As you are probably aware, cognitive behavioral therapy (or CBT) is a research-backed way to deal with anxiety, OCD, and other negative emotions. Today, I became aware of a few apps which allow you to record your thoughts and do basic CBT on your device. I have a journal app on my phone (DayOne) but it’s not ideal for recording CBT thoughts. There are quite a few apps on mental health out there, so I tried to narrow down the pack and only list the best apps which allow you to do CBT by yourself.
CBT Thought Record Diary (iOS / Android)
Functionally, it serves its purpose in providing a way to record thoughts You can include a title, label the emotion, rank the intensity of the emotion, describe the situation, write the negative thoughts you had about the situation, label the cognitive distortion, challenge the negative thought, write the outcome, and again rank the intensity.
The downside of this app is that it very minimalist. It doesn’t include a password feature (for iOS anyway) so that anyone with access to your device can open and view your thoughts. In addition, it doesn’t sync to an online cloud, so if you lose your device, you have lost your records. I don’t see any way to export or send your thought record in case you wanted a backup. It’s free in the Apple store.
Pacifica (iOS / Android)
The next app, Pacifica, has a large user-base and is much more feature-rich. You can keep an eye on your sleep and exercise habits, be guided through breathing and meditation exercises, interact in groups and communities, journal thoughts, and keep track of your mood. The free version is very limited so you’ll need to pay $5.99 month by month or $35.99 per year (which equals $2.99 per month). There are pretty good reviews of the app here and here. I don’t personally use this one because I don’t need all of the features.
iCouch CBT (iOS / Android)
There aren’t a lot of users using this app, but it’s got a decent rating and is also minimalist. It functions as a thought journal with the standard features of being able to label emotions, rank intensity, evaluate, select distortions, etc. There is also the ability to integrate with iCloud. It costs $2.99 in the Apple store. There are some screenshots here which will give you an idea of how it’s used.
Moodnotes – Thought Journal / Mood Diary (iOS)
This is my current choice for a thought journal. It costs $3.99 in the Apple store and is simple to use. It is made by the same company that makes the popular Moodkit (Thriveport, LLC). You have the ability to password protect the app and it syncs with iCloud. In the CBT process, you answer the question, “What’s happening at the moment?” You then select a feeling and its intensity, describe the thought, identify distortions (called “thinking traps”), rethink the thought, and reassess feelings and intensity (all CBT stuff). It currently has high ratings of 9/10 on AppAdvice.com and 5/5 in the Apple store.
If you have found some other apps which you think I should list here, or would like me to make corrections, please message me.