Make it Snappy!

Looking to introduce an app in session but not sure where to start? Or don't have a lot of time?

Helping clients learn more about app-based tools for managing mental health can be a great way to add to their coping toolkit, but it's important to present apps in a way that feels accessible to each person. To get started:

1) Ask if your client has a device, or if they know someone who does. Sometimes if the client doesn't own a smart phone or tablet, a family member might have one which the client can access.

2) Ask which operating system they use. If the client is willing to show you their device, you might be able to tell if they use iOS (Apple, iPhone) or Android. If they use an iPhone or iPad, let them know that apps for them can be found on the App Store. If they use an Android, they can find apps on Google Play.

3) Choose an app to demonstrate and ask the client to download it. If they don't have access to wireless at the clinic, write them down step by step instructions for how to download at home, while showing them on your computer or device.

If they can get the app on their phone (or they return for a follow up session) show them a specific section that might be useful for them. This will require you to be somewhat familiar with the app yourself, so take five minutes to check out the app before you share.

For example: If a client might benefit from regular mindfulness practice, ask them to download Mindfulness Coach (Available for IOS and Android) and show them that it only takes a few taps to  access the Seated Practice exercise. If you have time, do the Seated Practice exercise together in session, for the added benefit of a mindful moment and social modeling.

Happy Holidays?

Holidays have a reputation for joy and cheer, but in reality can be tough for many people, especially those who are already struggling. Year-end holidays can also represent a difficult time for therapists, who might be juggling clients' schedules with their own reduced availability, all during a time in which increased support is often necessary. Having plans with clients that detail how they can amp up self-management of symptoms during this time can help provide an additional layer of support.

Check out these ideas for app recommendations to share with clients:

Is your client dreading seeing Aunt Edna and hearing her constant criticism?

Point them to Mindfulness Coach, which can help them practice ways to purposefully attend to something a bit more pleasant.

Do you have a patient who is trying to manage their drinking around imbibing holiday revelers?

VetChange has interactive tools for alcohol use management, and ideas for how to stay in control.

Does PTSD make large crowds during holiday shopping hard to bear?

Share PTSD Coach with your clients, and encourage them to rate their SUDS after practicing each tool, to see what works for them.

Want to give your clients a way to quickly access crisis resources?

Help them download one of the apps that has a quick link to the Crisis Hotline, which can save them from having to dial the number.

 Worried that holiday travel might disrupt sleep?

Encourage them to keep CBT-i Coach in their pockets, which has comprehensive sleep hygiene info and interactive diary and tool components

Client have an Android device? Check out the VA Suite on Google Play