The DBT iPhone App
This is the most useful and comprehensive DBT app that I have seen so far. It contains a number of very useful features. Prominently there is an excellent interactive DBT diary in three parts: (1) DBT skills, (2) behavior targets, and (3) a place to record notes. Within the skills section of the diary, you can toggle a yes/no switch to indicate whether you’ve practiced the skill today. The “settings” section of the app allows you to customize the skills and add comment boxes where you want them. This skills diary section also provides brief descriptions of the DBT skills—which are also accessible for review from the app home screen. The “Targets” section of the diary invites you to track on a 1-5 scale your feelings (the defaults are: joy, pride, anxiety, anger, sadness, disgust, guilt, shame, pain; but the list is customizable); thoughts (customizable defaults: self-injurious, drug use urges, binge urges, impulsive urges), and behaviors (customizable defaults: drug use behaviors, lying, impulsive behaviors, stealing, overeating). The “Notes” section is open format and includes a day and time stamp. The app stores information from the diary card and is accessible by date from the main menu. The “Graphics and Logs” link from the app home screen is designed to create .pdfs of your cumulative diary information.
From the home screen, you can also access the “Coaching feature,” from which you’ll be given the option of “911 skills” as well as the skills for the four DBT modules. Here’s where this app gets really nifty: Click “911 Skills” and you will have the opportunity to link music and phone apps of your choice, contacts from your phone, and other “quick skills.” This is not a full distress tolerance toolkit, but it makes creative use of the format to put DBT skills at your fingertips. The other “coaching” sections attempt to link up skills and implementation. In some cases, the app offers suggestions for applying a particular skill. For example, under the “Observing” skill in Mindfulness, the app recommends attending to sounds in nature, positions of the body, kids playing, activities around you, tastes, and input from the other senses. In other cases, the app provides an interactive forum for using the skills. For example, under the “Pros and Cons” skill in Distress Tolerance, the app prompts for a description of the troubling situation, then asks for pros and cons of tolerating and not tolerating the distress. Answers to each of the four parts of “Pros and Cons” appear together on one screen. On the following screen, you can rate how well the skill worked.
The technical settings include options to email the diary card (including coaching sessions) to yourself or your therapist; offers achievement badges (hey, we all need a gold star every now and then), passcode protection, and daily reminders.
DBT has a tremendous amount to offer. The above description may sound daunting; there are a lot of moving parts to this app. The interface can, however, be learned in pieces. One might start with the diary card, then begin exploring the other features later on. I highly recommend it as a useful way of tracking DBT skill use and staying motivated to practice skills.
More information here.