Saturday, January 18, 2014

App Review: Cognitive behavioral therapy of anxiety with SAM

Anxiety disorders have a large spectrum of effects.  Excessive anxiety or pathological levels of anxiety is a very common complain in any mental health practice.  Pathologically high levels of anxiety will require specific therapeutic approach, but for all those patients who need light to moderate help; for all those patients who need a bit of guidance to explore for themselves there own problem in-between two appointments, this app might be a good solution.  

SAM app has been developed  in collaboration with a research team from University of the West of England, Bristol.  It is a CBT of the second and third wave approach that includes aspects of mindfulness.  It ask patient to recognize physical discomfort, emotions, thoughts and desire to avoid anxiogenic stimuli.  It will plot the self reports so you and the patient can observe the progress of the therapy.  SAM offers general but accurate information about anxiety.  It also offers lots of coping tools with many level of "difficulty": physical relaxation, mental relaxation, managing your thoughts, gradual exposition to the emotion or to the anxiogenic stimuli, offers general health recommendation and ways to stop avoidance.  You can choose what works best and build from that.  The app offers social cloud so you can share your thoughts in a forum.  After glancing over the posts, I would not recommend  this feature to my patients, and I would ask them to stay away from it.  It does not create any advantages and risks, actually, reinforcing thoughts of anxiety or despair. 

The other drawback is that this app does not seem to possess a password to access the app and all it's very personal content (thoughts, progress, etc.).  All in all, if your patient locks his mobile device, this app represent a serious tool for battling anxiety.

For more information visit the SAM website [here]

Health Psychologist / Neuropsychologist
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