For over a decade, online cognitive-behavioral therapy, or online CBT, has been a popular way to help patients manage a range of mental health challenges – from diabetes and depression to anxiety, addiction, substance abuse, and beyond.
Coupled with the speed of technological advancement and iCBT’s almost seamless compatibility with conventional healthcare, it stands to reason that practitioners are now spoiled for choice when it comes to online CBT software. Whether you’re new to e-therapy or after a few practical tips, this article will help you choose the best platform for your practice, and show you how to use it.
What Is Online Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy?
Online CBT, also known as iCBT or online cognitive-behavioral therapy, describes the provision of evidence-based care through the internet to help patients address their mental health challenges.
More specifically, it is a form of telepsychology that involves the delivery of CBT-based interventions, which can be therapist-guided or self-guided, using digital channels such as instant messaging, video, or interactive exercises.
Online CBT is often considered the integration of information technology and psychological treatment, and can be therapist-led or self-guided by clients.
Often thought of as an “…integration of information technology and psychological treatment,” online CBT is frequently directed at clients who are keen to manage symptoms of depression, anxiety, stress, and other mental health conditions.
Due to its demonstrated efficacy, cost-effectiveness, and convenience, iCBT has grown quickly as an intervention channel in comparison to traditional psychotherapy.
4 Steps To Provide Quality Online CBT
Designing and delivering a quality online CBT program involves planning, both to maximize the potential efficacy of the treatment itself, and to ensure it is properly aligned with the unique needs, goals, and interests of its intended user.
Some of the steps it involves include:
- Choosing suitable online CBT software
- Designing and delivering a suitable treatment protocol – or treatment planning, more generally
- Intervention design, if you intend to deliver your own interventions, and
- Ongoing therapist support and guidance, to build and maintain patient engagement.
What To Look For in a CBT Platform
We can get an even better idea of what effective online CBT software should do by looking at a study from Kumar and colleagues, which outlines the key features of internet compatible software for cognitive-behavioral therapy:
To design an example internet-based cognitive behavioral therapy program, as shown, practitioners require behavioral health software that:
- Is customizable, so that iCBT interventions can be delivered in a way that suits the patient’s needs and treatment context
- Can deliver content in multiple languages
- Users can access with personalized accounts, which most software achieves with Client Portals
- Can deliver iCBT through an app or webpage
- Supports multimedia uploads, and
- Protects patient confidentiality and privacy.
Today, many CBT software systems today offer a range of these functions – if not all – as an all-in-one solution.
6 Best Online CBT Software and Apps To Download
With all of these features in mind, these are a few good examples of popular online CBT software solutions that are available on the market today.
We’ve included some all-in-one solutions that will help you share professional interventions, and some standalone mental health apps if you’re looking for a tool to recommend to your clients.
Best CBT Software for Practitioners
These software solutions include both practice management software features and treatment planning functions.
|TheraNest is a robust practice management solution with treatment planning features for online CBT. It can be used to deliver online CBT through live sessions, with HIPAA-compliant videoconferencing features for telehealth.|
For practitioners who want to deliver real-time sessions rather than share their own interventions, TheraNest has a Client Portal that can accept payments, self-schedule, and fill out forms.
Some other capabilities it can help with include:
|Good For||Practice Management, Treatment Planning, Mental Health Coaching, Online Psychiatry|
|Quenza is ideal for designing and sharing professional online CBT solutions with clients through free mobile apps or any web browser. With quick and simple intervention design tools and a range of treatment planning features, it can be used to create custom interventions from scratch, but also provides a library of ‘Expansions,’ or personalizable templates for activities.|
With the software’s Pathway builder, CBT treatment plans can be created from existing activities then shared either manually or with Quenza’s automated scheduling function.
It also offers:
|Good For||Practice Management, Treatment Planning, e-Counseling, Mental Health Coaching, Online Psychotherapy|
|For larger healthcare providers such as e-clinics and hospitals, ICANotes includes a host of functions for planning the online cognitive behavioral therapy process. These treatment planning features, alongside the software’s EMR capacities, documentation tools, and patient chart features, make it a very comprehensive solution for rolling out CBT online programs in clinical contexts.|
It doesn’t offer the customizability of Quenza when it comes to creating individual interventions but offers more mental health features than TheraNest.
Some examples of its features include:
|Good For||Telemedicine, Online Psychiatry, Treatment Planning, Online Psychotherapy|
Best CBT Software for Patients
These standalone apps contain ready-to-go exercises for clients to engage with as part of your therapy.
|Moodkit is an easy-to-use, expertly developed app with more than 200 practical, mood-boosting activities for clients. The app comes with psychoeducational content on cognitive restructuring, as well as a custom journaling tool for users to keep track of their moods.|
|Good For||Telecounseling, Online Therapy, Mental Health Apps, Experience Sampling Method|
|With Happify, users can access evidence-based mental health exercises to build resilience, tackle stress, and manage negative thoughts. With plenty of guided meditations, games, and psychoeducational CBT content, this app is available with a monthly or annual subscription.|
It also provides:
|Good For||Telecounseling, Online Therapy, Mental Health Apps|
|Sanvello is a top-rated app for users who want to manage stress, anxiety, and depression, and comes with resources for self-care, therapy, coaching, and peer support. It can be recommended to clients who want to track their symptoms and progress over time, with options for private or group messaging with coaches.|
Other features include:
|Good For||Telecounseling, Online Therapy, Mental Health Apps|
How To Use Quenza Software For Online CBT
If you’re new to online cognitive behavioral therapy, delivering your own solutions is often a matter of knowing the key steps to intervention and treatment design, then applying them with the right online tools.
Here, we’ll use online CBT software Quenza to illustrate.
Designing CBT Interventions
As we’ve seen, customizable software can be a huge advantage in online CBT. By allowing therapists to create custom iCBT interventions with their own materials, these tools make it possible to contain relevant, engaging, and effective activities and content to share, as shown.
This example intervention uses Quenza’s customizable online CBT tools to integrate multimedia into treatments that can be accessed in mobile or web-based formats. Whether you choose to integrate video for walkthroughs, audio for guided meditations, or images to explain concepts will depend on your client’s treatment goals.
Creating Treatment Plans
Delivering an online CBT program might mean sharing specific interventions as activities, or it might involve a more comprehensive treatment plan that covers a longer period.
With the right software, providers can design treatment plans more efficiently, either by combining existing interventions or providing templates that can be modified into personalized online CBT activities:
In this screenshot, we have used Quenza’s Pathway tool to combine individual intervention types into a longer-term treatment.
To make treatment planning even more efficient, as shown, CBT software may even support automated delivery of different activities, exercises, assessments, and forms. This way, therapists and counselors can create personalized care pathways with a better overview of how they will be implemented.
Patients, in turn, receive relevant material at the most suitable time for their treatment.
Creating an iCBT solution means keeping tabs on a patient’s progress and how they are engaging with the material – as well as analyze their results:
This can be done with patient engagement solutions like Quenza’s real-time results tracking features, as shown above.
With an overview of how patients are interacting with their content, therapists can make more informed decisions about whether to modify their programs in good time.
Protecting Patient Data
Last, but not least, any online CBT software should enable mental health professionals to guarantee the privacy and security of protected health information, such as assessment results or data from therapy intake forms:
With HIPAA-compliant apps like Quenza, this privacy is automatically protected using encryption technology. All results, therapy notes, and other patient data are securely stored for quick retrieval in accordance with the required regulations.
Where face-to-face healthcare access is lacking, difficult, or even non-existent, online CBT can be a highly effective way to help others with their mental wellbeing. And as it becomes a popular complement to or replacement for conventional care, today’s blended care practitioners can expect to see a lot more of the helpful therapy tools that enable its delivery.
If you’ve been designing and sharing your own online CBT interventions, we’d love to hear about them. Do leave a comment for your peers, and share your experiences.
To start designing your own cognitive-behavioral therapy interventions, don’t forget to try our easy-to-use online CBT software, Quenza.
Our 30-day practitioner trial will give you unlimited access to all of Quenza’s intervention design tools and HIPAA-compliant therapy features, so that you have everything you need to design professional interventions that help others today.
- ^ Vigerland, S., Lenhard, F., Bonnert, M., Lalouni, M., Hedman, E., Ahlen, J., ... & Ljótsson, B. (2016). Internet-delivered cognitive behavior therapy for children and adolescents: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Clinical Psychology Review, 50, 1.
- ^ Kumar, V., Sattar, Y., Bseiso, A., Khan, S., & Rutkofsky, I. H. (2017). The effectiveness of internet-based cognitive behavioral therapy in treatment of psychiatric disorders. Cureus, 9(8), e1626.