Help Your Patients Build Healthy Relationships Through Engaging Activities

Since 9/11, the country has been at war. This longest conflict in U.S. history has resulted in an enormous number of active duty soldiers and veterans with mental health concerns. Part of the response to these issues was the creation of numerous apps by the Department of Defense National Center for Telehealth and Technology (AKA T2) now rebranded as the Defense Health Agency’s Web & Mobile Technology Programs Group at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.  

Their apps are targeted for both patients and providers and cover topics ranging from depression, insomnia, post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury, and resiliency. One of the most popular app they have released to date has been T2 Mood Tracker 

Previously here on iMedicalApps, we had high praise for apps from the Defense Health Agency (DHA) moniker including their DHA Opioid app, the contraception app, Decide + Be Ready, Pediatric to Adolescent Care Transition (PACT), and Positive Activity Jackpot apps.  But DHA isn’t the only government organization creating these groundbreaking apps. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) together with the National Center for PTSD have created an app for relationships called Couples Coach. 

This app joins the VA Mobile Apps site of their ever-growing stable of fantastic point-of-care and prescribable apps including CPT Coach, CBTi Coach, and PTSD Coach. Although the app contains expert opinion and evidence for couples with a PTSD member, the app is really designed to be used for any relationship with or without a mental health component. The app uses a game-like approach in its design such that users progress through multiple levels (5 in all) to unlock increasingly complex (and helpful) content. 

Evidence-based medicine

The VA/National Center for PTSD Couples Coach app contains highly interactive activities for couples to “practice” while receiving expert-opinion and evidence-based “coaching” for their relationship. The app utilizes a game-like approach with multiple levels to unlock content along with an extensive “on-demand” section of proven activities and text-based content. The app is extensively referenced and contains links for all supporting content.

What providers would benefit from this App?

Students, residents, mid-levels, family medicine, psychiatry, psychology, social workers, and any provider who treats patients with relationship issues should have this app and prescribe it to their patients.

Price

o Free

Likes

  • Interactive, game-like approach, with multiple levels that involves one or ideally both members of the relationship
  • Numerous activities available on demand and easy access to information on therapy
  • Available for Android

Dislikes

  •  “Marketing” makes it seem like it is for only those involving couples with PTSD member.
  • GPS therapy suggestions “look” is a bit cluttered/messy.
  • Some may find the requirement to advance levels limiting to some key material.

Overall

Couples Coach from the Department of Veteran’s Affairs in coordination with the National Center for PTSD, Dissemination & Training Division, has created a must-have app to prescribe to patients. The app is for anyone in any relationship that would appreciate some expert help in improving the bond. The app combines text, videos, links, exercises, and messaging to create an interactive experience for the user. The app also provides GPS driven information on therapy if necessary. Finally, the app includes couples coaching advice specifically where the relationship includes a member with PTSD. 

Overall Score

o 5.0 stars

User Interface

o 5.0 stars

Easy to use with 5 levels of highly interactive assistance using creative exercises, evidence-based medicine, and expert opinion.

Multimedia Usage

o 5.0 stars

Numerous links in/out of app for communicating with partners, further information, and finding therapists.   

Price

o 5 stars

App is free!

Real-World Applicability

o 5.0 stars

A triumph of app design and much needed for couples everywhere. It is clear that great work, medical evidence, and cutting edge app design went into the development of Couples Coach. The app is NOT just for those with PTSD, but for any couple in/outside of the VA system. Should be prescribed by all providers to their patients experiencing any level of difficulty, those in new relationships, and frankly even “great existing relationships” could benefit from the novel behavioral exercises and creative outlets for improving relationships. Most highly recommended. 

Device Used For Review

o iPhone 11 Pro running iOS 14.0

Available for Download for iPhone, iPad, and Android.

Disclaimer: The views expressed are those of the author(s) and do not reflect the official policy of the Department of the Army, the Department of Defense or the U.S. Government.