Searching For Normal

the story of a girl gone too soon

Looking for alternative treatment approaches?

A number of new smartphone applications are designed to provide real-time “coaching” or immediate feedback to a user about their feelings about and reactions to a situation. Buyer beware: these apps haven’t been around long enough for us to know just how effective they are, and I have no personal experience with them, but they hold promise—especially for people who won’t go to a therapist or don’t have access to one. Psychology Today published a January 2013 article entitled “Top 10 Mental Health Apps.” Below, I have listed a few of the apps that the article identifies, along with an excerpt describing each. Many of these types of apps are meant to be used in conjunction with conventional therapy. See the article here

BellyBio: a free application that teaches a deep-breathing technique useful in fighting anxiety and stress.

Operations Reach Out: This free intervention tool helps people who are having suicidal thoughts to reassess their thinking and get help.

DBT Diary Card and Skills Coach: Based on dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), developed by psychologist Marsha Lineha, this application is a resource of self-help skills, reminders of the therapy principles, and coaching tools for coping.

Optimism: Track your moods, keep a journal, and chart your recovery progress with this comprehensive tool for depression, bipolar disorder, and anxiety disorders. Amen Clinics was founded in 1989 by Daniel G. Amen, MD, a self-help guru and psychiatrist. The clinics perform evaluations and brain SPECT imaging to diagnose and treat their patients. From the Amen Clinics website: “We use brain imaging, targeted lab studies, and the exploration of biological, psychological, social, and spiritual influences to create an individualized, targeted treatment plan for each patient.” This approach is cutting-edge but not fully proven, and services provided are likely not covered by health insurance.