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  • Technology + Mental Health: The Pros and Cons of Therapy Apps

    Technology + Mental Health: The Pros and Cons of Therapy Apps

    As in any industry, technology can be a blessing and curse. In the field of mental health, technology has allowed for opportunities like we’ve never seen before, specifically when it comes to increased accessibility through therapy apps. The pandemic helped popularize mental health apps, like BetterHelp and Talkspace, when everyone was at home and navigating the devastating side effects of navigating their life during a pandemic. As much as these apps are an amazing way to get therapy to the masses at more affordable prices, there are also some aspects to be aware of before diving in headfirst. Keep reading as we cover some of the pros and cons of therapy apps.




    Because apps can be accessed from smartphones or computers anywhere, treatment through therapy apps can take place at any location and at any time. They can also be extremely helpful for folks who have trouble making in-person appointments due to their work schedule, rural location, or childcare. 


    Creating an account on a therapy app doesn’t require the same communication with administrative professionals that setting up an in-person therapy appointment does. On most therapy apps, you can set everything up yourself and the only person you’ll be in contact with will be your therapist. 

    Great for first-timers:

    Building on the anonymity piece, therapy apps can be a great first step for folks who are new to therapy or have been hesitant to engage in the process.


    There are a ton of mental health apps out there now — even beyond therapy apps. The variety of technologies available may be more appealing than traditional mental health care, which may encourage clients to continue working on their mental health. 



    The number one concern with technological interventions is gathering scientific evidence that they work and that they work as well as traditional methods. Most mental health apps haven’t been rigorously researched to prove effectiveness. 


    In addition to the effectiveness of therapy apps being in question, there is little to no regulation in the mental health technology space because it is still so new. This also leads us to the question of who will or who should regulate mental health technology companies?


    Therapy apps specifically deal with very sensitive personal information so guaranteeing privacy for app users is vital. However, many mental health apps are not taking it seriously, according to a recent report. The lack of privacy can mean that users’ data is shared without permission and used for various — sometimes nefarious — purposes. 


    Combining mental health and technology can often blur ethical lines. There is a real concern that if an app or online therapy program promises more than it delivers through questionable marketing and advertising, consumers may turn away from other, more effective therapies that can truly help them. 

    The Bottom Line

    As you can see, there are legitimate pros and cons to using mental health therapy apps. Our take: proceed with caution. If you are new to therapy and just want to dip your toes in, and apps make most sense for your lifestyle and/or financial situation, we encourage you to try them out — any therapy is better than no therapy at all. We would just recommend you inquire about the company’s privacy policy and if they have reviewed the efficacy of their app. And if you are ready to take the next step and work with one dedicated therapist, reach out to us here at Mind Body Co-op. We have a staff of amazing clinicians ready to support you on your mental health journey. Read about our services, approach, and clinicians here.

    Mind Body Co-op is Chicago’s only space for individuals to discover, explore, and heal what is occurring internally at the cognitive, emotional, and physical levels. This unique, holistic approach to treatment and wellness is born out of the belief that examining the cognitive, emotional, and physical pieces and how they intersect helps lead to uncovering your full potential by providing thoughtful, collaborative, and complete integrative mental health care. We offer a variety of clinical services, including individual psychotherapy, group psychotherapy, psychological/neuropsychological assessments, medication management, CPT (comprehensive transitional program), medical nutrition therapy, somatic mindfulness, somatic groups, DBT, adventure therapy, therapeutic yoga, and more. We provide culturally competent services in English, Spanish, French, Polish, Hindi & Arabic.

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