The Ultimate Guide to Apps for Online Therapy

apps for online therapy

In the sea of therapy apps, finding the perfect fit can be daunting. This guide reveals the key to choosing the ideal app for online therapy, creating a balance between functionality, security, and client engagement to enhance your practice.

Are you feeling overwhelmed by all the digital apps and platforms out there? All practitioners are already familiar with the concept of information overload, but the digital world can often do just that. As you guide your clients to creating a more balanced mind, perhaps you also need some help managing your apps for online therapy?

On the one hand, there are generic apps that cover the well-being of everyday users. On the other hand, there are specific apps for online therapy that cover your legal and back-office needs.

The question for you is how can you find the best app for online therapy that combines both effectiveness and client engagement? Every practitioner is different, so you’ll need to review what you need as well as your style and approach. This guide will get you started on your research.

As a starting point, why not sign up for Quenza’s full-access platform for 1 month for only $1 and play around with the vast suite of tools, client exercises, and other functions? Often, the best way to find the right app for counselors or therapists is to simply have a go.

Chapter 1

Why Embrace Online Therapy?

Whilst digital tools and platforms have existed for a while, it was the pandemic that brought them to the forefront. The industry responded with a range of digital startups coming onto the market as well as major interest from investors.

It’s easy to see why. After all, apps for online therapy offer convenience and greater accessibility to mental support. People who live in remote areas or who can’t afford to meet face-to-face with a therapist have also greatly benefited.

The flip side is that it seems that the bubble might be bursting. Time magazine carried out some research in 2022 that shows that several psychologists are not seeing the benefits that research indicates with regard to apps for online therapy. It seems that many of these apps are led by highly entrepreneurial teams who might not have the right balance between getting advice and recommendations from mental health professionals [1].

Balancing bottom-line needs with providing an exceptional user experience has always been a challenge for anyone who runs a business. As a therapist or counselor, this is your opportunity to add value and create an exceptional experience.

For instance, Quenza’s vast library of exercises, worksheets, meditations, and more allows you to build unique and tailored journeys for your clients. With the range of metaphor exercises you can also choose from, Quenza’s library can help you create the sense of playfulness and externalization that often comes with working with metaphors[2].

Finding a way to collaborate with apps for online therapy that prioritizes your clients’ needs while supporting your style is the key. Digital apps are here to stay, and even if the bubble is bursting, this usually means the industry is refocusing and rebalancing.

The American Psychological Association (APA) predicts that mergers and acquisitions between health apps will continue with the aim of better-serving clients and practitioners. In short, the pressure on all these digital apps is to show evidence and data of their effectiveness. Many lack that ability, which is why they look for business partners.

Moreover, as the APA states, apps are “part of a continuum of care” rather than a focused crutch. As such, the industry is moving towards apps that can support a wide range of problems[3]. It’s worth bearing this in mind as you choose the right app for your practice.

After all, people are whole systems with multiple facets where multiple methodologies are often required.

Chapter 2

Choosing the Best App for Online Therapy

Choosing the best app for online therapy starts with making sure it’s HIPAA and GDPR compliant. From there, you should also check their privacy policy and how they store and share data. When you use apps for online therapy, you essentially become their ambassador. Clients trust you to do your due diligence.

Once you’re comfortable with the security aspect, you’ll need to think about how the apps for online therapy, along with the data they capture, can be integrated into your process. For example, with Quenza, you can create Pathways which are a series of steps in a client’s journey. Each step is either an exercise or worksheet that is then recorded on your client’s individually accessed portal. So, how will you review your client’s answers to the exercises and check them alongside your own psychotherapy notes to ensure the goals are on track?

When working with apps for online therapy, you also have to feel comfortable bringing clients on board. One way to check for yourself is to think about how you would talk to someone through the app as you work through the trial option.

Most digital apps for online therapy offer some form of trial specifically because everyone is different. Not only do you have your own style and approach but you also work with a particular type of client. Keep them in mind as you work through your trial whilst also keeping the following categories on your checklist.

Chapter 3

Online Therapy App Features

CategoryWhat to Look For
InterfaceThe best way to determine if the interface and general feel of an app work for you is by signing up for the trial. You can still review their website but you want apps to be experiential, so the best way is to experience them. 
Security & PrivacyYour first basic check is whether the app follows regulations such as HIPAA and GDPR. In addition, do some due diligence on who is behind the app and what expertise they bring. 
MethodologiesThere are a wide range of psychology methodologies to choose from and apps tend to cover most of them. Again, you might want to check for yourself the level of depth of clinical or research-based knowledge that has been used to develop the app. 
Back office supportFirst, consider whether you want a full practice management software or simply specific support such as for scheduling or invoicing. Secondly, check that their processes have the level of customization you need. 
CostYou have to pay for good service but the good news is that it can be very reasonable at tens of dollars per month.  
Customer supportAs you review the various apps, you might want to connect with the support team to get a sense of how they respond.  

Chapter 4

Exploring Apps for Psychologists

Whilst there is clearly an overlap, psychologists are more likely to need apps for online therapy that support them in managing their research and interns. As a therapist, you might get involved in research but generally, you need apps specifically catered for clients and most probably to help you with your back office processes.

Of course, the words psychologist and therapist are used interchangeably and the majority of apps have some form of client-facing portal. We’ll look into some examples in more detail in the next section.

A specific app for psychologists would generally involve processes and resources to help them streamline their processes. That way, they have more time for their interns, patients, data analysis and reporting to their stakeholders.

Aside from clinical psychologists, practicing psychologists might prefer apps like Quenza that offer a range of exercises and worksheets to their clients. Alternatively, they might look for something specific that aligns with their training. For instance, ACT therapy to support someone with OCD. Again, we’ll look at more details in the next section.

Examples of Apps for Psychologists

3D BrainThis is a particularly useful app for psychology students who want some support remembering and exploring the various parts of the brain. D Brain was created from the Genes to Cognition (G2C) Online website funded by the Dana Foundation and Hewlett Foundation[4].
DSM-5 Diagnostic CriteriaA useful and quick reference app to the DSM where clinical practitioners can easily and quickly reference the DSM throughout their day. The aim is to provide information more effectively to better serve patients. 
CognissThis app for psychologists is specifically designed for clinical research. A list of features that can be easily combined into tailored apps to suit any team whether in research, behavior change or patient improvement. Led by a team of experts in neuroscience, psychology and data science. 

Chapter 5

Top Apps for Therapists

Practicing psychologists, or therapists and counselors, tend to need apps for online therapy that offer back office and client support. So, for instance, several apps for online therapy offer the full suite of practice management processes.

Alternatively, many apps for online therapy focus on providing a range of therapy methods. These could be anything from CBT and ACT to family therapy and DBT. Although, as previously mentioned, it seems that the apps that offer a range of methodologies are perhaps more effective.

It all comes down to how you, the practitioner, use whatever app for therapists you decide to go for. So, will you be using an app for individual or group therapy? What about getting creative input into the exercises and experiential moments you create for your clients?

Whatever you need, you’ll also need to make sure you feel comfortable with whatever apps for online therapy you choose. That means making sure you are happy with their privacy policy as well as how they actually developed the app.

With the growth of so many apps for online therapy, many of them haven’t been professionally reviewed or validated. As a result, it’s reassuring to see who is on the leadership team and if they have a psychology or clinical background.

The APA themselves haven’t officially given a view on apps for online therapy. Furthermore, they stress that every psychologist, therapist and counselor is responsible for their ethical obligations, which include double-checking which app you work with[5].

That’s not to say you shouldn’t work with an app for therapists. Just make sure you do your homework. Although, the table below can help get you started.

Specialty Apps for Online Therapy

AppFocusDeveloped By
Mindshift CBTCBT evidence-based app with tools, meditations, tracking functions, community peer support and more to relieve anxiety. The non-profit Anxiety Canada is behind this app aimed at providing evidence-based resources to those with anxiety. As a therapist, you won’t necessarily access it but you can recommend it if you feel it could work for your clients. 
ACT CompanionOffers a range of exercises and tools taken from ACT therapy.Based on the book by Dr. Russ Harris, The Happiness Trap. 
Manatee AppA family therapy app that provides daily activities and virtual sessions as well as ongoing communication. As a therapist, you can apply to join the clinical team as a contractor, part-time or full-time colleague. Backed by a team of clinicians, psychologists and wellness experts. 
BetterHelpAs a licensed therapist, you can join the team to be connected with clients. You can run individual chats, phone or video sessions and group sessions. A team of counselors, experts and entrepreneurs. 
DBT CoachAn app that therapists leveraging Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) can recommend to their clients to practice in between sessions. Behavioral Tech Institute
Art TherapyA coloring app for adults that can be a useful aid for therapists. Homework can be both creative and reflective as clients learn to tap into different parts of themselves through the mandala, geometric patterns or other art designs. A few different ones currently exist but these rely more heavily on the therapist’s expertise as they simply provide a channel for artistic expression. 

Chapter 6

Focusing on Apps for Counselors

The debate within the mental health industry on the difference between counselors and therapists has been going on for some time. Depending on where you practice, you’ll also have your own definition.

Generally, counselors tend to come from a wide range of backgrounds and tend to focus more on personal strengths and resources. Therapists tend to have a psychology background and focus more on the pathology of their clients. In many ways, counselors overlap with coaches in the sense that they build on current resources to create a better future.  On the other hand, therapists tend to work with more disturbed clients[6].

With all that in mind, Quenza caters well as an app for counselors. Through its exercises and worksheets, Quenza incorporates a coaching style of strength-building with evidence-based methodologies. It is especially important to incorporate a monitoring system to keep track of your client’s progress.

Alongside building a transformational journey for your clients, as a counselor, you might also look for apps for online therapy that allow you to streamline your processes. In addition, you might prioritize working with an app that offers continuing education courses, such as BetterHelp, or peer networking, such as Therapist Network.

Either way, you’ll need to do your research so that you can find the app for counselors that allows you to create the balance that works for you. The following table gives you just a few ideas of some major apps for online therapy.

Most Popular Counseling Apps

TalkSpace Counseling & TherapyGood for both therapy and psychiatry and accepts insurance. Also includes clinical tracking, live chats, video sessions and in-app self-help exercises and workshops. 
Simple Practice for CliniciansOffers a paperless practice management approach where everything is covered including scheduling, therapy notes, messaging, invoicing and more. 
TheraNestA practice management and electronic medical records software that brings in both staff and clients.  
QuenzaA practice management software that also creates personalized experiences for your clients. The vast library of exercises, worksheets, meditation, metaphors and more can be customized as one-offs or combined into sequences.  

Chapter 7

User Reviews and Testimonials

If you’ve started researching apps for online therapy, you’ll know that there are many user reviews and testimonials out there. As we’ve mentioned, this is only one part of the story. You still need to do your due diligence with regard to privacy and evidenced methodologies.

We’ve already mentioned a range of apps for online therapy for you to test out for yourself. In terms of Quenza, you’ll also see that the team includes several people with a background in psychology. Most specifically, one of the founders is a psychologist and researcher and part of the original team of 2 who created the renowned site Positive Psychology.

You can make an informed choice by looking at comprehensive reviews of apps for online therapy. Platforms like Capterra, G2, and SoftwareAdvice offer real and in-depth reviews of apps tailored for mental health professionals. To give you some examples of what people are saying about Quenza:

  1. “Quenza’s standout feature is its versatility. With a user-friendly interface, a wide variety of treatments, exercises, and meditations, as well as customizable options and care pathways, it offers endless possibilities for tailoring the counseling experience to each client’s unique needs and creating a personalized approach. It is a comprehensive and powerful tool for therapists seeking to engage clients and facilitate meaningful progress.” – Retrieved from Getapp
  2. “Maybe the best program customization on the market. Suited for complex trainings.” – Retrieved from CoursePlatformsReview
  3. “Their customer support is responsive and most supportive. Thank you so much for all the work that all of you do.” – Retrieved from Capterra

Whatever you decide when it comes to working with apps for online therapy, remember that the apps are only as good as how you use them. The aim is to partner your expertise with their platform to offer something that is truly different for the benefit of your clients.

Where to Next for Your Apps for Online Therapy? 

Apps for online therapy have brought a new dynamism and creativity to the world of mental health. In practical terms, more people than ever can access the support they need.

In systemic terms, mental health professionals can add depth to their clients’ journeys and integrate interventions into their everyday lives. By being able to practice and observe themselves in situ, clients are more likely to have those a-ha moments that lead to long-lasting change. 

To choose the best app for online therapy, you first need to decide what you need it for and how you will use it. If you’re looking for an all-in-one platform that covers both your processes and client interventions, Quenza has you covered.

With Quenza, you have a suite of exercises, worksheets, metaphors, and many more tools to keep your clients engaged in between sessions. You can also free up your time to support even more clients thanks to Quenza’s automated processes for invoicing, scheduling, note taking and more.

If you’re still unsure how to deal with the multitude of apps for online therapy, why not get the $1 only 1-month trial with Quenza? You’ll get full access to the whole practice management suite of tools as well as the client interface functions.

Not only will you up your game but you’ll create memorable moments that clients can keep referring back to for that long-lasting change they dream of. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Everyone has a different definition of what the best looks like. Nevertheless, make sure you choose apps that have a solid foundation. That includes clear privacy policies and adherence to HIPAA and GDPR compliance regulations. You also want to ensure that they are evidence-based. 

Most apps these days are very intuitive. As long as you’re familiar with the basic drag-and-drop function, everything will come naturally to you. To give you extra reassurance, make sure their customer support team is responsive.

This is where it gets tricky. The sheer volume of apps and the speed at which the industry has grown have made it virtually impossible for research to keep up. Nevertheless, check that the team behind the app has solid credentials. 

If this is a key criterion for you, look for apps that integrate insurance processes and third parties, as many do. 

Most apps have some form of basic functionality for a trial but generally, to get the most out of any app, you’ll need to subscribe to their services.


  1. ^ Ducharme, J. (2022) The Online Therapy Bubble Is Bursting. Time.
  2. ^ Clarke, H. (2012) Dwell in possibility: an exploration of the use of metaphor in psychotherapy: a project based on interviews with fourteen psychotherapists. Smith College, Northampton.
  3. ^ DeAngelis, T. (2023) As funding cools, venture capitalists shift investments in mental health. American Psychological Association.
  4. ^ DNALC (n.d.)3D Brain App. DNA Learning Center.
  5. ^ APA (2023) What psychologists need to know about online therapy services. American Psychological Association.
  6. ^ McLeod, J. (2013) An Introduction to Counselling. 5th Edition. Open University Press McGraw-Hill Education, UK and Two Penn Plaza, NY.

About the author

Anne is a coach-counselor with a background in neuroscience, mindfulness, Gestalt therapy, and adult developmental theory.

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