According to Business Insider “As the pandemic shatters Americans’ mental health, the FDA, psychiatrists and developers are betting on smartphone apps to treat them directly.”
There are already plenty of apps (e.g., Calm, Headspace) aimed at helping people cope with stress by providing tips on meditation, playing soothing music, and the like. However, the Bloom app claims to be effective against clinical mental health conditions.
Human counseling psychologists still offer the most tried and trusted method of psychotherapy, but there aren’t enough therapists to go around. Moreover, the cost of therapy is often prohibitive. It seems reasonable to suppose that options like the Bloom cognitive behavioral therapy app might one day replace conventional (in-person) psychotherapy entirely.
Android version: not available
iOS version: download here
Pricing: $14.50 per month
Mental Health Apps vs Therapy: Pros and Cons
Although antidepressants and other psychoactive medications initially showed considerable promise when they started becoming prevalent some years ago. However, there hasn’t been much progress in improving these original medications.
This begs the question: are smartphones, and digital apps advanced enough to rival either psychoactive drugs or conventional psychotherapy? That’s precisely the question this Bloom CBT app review aims to answer.
Pro: Avoiding the Stigma
It’s not as taboo to talk about mental health as it used to be. In fact, in some circles, it’s pretty ‘in’ to obsess about your psychological issues constantly. All the same, there’s still a certain amount of stigma, shame, or at least embarrassment attached to going to a psychologist.
That’s why an online self-help app can be so attractive to some. It’s so nice and private. Nobody needs to see you arriving at the doctor’s rooms, and no appointment book needs to record your presence.
Moreover, while many therapeutic paradigms take the patient’s relationship with the therapist to be key to recovery, there’s also a certain amount of appeal to the impersonality of a machine. It might seem a lot less intimidating to confess your private thoughts or feelings during a video-guided therapy session than to tell your thoughts to a real live person.
Conventional psychotherapy isn’t a quick fix. You typically have to go to your therapist for an hour a week for several months. So, if self-help apps were found to be effective, the savings on the cost of the treatment would become very valuable in helping more people gain access to mental health care.
Although self-help apps aren’t necessarily that cheap, they’re almost always cheaper than face-to-face counseling. For example, the Bloom CBT app cost is substantially lower than the cost of psychotherapy.
In addition to the savings in time and costs, any new form of therapy that doesn’t just rely on taking medication is a valuable tool. Taking psychoactive meds (e.g., antidepressants) isn’t ideal; that’s more a question of suppressing the symptoms of the problem rather than addressing the root cause.
Think of it this way: imagine you’re allergic to cats. You can go and buy plenty of antihistamine tablets and medication to suppress your reaction if you like, but a simpler and far more effective way of reducing your problems might be just to prevent your cat from sleeping on your bed.
Similarly, it’s pointless to take medication to stop yourself from getting depressed without learning how to deal with the problems in your life that lead to your depression in the first place.
One thing that’s good about an actual therapist that you have to go and see each week in a physical office is it isn’t so easy just to wimp out. If you’ve already booked an appointment with a therapist at a certain time and day, you’re much less likely to decide on the day that you don’t feel like it, or it’s just too much hassle.
On the other hand, with a self-help app, nobody will even know the difference if you decide to watch TV instead of completing your therapeutic ‘homework.’ That results in far more people abandoning their course before they’ve started to see the benefits in their daily lives.
Still, self-help apps could make a massive difference to all those patients who can’t get the help they need for one reason or another.
Bloom App Therapy Methods Review
The Bloom app is the first self-guided therapy app globally and the best cognitive behavioral therapy app. This app has made mental health care accessible to many people who might not have had the resources to visit a clinic and afford to pay for a therapist each week. Bloom makes it much more affordable and easier for patients to learn how to manage their lives more effectively.
The Bloom self therapy app (and almost all similar apps) are usually based on the Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) paradigm.
In some conventional types of therapy – Freudian psychoanalysis, for example, the highly trained and experienced psychoanalyst cleverly spots unconscious motivations running through the patient’s symptoms and effects a cure by leading the patient to self-insight regarding these motivations. So you couldn’t use any psychoanalytic techniques on yourself if you weren’t trained for it.
In contrast, CBT is a straightforward learning and/or behavior-modification system. Rather than listening for clues to the patient’s disorder in what the patient says, the CBT-oriented therapist works straightforwardly with the patient to identify the problems and comes up with solutions. A lot of CBT involves planning ahead and practicing what to do in certain situations.
There are different types of anxiety and depression, including Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, which are the psychological problems CBT is best equipped to deal with. You have to identify the situation in which you’re likely to start feeling highly anxious; then, you sit with your therapist, close your eyes, and try to call to mind that feeling in a safe, non-threatening environment.
Next, you choose the calming mental picture you’ll call to mind to displace the panicky feeling. Then after practicing that a few times, imagining feeling panicky and deliberately displacing the panic with calm thoughts. Hopefully, it’ll become easier for you to use the same calming strategy when feeling anxious.
This means that CBT lends itself rather well to the format of a self-help app. Even when you visit a cognitive-behavioral therapist in her office, she’s just there to tell the patient what steps to practice. The patient is the one who has to take the actual steps.
Bloom App Features
The app is presented in the form of interactive video-guided therapy sessions. Activities that you’ll encounter include the below.
Therapeutic CBT Journaling
If you record your reflections on your therapy sessions and later read over what you’ve written, you’ll start to spot patterns in your thinking, or reasons for your reactions, that you never noticed before.
Learn therapeutic breathing and mindfulness exercises; they not only enable you to handle stressful situations more comfortably but can also improve your mood and your sleep.
Daily Mental Health Habits
Learn short activities you can practice daily to get you into the right mindset.
Like all forms of journaling, regularly recording your mood helps you be more aware of your emotions. It makes it easier to spot connections between what happens and how you end up feeling.
Bloom app’s page proudly boasts that it’s “hyper-personalized,” with content tailored to each user’s unique needs. However, please remember that any app is a program somebody has to write.
You can only enjoy ‘personalized’ content if someone has programmed that content into the app, which is done without knowing anything about any of the individual people who are going to be using the app. So whether or not it’s fair to say the app is ‘hyper-personalized,’ you can at least be sure no app can ever be as personalized as a real personal therapist.
Frequently Asked Questions
How much does the Bloom app cost?
A: It costs $14.50 for a month’s subscription, with a substantial discount if you pay for the whole year at once ($59.99 for 12 months).
Is using the Bloom app cheaper than psychotherapy?
A: Much cheaper! Whereas Bloom costs only $59.99 for 12 months, you can easily pay $100 per week to see a therapist. Additionally, you can use Bloom from the comfort of your home, which means you save on transportation costs.
Do I need specific training before I can use the Bloom app?
Absolutely not! Our step-by-step video guides are easy to follow, even for someone with no training or experience in psychotherapy.
On the one hand, it’s nice to feel that you don’t have to worry about your problems alone because your personal therapist is there to help you.
However, on the other hand, you may feel a strong sense of empowerment if you take your mental health into your own hands with the Bloom self-help app!