list out a couple of my favorites...
I'm always into HeadSpace and Calm... both are mindfulness apps and they help people to slow down and create a personal culture of gratitude. Insight Timer is along these same lines. A large portion of the content is not free to most of us, but if you are an educator, a college student or (in some cases) a high school student, you can apply for a free subscription. I like to think of these apps as the Whoooosa Reminder apps.
I very much appreciate the mood tracker/journaling apps. Daylio and MindDoc are two apps that allow you to track your moods, so we can start to pinpoint triggers. For example, if your anxiety symptoms spike every time you talk with your neighbor, maybe we need to look at what is happening with that neighbor. These are also helpful for strengthening insight- the "why" of how we feel and what we do- because you can create entries the minute that things feel "off". The downside is that sometimes these apps get a bit bossy- wanting you to create entries on a random schedule that may not suit your real-life schedule. I like to think of these apps as Concrete Data Apps.
I know folks who have used Meditopia to stay inspired and relax at night, Recovery Record and Nourishly to track their eating habits, CBT Thought Diary to keep track of crooked thoughts, and eMoods to keep track of their cycling highs and lows.
For the Littles, there are Children's Bedtime Meditations, the Sesame Street Breathe, Think and Do, The Zones of Regulation, and the TF-CBT Triangle of Life.
It's important to choose an app that suits your style and the apps that can upload data to your therapist are super helpful. However, identifying Your Patterns, finding Your Calm or recognizing Your Triggers is only the first step. Understanding Who You Are is the beginning- getting you to Who You Want to Be is the next step... and the part where I, as a trained professional, am at your service.