There's an app for that? A Closer Look at Relationship Self-Help Apps

With the increased emphasis on mental health and wellness over the past few years, it’s no wonder that we as a society have begun to reach for self-help tools in earnest. But because of the convenience, cost, and accessibility - many of us are choosing self-help apps over traditional tools like books, workshops, or in-person therapy.

Getting help - or simply learning more about yourself - has never been easier. The negative stigma attached to ‘being vulnerable’ or ‘going to therapy’ that pervaded preceding generations has all but disappeared - in its place is an excitement, a genuine enthusiasm, for investing in yourself by investing in your mental health.

For those of us who haven’t yet sought self-help material from the same place we download Words With Friends, let’s talk about the differences - and similarities - between apps and traditional therapy.

In-person experience: Therapy mandates your physical presence for sessions, making many people feel more committed, ‘plugged in,’ and connected to their therapist. However, with our demanding schedules more and more people are opting to take their therapy… on the go. With video conferencing, text messaging, and more support tools, you can have the assurance and advice of an expert - in your pocket.

Cost: Traditionally, therapy’s cost has been rather prohibitive, unless your insurance covers some of the cost. With many sessions starting at $200/hr, it’s not something that is available for everyone. If cost is a concern, apps are a much more affordable option. Monthly or yearly subscriptions are available, and they run you about the same amount as a half hour of therapy.

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Customization: Most of us have assumed that in order to get a personalized experience, we have to go to therapy. That way, we work with one person over time, who gets to know us and our issues and give us more tailored advice, right? Not so fast. Apps now use combinations of real, trained experts and machine-learning algorithms to improve your experience to the point that you can’t quite tell the difference between the in-person and online experience.

Discipline: Choosing a therapist is an important decision - because it means choosing the area of therapy your therapist was trained in. There is EFT, CBT, Exposure therapy, psychoanalysis, the list goes on… When you choose a therapist, they will help you according to their school of training. But when you choose an app, they often contain the collective wisdom of many different trainings, styles, and disciplines. That means you’re getting more bang for your buck - and more eyes on your issues.

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Time: Depending on your schedule, this may not be a big deal - or it may be a very critical one. Therapy sessions are dependent on consistency, hour or ninety-minute blocks at a time, and weekly meetings. For some people, that’s great. For others, it’s impossible. Apps allow you to tap into your mental health or your relationship improvement for 5 or 10 minutes at a time. Then you can work at it daily, but it sucks up a lot less of your time.

Obstacles: Unfortunately, the average amount of time between identifying an issue in a relationship and acting on the issue is typically… wait for it… 6 years. Why so long? The barriers to enter typically include facts like couples don’t think it’s ‘that bad’ yet, they don’t want to admit they have issues, they don’t want to invite someone else into their issues. But after 6 years, often there has been irrevocable damage, and by the point couples finally reach out for help, they cannot salvage the relationship. In that way, apps can act as early intervention - helping couples identify issues while they still have hope of reconciliation.

One relationship app, Relish, has all the benefits of traditional therapy and none of the downsides. With 97+ experts, researchers, and therapists cited in the app - there are no restrictions, limitations, or ‘right’ ways. The 450+ lessons, quizzes, and date night ideas, there is always something for you to do when you open the app… even if you only have 5 minutes. Trained relationship coaches (yep - real certified experts!) give you advice and help tailor your plan. They work in tandem with the machine-learning algorithm to fuse the best of two worlds: modern technology and traditional therapy.

And because Relish is a fraction of the cost for an hour of therapy, it’s available and accessible to everyone - not just the few that can afford to invest in their mental health. Click here to start your free trial!

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