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Smartphone App COGITO – “Toothbrush for the Soul”

A project from Arbeitsgruppe Klinische Neuropsychologie UKE
in Hamburg, Germany

Our new app aims to help people stay on track during and after the completion of psychotherapy. The app has already proven effective in two scientific studies.

S. Moritz
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About this project

Approximately one third of the population will suffer from a mental health disorder at least once in their lifetime. Studies demonstrate that psychotherapy helps with many disorders, such as anxiety and depression. However, the effects often decrease noticeably over time as people fall back into old, unhelpful behavioral patterns and forget newly learned (more helpful) strategies. Push notifications via an app offering daily exercises are an effective way for people with mental disorders to be reminded of these new skills and to maintain symptom reduction over the long term. 
This is where the app comes in: A toothbrush for the soul 
With the new app COGITO, users receive daily push messages with short exercises. Just as daily tooth brushing helps your teeth stay healthy, short but regular exercises help to preserve your mental well-being over the long run. The app incorporates our research group’s many years of experience creating therapy materials and developing self-help concepts, some of which have found their way into psychotherapy treatment guidelines. 
The new app is based on a beta version, and our research group at the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf has already successfully tested its efficacy in two controlled trials with as many as 400 participants. To get an idea of what this app is like, please take a look at screenshots in the gallery below. 
One of the features is the option to personalize the app. Another is the ability to delete, rewrite, and insert (new) exercises. This makes the app a very personalized companion for the time before, during, or after therapy! Like other programs developed by our research group, the app is offered free of charge and will be translated into several languages.
 What remains to be done

We have already created COGITO program packages for people with psychosis, addiction to gambling, and chronic pain. Other packages will follow in the future. 
More information can be found on our homepage.

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