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Smartphone Apps for PTSD

There are some great apps that have been designed to target different aspects of trauma and/or PTSD symptoms. Although these apps are not a replacement for PTSD treatment, they can be a wonderful supplement to therapy with a trained PTSD therapist.

The following apps are available for Android and iPhone and are free to use.

1. PTSD Coach: This app was designed by the US Dept for Veterans Affairs (VA) for military personnel (active and retired) struggling with PTSD symptoms. However, it can be used by anyone. It includes a section on educating yourself on PTSD with a self-assessment. The app allows you to track your symptoms and progress. Another great feature of the app is the skills included that walks you through decreasing your symptoms in the moment. It includes relaxation activities, self-talk, anger management strategies and behavioral activities to help calm down or distract yourself

2. Mindfulness Coach: This is another app designed by the VA. Unlike many mindfulness apps, Mindfulness Coach focusing on teaching mindfulness. It includes a self guided training program in which you learn mindfulness exercises, gradually building up your skills. There is also a section with educational info on mindfulness and related topics. It has an assessment section which allows you to set goals, track your progress and earn badges. This app also includes guided imagery/visualization selections and additional exercises that you can download. There are no in-app purchases so the entire app is free.

3. Awoken/Lucid Dreamer: The next selection is 2 apps for 1. Both of these are sleep/dream management apps. Awoken is only available in Android so I included Lucid Dreamer as well, which is available in both Android and iPhone. Both apps help you manage your sleep. They are based on a concept called Lucid Dream Management which states that you can increase your awareness while dreaming which helps you increase your control over your dreams. Aside from that piece they include a dream journal to track your dreams/nightmares, track your sleep cycles, set an alert (reality checker) which can be used to be more present and aware throughout the day and pick different sounds, (music, etc) when falling asleep.

4. CBT-i Coach: This next app is also for sleep, but for people struggling with insomnia. CBT-i includes four sections: my sleep, tools, learn and reminders. My sleep includes a sleep diary and tracker to assess your sleep habits and track your progress. Tools includes breathing, relaxation and behavioral activities to help with your insomnia. Learn has educational resources to educate yourself on sleep, insomnia, stages of sleep and related topics. The reminders section allows you to set reminders to follow through with changes that you picked in order to be more successful. See more information here:

5. Virtual Hope Box: is an easy to use app designed to help you develop skills for coping, relaxation, distraction and positive thinking. One of the great parts of this app is that you can store information that you find helpful as part of this app to retrieve when you need it. Some examples include inspirational quotes, pictures/videos from loved ones, uplifting or soothing music. In addition, each section includes activities to help you reduce your distress such as breathing exercises, muscle relaxation activities and guided imagery visualization.

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