The Online Clinical Toolbox is a new feature for the CSCSW community to share useful online resources for clients and clinicians. Please send descriptions of your favorite applications, websites, podcasts, or blogs along with a short explanation of how you or your clients have used/benefited from them to Rizzotti.firstname.lastname@example.org.
The suggestions made here are for you to check out and determine their usefulness for you or your clients.
A wealth of research supports the benefits of meditation for both clients and therapists. The following free or low-priced apps provide mindfulness tools that both clients and clinicians can use that may facilitate change in how they relate to cognitions and emotions.
Stop, Breathe, and Think App: This app recommends guided meditations, video sessions of yoga, gratitude practices, and grounding techniques based on how one is feeling physically, mentally, and emotionally. Starting with 10 seconds of closing the eyes, the app will then ask how the client is doing physically, mentally, and emotionally. It will then provide a meditation or yoga routine of 5-9 minutes and if the client purchases a membership, other tools such as mindful eating and breathing techniques can be unlocked. After the mindfulness practice is used, the app checks in with the clients’ physical, mental, and emotional wellness and creates a visual graph of the progress of the client daily. With a gaming feature that aims to encourage a daily mindfulness practice through “badges” and “trophies,” this tool is fairly easy to use and has the potential to change clients’ relationship to mindfulness if hesitancy is expressed initially. Find it at stopbreathethink.com.
Insight Timer: This app provides music, interval bells, ambient sound, as well as guided meditations and movement exercises that may help clients increase self-compassion, gratitude, and improve mood. By typing in key words such as anxiety, depression, focus, or mood, clients can find meditations that may help them with current issues they’re facing. Although it is not as customizable as Stop, Breathe, and Think, it provides 11,000+ meditations of varying lengths from 2 minutes to an hour from many meditation teachers and has a feature in which clients can journal their feelings and thoughts after the meditation is over. In addition, there is a community feature in which clients can see other people who are meditating with them at the same time. While some clients may find it overwhelming due to the amount of choices provided, exposure to the app during a session can be helpful. In addition, there are some Spanish meditations provided on the app. Find it at insighttimer.com.
Headspace: For those who find meditation “too feel good” or “cheesy,” a more irreverent humorous approach may be found in the app Headspace. Guided by a UK meditation teacher, it has a playful upbeat approach to meditation that may resonate with some clients who doubt the benefits of meditation. Find it at headspace.com.
Relax Meditation: For the clients who are struggling to fall asleep, are creative, and have a desire to customize their meditations, the app Relax Meditation provides an opportunity to create a looped soundtrack with soothing nature sounds, instrumentation, white noise, and more. The app also provides meditations specific for sleep, dreaming, recharging, and reducing anxiety, but this is for an extra membership charge. Overall, this app’s free features may be more useful for clients who resonate more with sound versus guided meditations. Find it at the iTunes store.
Whether clients and clinicians use meditation in or out of session, it can provide benefits to some. Try one of these apps and let us know what you think, or comment with an app you don’t see listed.
Alessandra Rizzotti (ACSW 83520, MSW, RYT-200) is a Psychiatric Social Worker 1 who will be based at DMH’s American Indian Counseling Center this fall. She has experience with a variety of modalities including DBT, CBT, ACT, PE, grief support, and yoga. As a current volunteer at The Trevor Project, she has provided suicide prevention and crisis intervention, and was formerly the full-time Communications Manager there. She has a 10-year career in media working for the social impact media company GOOD, as well as various TV and film studios. You can contact her at Rizzotti.email@example.com and alessandrarizzotti.com.