Media Technology

MoodKIt: A practical app for CBT

Review by Becky Jamison

Media Technology Chair

1/3/2016

One of the struggles of being an effective mental health counselor is getting clients to put things into practice between sessions.  If you use cognitive behavior therapy, here is a great scientifically grounded app I learned about at a recent Beck Institute training to use with clients who have smart phones. It is call MoodKit, and it is like a workbook clients can take with them everywhere to use when the situation is still fresh in their minds. No more lost worksheets, no more completed assignments left at home, and no need to have piles of printed out sheets to give to clients. Besides that, it is fun and filled with great ideas. It’s not free, but at $4.99 it is within most client’s budgets and is something they can continue to use after they have completed therapy.

What does MoodKit contain?









MoodKit contains four integrated mood improvement tools:

Activities - Individuals can choose from 150 specific suggestions in the areas of productivity, enjoyment, physical, or healthy habits, or custom activities can be added. These are designed to help individuals increase their pleasure and fun, gain a sense of achievement, enhance their relationships with others, become more active, and improve their self-care.

Thought Checker - Individuals are walked through a process to manage their feelings by identifying and modifying the underlying thoughts. There is a wheel of emotions to choose from, and ratings from 1-10 on the strength of the emotion both before and after modifying the thought.

Mood Tracker - Individuals can track their mood, including daily averages and daily range of mood, over a 7 day or 30 day period. These charts can be exported to email where they can be saved or used as a part of their treatment in counseling. 

Journal - The journal not only records whatever information you want to type in, it records Activity notes, Thought Checker sessions, and Mood Tracker notes. It also has 18 templates with helpful, focusing questions, including:

o Accomplishing goals

o    Asserting yourself  

o    Enhancing motivation 

o     Envisioning success  

o     Evaluating predictions

o Expressing Gratitude

o     Finding wisdom

o     Food Log

o   Living Your Values

o   Managing Your Time

o   Prioritizing Tasks

o   Productive Worrying

o   Recognizing Strengths

o   Savoring Experiences

o   Saying No

o   Shifting Perspective

o Sleep Log

o   Solving Problems

Or you can make your own template!

Who Developed MoodKit

MoodKit was developed by two psychologists, Edrick Dorian and Drew Erhardt. 

Dr. Edrick Dorian is a licensed Clinical and Police Psychologist. He received his Psy.D. in Clinical Psychology from Pepperdine University and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center. Dr. Dorian is a diplomate of the Academy of Cognitive Therapy and board certified in both Clinical Psychology and Police & Public Safety Psychology by the American Board of Professional Psychology. 
Dr. Drew Erhardt is a licensed Psychologist and tenured Professor of Psychology at Pepperdine University. He received his BA degree from the University of Virginia and his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from UCLA. Dr. Erhardt developed the current Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) curriculum for Pepperdine University's doctoral program in Clinical Psychology and has been teaching CBT to graduate students for over 20 years. 

I have not had a chance to try MoodKit with clients yet, since I just found out about it. I am enjoying trying it out on myself, however, and so far it seems pretty intuitive to use. There is a lot in this app that I think could be really helpful for clients. It is a lot more fun to use than filling out a typical paper-based thought record, and my hope is that it will increase homework compliance. Plus, once clients are done with counseling, how likely are they to print off their own thought records? But they will still have their phone and their MoodKit. For those counselors who don't want to use the app during counseling, it could be introduced during the final sessions to help with relapse prevention. My only problem so far with the app has been remembering all the many different things I can do with it. MoodKit has compressed the effective essence of Cognitive Behavior Therapy into a great app to use with clients, and for clients to be able to use on their own. You can learn more about MoodKit at http://www.thriveport.com/products/moodkit/

Disclaimer: Information printed in The Collaborator does not represent an official NHMHCA policy or position, nor does it constitute recommendation, endorsement, or approval by NHMHCA or any reviewed service or product. NHMHCA reserves the right to edit or reject all copy. 


App Review – The Virtual Hope Box

By Becky Jamison

Media Technology Chair

4/12/2015

During a workshop for Depression and Suicidality at the Beck Institute this last August, the trainer, Daniella Cavenaugh, introduced me to a great app for use with clients who are suicidal. It is called the Virtual Hope Box. This app is available for iPhones or Android phones. It is simple to use and visually appealing.  The Virtual Hope Box was developed by a team led by research psychologist Nigel Bush of the Defense Department’s National Center for Telehealth and Technology. It is being used by the Veterans Administration as a part of their Dialectical Behavior Therapy for suicidal veterans. The Virtual Hope Box is basically a “self-soothing box” for distress tolerance. Instead of putting things in an actual shoe box, clients can use something they will most likely have with them when they need it – their cell phone.

The Virtual Hope Box includes five different sections:

·         Remind Me – In this section clients can add visual or audio reminders that are helpful to them. Visual reminders could be photos of family, friends, or pets, or even videos of memorable events. Audio reminders could be songs that put them in a good frame of mind, or a special message from a loved one.

·         Distract Me – This section is already populated with four games: Sudoku Puzzles (easy, medium, hard, and expert), Photo Puzzle (simple puzzles are created from your own photos – you can choose easy, medium or hard levels), Word Search, and Mahjong Solitaire.

·         Relax Me - This section contains five separate areas. Controlled Breathing guides clients through customizable breathing exercises. They can choose to have it verbally prompted or not. They can use the included rainforest or beaches photos, or upload their own photos. There are multiple background music options they can choose, they can download their own music, or they can choose to have no music at all. Even the timing of the inhale and exhale can be customized to fit the clients’ needs.

·         Relax Me – This section contains 95 inspiring quotes with the option of a daily reminder sent at whatever time they choose. Clients can also add their own favorite quotes.

·         Coping Tools – You can use this section to create Coping Cards and help clients plan positive activities. The Coping Cards have a place to specify the problem area, emotions & symptoms, and useful coping skills for the particular problem. The Activity Planner includes a list of possible activities with the ability to add more. It also includes a calendar for when clients will start the activity and enables them to invite friends in their contact list via text message or email.

The Virtual Hope Box also has a place for Support Contacts. Here clients can list the phone numbers of a few special people (or agencies, or hotlines) that they can call in an emergency. These numbers are easily accessible from every section of the app.

I am currently using the Virtual Hope Box with suicidal clients and clients who are at risk for drug relapse. It is easy to navigate and fun to use. So far, clients seem to be excited to give it a try.

  • If you’d like to give it a try, just go to you phone’s app store and search for Virtual Hope Box. It’s free. Once you've downloaded it onto your phone, you might find it helpful yourself in keeping a positive outlook whenever life gets you down. 

Winter Media Technology Update

4/12/2015

As many of you have probably noticed, I have been working to move any content on the Members Only site to the regular public site. The reason the Board decided to do this is because so many members were having trouble remembering which email they were using to access the site and what password they had chosen. I tried various ways of making it simpler, but each had its own issues. Finally, the Board unanimously decided to have all content on the public site for now. The Members Only site is still there, and it does not cost us anything. We are just not using it.

Moving all the content to the public site has brought it to some members’ attention that we need to get more content up on the Collaborator page. We currently have no Publications Chair or committee, which makes this more difficult. If anyone is interested in stepping up to support our guild in this way, we would love to have you on the Board or in a committee.

What I would really like to know is who is using our website and how? Do you know of any clients who have found your practice through using the Find a Counselor pages? I, personally, think clients are just surfing the web directly for counselors in their area, not coming to NHMHCA, but perhaps some of you have had a different experience. Are members trying to connect with other members through the Find a Counselor pages? If this is the case, then it might be better to set it up in a different way. Have you registered for events by filling out a form on the web? If so, what was your experience like? Did you pay through PayPal? How did that go? Have you joined or renewed membership online? Did that go smoothly? Some of you have been kind enough to let me know when you have had a problem, and this helps immensely. So please, feel free to send me an email (mediatechnology@nhmhca.org) and let me know your experiences on the website. I can’t guarantee I can make everyone happy, but it helps to know what people like and dislike.

~Becky Jamison

Media Technology Chair