Post-traumatic stress disorder apps

Apps for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

There are a number of mobile phone apps and online tools for PTSD. They can help you monitor your symptoms which can be shared with your health care professional.

PTSD means getting stuck in re-experiencing a traumatic event. Your body and mind act like the event is still happening, right now, even though it is in the past. It keeps your body in a fight or flight response. PTSD can lead to depression, self-harm and suicidal thoughts. If you or someone you know might have PTSD, it’s important to get help. Read more about PTSD.

On this page you will find information on:

App reviews: PTSD apps

App Features Clinical review
CPT Coach

  • Based on cognitive processing therapy (CPT) principles 
  • Tasks
  • Reminders
  • Worksheets
  • Education and information
  • Available from App Store and Google Play
  • Cost: free
  • Read more about CPT Coach
PTSD Coach

  • Self-help tools
  • Symptom tracking
  • Education and information
  • Self-assessment
  • Available from Google Play and iTunes
  • Cost: free
  • Read more about PTSD Coach
 
PE Coach 2

  • Based on prolonged exposure (PE) therapy principles
  • Distress management techniques
  • Reminders
  • Record therapy sessions
  • Available from Google Play and iTunes
  • Cost: free
  • Read more about PE Coach 2
T2 Mood Tracker

  • Mood tracking
  • Reminders
  • Graphs and reports for sharing
  • Available from Google Play and iTunes
  • Cost: free
  • Read more about T2 Mood Tracker

PTSD apps – help me choose

There are a variety of apps aimed at supporting people with PTSD. These apps differ in their features and functionality and choosing between the apps is challenging because many of them have been developed without any input from healthcare professionals or undergone objective assessment. A study by Sander et al, 2020 outlined the following treatment and self-help methods for PTSD.1

  • Psychoeducation
    • About stress responses & reaction to trauma
    • About strategies of managing arousal & flashbacks
    • About safety planning
  • Emotional regulation & coping skills
    • Acquisition & consolidation of cognitive, behavioural & social skills
    • Skills to reduce and control arousal, distress & anxiety
  • Cognitive processing, restructuring & meaning making
    • Affirmations
    • Thought stopping, removing problematic cognitive strategies
    • Analysing the meaning of the event; writing a trauma narrative
  • Processing trauma-related emotions & beliefs
    • Processing emotions (e.g. shame, guilt, anger)
    • Targeting beliefs (e.g. safety, trust, power-control, esteem)
    • Training to challenge distorted beliefs about the event
    • Adaptive reappraisal of trauma – generated beliefs about self & others
  • Reorganization of memory processes
    • Elaboration and processing of trauma memories
    • Correcting autobiographical memory
  • Identifying triggers for flashbacks
  • Imaginal &/in vivo exposure
    • Preparation (e.g. building a fear hierarchy)
    • Help to reduce or overcome avoidance
    • Exposure to traumatic events
    • Written exposure recounting the trauma
  • Breathing retraining
  • Relaxation exercises
  • EMDR-related exercises
    • Bilateral eye movements during sustained recall of trauma memories
    • Attention to a back and forth movement or sound
  • Self-care and structuring of everyday life
    • Healthy diet
    • Exercise (increasing physical activity)
    • Sleep regulation
    • Daily structure
    • Energizing activities
  • Accepting support and asking for help from others
    • Expressing personal needs
    • Verbalizing feelings
    • Appreciating good intentions from others
  • Homework assignments

Learn more

Apps for PTSD PsyberGuide

References

  1. ‘Help for trauma from the app stores?’ A systematic review and standardised rating of apps for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Eur J Psychotraumatol. 2020 
  2. Posttraumatic stress disorder and mobile health: App investigation and scoping literature review JMIR Mhealth Uhealth. 2017 Oct; 5(10): e156.

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