What is Prolonged Exposure Therapy?
Get an overview of Prolonged Exposure Therapy with this video.
ACT Coach is designed with Veterans and Service Members in mind and incorporates Acceptance and Commitment Therapy through activities focused on establishing psychological flexibility. Psychological flexibility focuses on aligning mindfulness techniques with personal values and morals to help achieve what is described as the “Self-as-Experiencer,” or ability to center and focus on sensory or emotional experiences in a stable way. ACT Coach is broken down into 5 components (Learn, Practice Mindfulness, Live Your Values, Track your ACT Moments, Take ACTion) that emphasize sustained attention to physical actions and observation of both psychological emotional states of being. ACT Coach specifically targets that values you want to work on, establishing a plan of action to arrive at that end goal (some of which commonly relate to career employment, citizenship, relationships, and educational training). The app utilizes extensive tracking for ACT Moments broken into three categories: Mindfulness Log, Coping Strategies Log, and Willingness Log. ACT Coach focuses on utilizing brief tips, metaphors, and discussions to overcoming barriers in ways that aim to best help military individuals accept internal experiences as adaptive steps to clarifying one’s values and morals
Available for: Android, iOS 8.0 or later (iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch)
Developer: VA’s National Center for PTSD, Department of Defense’s National Center for Telehealth and Technology
Type of Treatment: Mindfulness (Specifically Acceptance and Commitment Therapy)
Targeted Conditions: Mood Disorders; PTSD
Target Audience: Adults (especially Veterans and Military Personnel)
Designed to be used in conjunction with a healthcare professional: No
Languages Available: English
Get it on: iTunes, Google Play
Although limited research currently exists regarding ACT Coach, similar mobile apps targeting PTSD in veterans and military service members have shown relative success. Reger and colleagues (2015) utilized prolonged exposure to determine mobile app efficacy, but the positive results show promising evidence that similar technologies may benefit users in conjunction with psychotherapy. Mani and colleagues (2015) rated ACT Coach as scoring better than acceptable (3.3) on a 5-point scale. The app was ranked particularly well in functionality (4.0), information (3.8), and satisfaction (3.5), but suffered in overall scoring due to low engagement and aesthetics rankings (3.0 for both). Nonetheless, ACT Coach received a relatively positive score based on MARS rankings.
• Reger, G. M., Skopp, N. A., Edwards-Stewart, A., & Lemus, E. L. (2015). Comparison of prolonged exposure (PE) coach to treatment as usual: A case series with two active duty soldiers. Military Psychology, 27(5), 287.
Mani, M., Kavanagh, D. J., Hides, L., & Stoyanov, S. R. (2015). Review and evaluation of mindfulness-based iPhone apps. JMIR mHealth and uHealth, 3(3).
We review apps against rating criteria developed by experts in the field. Some of those criteria are:
We look at the research supporting the technology and the credibility of the development process.
We review privacy policies to see if key pieces of information about what happens with entered data are addressed.
We explore how fun, functional, easy-to-use, engaging, and interesting the technology is.
A professional in a relevant field downloads and uses the technology and writes a narrative review, highlighting pros & cons and some recommendations for use.