British researchers have designed a smartphone app that can help people manage their problems — anxiety and depression — based on cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT).
The ‘Catch It’ app uses psychological approaches to mental health and well-being through CBT — a therapy that can help individuals manage problems by changing the way one thinks and behaves.
‘Catch It’ helps the user identify thoughts and thinking styles associated with a shift in mood or a particular emotion and takes the users through a process referred to as “Catch it, Check it, Change it”.
The app helps users better understand their moods through use of an ongoing diary.
“Our research examined the uptake and usage rates of this application along with the faithfulness of user responses to CBT principles and their impact on reported negative and positive moods,” said Peter Kinderman, professor at University of Liverpool in Britain.
The findings of the initial trial, published in the British Journal of Psych Open, showed that there were statistically significant reductions in negative mood intensity and increases in positive mood intensity among participants.
“This type of therapy cannot remove problems, but it can help people deal with them in a more positive way. It is based on the concept that your thoughts, feelings, physical sensations and actions are interconnected, and that negative thoughts and feelings can trap you in a vicious cycle,” Kinderman added.
“Smartphone apps have potential beneficial effects in mental health through the application of basic CBT principles. More research with randomised controlled trial designs should be conducted,” Kinderman suggested.