For well over 2 decades, I’ve been a big fan of the clinical guided imagery developed by Belleruth Naparstek and distributed though her company Health Journeys. I was introduced to her guided imagery by my colleague and friend, Atlanta psychotherapist Cynthia Smith. Through my formative years as a young Clinical Social Worker, Cynthia was my reference point for good judgment, outstanding clinical direction and she was a deep and wise guide for my own introspection. I could always count on her good guidance and she was so right about Belleruth, whose soothing hypnotic voice is a prominent feature on her vast list of guided imageries. Belleruth blogged about 5 FREE mobile apps useful in managing the symptoms of PTSD, Anxiety & Stress. I’ve checked them out and offer you my thoughts about several of them.
The Apps are all targeted toward those who suffer from PTSD, Stress & Anxiety. The 5 Apps are Breathe 2 Relax, PTSD Coach, T2 Mood Tracker, eCBT Trauma & one called PTSD Eraser. Most could likewise be used by a therapist to help collaboratively instruct, manage and co-track a client’s symptoms.
I knew about and have been recommending PTSD Coach. It was developed by the National Center for PTSD and The National Center for Telehealth and Technology. It can be personalized, like several of the others, which is a great feature. I’ve checked out Breathe 2 Relax, which I highly recommend. Like the PTSD Coach, it is customizable and it offers an audio/visual tutorial covering the finer points of using diaphragmatic breathing for stress relief.
I tried the T2 Mood Tracker and like the PTSD Coach it has a symptom tracking feature. Each time you use it you rate your symptoms of Stress, Anxiety, PTSD, TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury) Depression & General Well-Being. Then you can see and track your progress in a visual form. These are all cool tools and I’m pleased to point you to them. Most of them are now available for Android and IPhone products and can be found in the App stores for your device.
Below I’m putting a link to the blog by Belleruth. Please pass this along to anyone who might benefit from these FREE Apps and be sure to check out her guided imagery – there are lots of free samples on the Health Journeys site. I’ve found her guided imagery series on PTSD to be most helpful for my patients wrestling with the symptoms of PTSD and related disorders. Her book “Invisible Heroes” is great and I’ve used the scripts from her book to make personalized guided imageries, in my own voice, for my patients.
Finally, I want to say a BIG “Thank-You” to you Belleruth for your many years of consistently wonderful work.
ADDENDUM – June 2014 – Virtual Hope Box App
The National Center for Telehealth and Technology has developed another great App for help with “coping, relaxing, distraction and positive thinking“. Here is a brief description from the developer: “The VHB provides help with emotional regulation and coping with stress via personalized supportive audio, video, pictures, games, mindfulness exercises, positive messages and activity planning, inspirational quotes, coping statements, and other tools.”
One of the most confounding symptoms of PTSD is the relative loss of the ability to regulate emotional and physical states. When symptoms of PTSD intrude into our daily lives (flashbacks, stuck in thoughts or reminders of the trauma, nightmares, physically “on alert” or numb/foggy/blank, collapsed, anxious and panicky ) they interfere with the normal -going on about business- part of us. These symptoms take a terrible toll on our functioning and will affect health, relationships and work.
The Virtual Hope Box App is targeted toward improving your ability to stay within your Window of Tolerance (i.e. practice emotional regulation) which is an essential element of healing from PTSD. Remember “The Virtual Hope Box (VHB) is a free mobile application for behavioral health patients to use with guidance from their providers.”