As any experienced psychologist knows, clients tend to make most of their progress outside the therapy room, not in it.
Therefore, it’s essential to equip your clients with versatile tools and techniques they can draw on in daily life to practice applying interventions in the context of real-life stressors and demands.
Thankfully, with the rise in apps designed to provide psychological support, you can rest assured that there is already a service or platform that will help you meet your clients’ needs.
In this article, we’ll walk you through the three categories of psychology apps to keep in your back pocket and also give you our top pick for the app that will best boost the outcomes of your practice and clients.
Before you continue, we thought you might like to download our three Positive Psychology Exercises for free. These science-based exercises explore fundamental aspects of positive psychology, including strengths, values, and self-compassion, and will give you the tools to enhance the wellbeing of your clients, students, or employees.
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3 Ways Psychology Apps Can Boost Your Work
When considering new technologies to integrate into your practice, it is important to evaluate the needs of your business carefully.
Take stock of any gaps in your workflow or barriers to achieving your goals before you research the different options for apps and technologies on the market. Once you’ve done this, you can then begin your search for tools to address these needs.
The platforms and apps on the market typically fall under one of three use cases: blended care, mental health, and customer relationship management. Each functions in different ways to help boost positive outcomes for your client while also improving your workflow.
1. Blended care apps
Among the more recent innovations in digital psychology tools are blended care apps and technologies.
Blended care refers to a combination of face-to-face intervention and digital therapy sessions or interventions (Massoudi et al., 2017). An example of such a combination is when a client comes into their therapist’s office for face-to-face sessions and also takes part in video consultations.
They might also use progress monitoring apps, wearable technologies, or digital treatment plans/lessons between face-to-face sessions (Moore, 2020). Here are a couple of our favorite apps designed to facilitate a blended care approach to therapy.
Developed by our very own founders, Quenza is a modern, digital aid for psychologists and other helping professionals that helps keep clients engaged and progressing between scheduled sessions.
Designed in collaboration with the positive psychology community, the platform centers around a library of pre-built activities based on Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT), mindfulness, and many other therapeutic disciplines that you can quickly adapt and send to your clients’ iOS and Android devices.
The platform also includes several features to facilitate the management of client information and is continuously rolling out new features.
Live OCD Free
Live OCD Free is designed for children and adults with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).
The app helps users create an exposure hierarchy to address symptoms of OCD and includes a toolkit of motivational scripts, relaxation techniques, and recordings to combat fears, checking rituals, and more. The app also includes the option to send detailed progress reports directly to the user’s therapist.
2. Self-therapy mental health apps
As of 2017, there were approximately 325,000 mental health apps available for download on the Google Play and Apple App stores (Research2guidance, n.d.). Indeed, among disease-specific apps, roughly a third address mental health (Aitken & Lyle, 2015).
Mental health apps are primarily designed to help individuals gain confidence and independence when dealing with symptoms of mental illnesses or to encourage a more positive mindset. They typically work by facilitating the monitoring of mood, behaviors, and triggers, often via short, self-paced, CBT-based interventions.
Such apps can perform additional functions, too. They may facilitate self-management of mental illnesses by encouraging regular meditation practice or reminding clients to take and track the effects of prescribed psychiatric medications. Alternatively, they may function as a journaling platform or digital thought diary.
No matter their purpose, such apps are thought to be helpful for overcoming many of the barriers to receiving clinic-based care (Ben-Zeev et al., 2018), as clients can download and use them as needed without the support of a psychologist.
More and more psychologists are recommending mental health apps to their clients to facilitate self-management between scheduled sessions, making them a valuable complement to the care you provide.
Here are just a few popular mental health apps available on the App Store and Google Play today:
- Calm and Headspace are two of the leading providers of guided meditations, available on both app stores. They focus on improving the user’s stress management, sleep quality, and general outlook on life.
- Take a look at SoothingPod and InsightTimer for free alternatives to the above. Both apps feature huge libraries of guided meditations and sleeping aids.
- With CBT at its foundation, MoodKit provides iOS users with over 200 different interventions to improve mood and strengthen self-awareness through journaling and reflection.
- Daylio is a bite-sized journaling app that allows users to systematically track mood, activities, gratitude, and anything else of interest. The platform features a deceptively simple interface that requires minimal text entry but has powerful reporting features.
3. Customer relationship management apps
Customer relationship management (CRM) apps can also support therapists. CRM apps and platforms are designed to simplify the management of relationships with existing and prospective e-therapy clients.
The features of these apps can include management of customer data, marketing automation, billing, and customer support. Psychologists tend to enjoy the administrative benefits of these apps.
The time and energy saved managing client communications and information can be fed back into your scheduled sessions, meaning the benefits of good CRM can carry over to those you serve.
Most CRM apps are tied to a broader platform accessible by desktop or web browser. For example, a practitioner might station a tablet near the entrance of their practice to enable those entering to sign into the practice digitally. The collected information is then available for the psychologist to view via an online or desktop dashboard.
Check out our blog post for a useful summary of CRM technologies. If you’re in the market for one yourself, consider these popular options:
- Nookal is a complete practice management system that facilitates online appointment booking, invoicing, and the management of clinical notes. It also handles class and group bookings and enables you to add clients to organized waiting lists.
- BetterClinics is a cloud-based platform with an accompanying app designed specifically to meet the needs of psychologists. The platform handles bookings, appointment reminders, clinical notes, and much more.
- Power Diary is an all-in-one CRM platform centering around a calendar. The service and accompanying app enable seamless management of individual and group bookings, practitioner schedules, and even the schedules of multiple clinics.
3 Things to Look for in a Psychology App
Whether you’re interested in blended care, mental health apps, or CRM, there are three critical things you should look out for when choosing an app for your practice.
1. Security features
When collecting client information, there are minimum requirements psychologists must meet to ensure this information is protected according to the General Data Protection Regulation legislation.
Further, given that psychologists are collecting health-related information, any technologies they use must also meet the narrower requirements of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. Therefore, any app suitable for psychologists will include modern security features like encryption and password-protected accounts.
2. Evidenced-based tools
Various authorities, such as the American Psychological Association and top universities, are increasingly investigating the effectiveness of different psychotherapy apps and tools (check out the American Psychological Association’s website for some recommendations).
Common across these experts’ recommendations is that psychologists should choose apps that have ideally been researched among clinical populations and apply clinically supported interventions and approaches (e.g., CBT, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy).
3. Ease of use
When integrating technologies into your practice, consider how it will affect your current workflows with clients, as well as their user experience. A good choice should reduce the number of actions your clients must take to provide documentation, sign forms, engage with interventions, etc., not increase it.
For instance, an effective onboarding tool might automatically send a welcome message, client agreement, and registration form all in the same communication, sparing the client from having to wade through multiple emails or get on the phone.
What Is the Best App for Psychologists?
So far, we’ve looked at the functionality of a range of apps psychologists can use to improve their efficiency and boost client outcomes.
The best app for your practice will ultimately depend on the needs of your business and clients. However, if you’re looking for an all-in-one tool with great functionality and a rapidly expanding set of features, be sure to try out the blended care app Quenza.
Quenza centers around a library of pre-developed activities designed to meet the growing needs of the positive psychology community. The platform includes CRM features and doubles as a central location to store client information and manage your communications, including scheduled emailing and instant messaging.
In addition, this application is compatible with all devices. Practitioners can access a dashboard that features key information in one place from their desktop and also trigger communications on the go using the smartphone app. Likewise, your clients can access and complete any activities you send via their computer, tablet, or smartphone, either using the app or their preferred web browser.
The platform is quickly becoming a favorite option among psychologists and other helping professionals, so we’re excited to share some of its features with you.
How to Use the Quenza App: 3 Features
We developed Quenza with three standout features that set the app apart from other options on the market.
The Expansion Library
With Quenza, you can enjoy all the benefits of a blended care app while gaining the advantages and tools typically loaded into self-therapy mental health apps.
Like these apps, Quenza’s Expansion Library boasts an enormous collection of interventions, assessments, and audio meditations designed to help your clients put psychological principles into action during daily life.
You and your client can work collaboratively to decide which activities will benefit them most and review the results during your sessions.
The Activity Builder
You can take any activity you select from the Expansion Library into the platform’s Activity Builder and tailor it any way you like to help meet your clients’ goals.
Alternatively, you can develop your own activities from scratch or recreate an intervention or assessment you’ve seen elsewhere, such as a standardized mental health inventory.
Further, the features of the Activity Builder are versatile, going beyond free-text and Likert scales to invite a range of different response types with informative visual feedback, such as circular graphs and charts.
Once you’ve selected or designed a few activities in Quenza, you can choose to combine these activities into a psychoeducational pathway for your client. These pathways allow you to schedule the activities you send to clients in advance and sequence activities in such a way that builds on your clients’ prior learnings or encourages them to progress from learning to application.
Like the sound of these features? You can dive into the platform and try them for yourself by taking advantage of the 30-day trial for just $1.
How to build an activity with Quenza’s activity builder – Quenza
Therapy Journaling With Quenza: A Guide
Quenza is also a powerful platform for journaling, note taking, and repeated assessments. When inviting your clients to journal using the Quenza app, here are two approaches to consider.
1. Experience sampling
Experience sampling is a technique used in research to study people’s subjective experience of emotions, thoughts, and more while in their day-to-day environments. It involves conducting short, repeated assessments of experience across several weeks, days, or moments within a day (Larson & Csikszentmihalyi, 2014). The technique is now widely used in therapeutic contexts and with the aid of apps.
In Quenza, you can design an activity that briefly checks in with clients, asking about key phenomena of interest. You can then incorporate this activity multiple times in a pathway, which will send a push notification reminder to the client each time they are due to complete a check-in.
This will allow you to assess a client’s progress with interventions across an extended period and begin identifying patterns in their results.
2. Free-text journaling
Another option is to use Quenza’s dedicated journaling feature, which allows clients to create dated, free-text journal entries. Therapists can also use this feature to keep track of session notes, and both you and the client can choose to share these writings with each other.
For any shared journal entry or session note, clients and therapists can leave comments for the other to view, facilitating discussion and shared accountability for the client’s progress.
Using Quenza for School Psychologists
No matter what branch of psychology you’re in or which populations you serve, you’re bound to find relevant and applicable material to your context in Quenza’s Expansion Library.
If you’re a school psychologist looking for tools to support your students as they transition from their studies to their careers, be sure to take a look at the following pre-loaded lessons and activities in Quenza. You will find them in Quenza’s pre-loaded Expansion Library, which you can access and try for yourself for just $1.
- The Top 5 Values
By understanding our core values, we can make better decisions about how to steer our lives. This exercise will help students identify their top values, enabling them to make decisions regarding their future studies and careers that are congruent with what they deem personally important.
- Strength Interview
In addition to exploring our values, there are benefits to knowing our strengths when entering the workforce. The Strength Interview guides students through a series of 10 reflection questions that can help them identify their strengths, looking to flow experiences and felt enjoyment as key markers.
- Finding Your Ikigai
Help your students navigate the uncertainty of entering the job market or pursuing further education by teaching them the concept of ikigai, or reason for being. This nine-part lesson and activity will walk students through the components that make up ikigai and help them identify a purposeful pursuit in their own life.
- 17 Positive Psychology Exercises
If you’re looking for more science-based ways to help others enhance their wellbeing, this signature collection contains 17 validated positive psychology tools for practitioners. Use them to help others flourish and thrive.
A Take-Home Message
The opportunities to help your clients achieve positive outcomes during their time with you are not limited to the therapy room.
With the right tools, you can design interventions and activities for clients to take home that reinforce the themes explored during your sessions while simultaneously encouraging clients to continue their development independently.
There is a growing number of platforms and apps you can draw on to minimize time spent on administration, helping you direct your time and energy to what really matters: helping your clients.
We hope this article has been a useful summary of some of the different apps you could use in your practice. If you decide to download any, let us know about your experience in the comments – we’d love to hear from you.
We hope you enjoyed reading this article. Don’t forget to download our three Positive Psychology Exercises for free.
- Aitken, M., & Lyle, J. (2015). Patient adoption of mHealth: Use, evidence and remaining barriers to mainstream acceptance. IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics.
- Ben-Zeev, D., Brian, R. M., Jonathan, G., Razzano, L., Pashka, N., Carpenter-Song, E., … Scherer, E. A. (2018). Mobile health (mHealth) versus clinic-based group intervention for people with serious mental illness: A randomized controlled trial. Psychiatric Services, 69(9), 978–985.
- Larson, R., & Csikszentmihalyi, M. (2014). The experience sampling method. In M. Csikszentmihalyi (Ed.), Flow and the foundations of positive psychology (pp. 21–34). Springer.
- Massoudi, B., Blanker, M. H., van Valen, E., Wouters, H., Bockting, C. L., & Burger, H. (2017). Blended care vs. usual care in the treatment of depressive symptoms and disorders in general practice [BLENDING]: Study protocol of a non-inferiority randomized trial. BMC Psychiatry, 17(1), 1–11.
- Moore, C. (2020, January 30). Blended care: What is it, and who is it for? Quenza. Retrieved from https://quenza.com/blog/blended-care/
- Research2guidance. (n.d.). 325,000 mobile health apps available in 2017: Android now the leading mHealth platform. Retrieved from https://research2guidance.com/325000-mobile-health-apps-available-in-2017/