The Story

New iPhone and iPad app uses CBT principles to analyze your daily activities; helps reduce anxiety and depression; provides visual data to make changes to your lifestyle or work

Brian Blum, the founder and president of Blum Interactive Media, an Israeli content development firm, had a problem. “I’d be working hard all day,” he says, “but it always seemed like I’d accomplished nothing, except maybe check email.”

At the same time, Blum had been learning about an increasingly popular form of counseling called Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) which, unlike traditional “talk therapy,” uses a variety of written forms, charts and tables to help patients move past blocks and stressors. There are forms for dealing with regrets, procrastination, “negative automatic thoughts,” and tens of other issues.

One of the forms addressed Blum’s own concerns, enabling CBT patients to record, categorize and rank activities so they can see what they really get done during the day. That form became the basis of iAccomplish, a new app for the iPhone and iPad, that was released earlier this month by Blum Interactive Media.

Most CBT work today is still done with pen and paper. Why not computerize the process? Blum thought. And going one step further: why not bring it specifically to mobile devices, which are always with you, making it easy to log an activity on the spot?

iAccomplish, which is priced at $1.99 for a universal iPhone and iPad download, “is like a ‘smart diary,’” Blum explains. “The basic idea is that you write down everything you do during the day. Then you tag your activities and rank how much you enjoyed them and how much ‘competence’ you felt when doing a particular activity.”

Although it may seem laborious at first, the process itself of writing down what you do is the CBT key to feeling better. iAccomplish users can then see how much they achieve during a particular day, week or month; where they’ve been spending their time; and how they feel about the activities that are keeping them busy. “If you are not enjoying what you’re doing, iAccomplish can give you the data to make changes to your lifestyle or work.”

Blum worked with several CBT therapists and university researchers to help ensure that the methodology of the app matches the traditional approach. “It’s important that the app really helps people feel better from a clinical perspective,” Blum says.

Online CBT has been the subject of numerous research studies, including those looking into the efficacy of the approach in much more significant interventions, such as panic disorders and post-traumatic stress. On the consumer side, the most popular book on CBT – “Feeling Good: the New Mood Therapy” by Dr. David Burns – has sold over four million copies.

iAccomplish is part of a burgeoning category of “eTherapy.” Other mobile apps that are selling well and that are based on CBT principles include “iCBT” and “i Can Do It,” both from Bonfire Development Advisors; “iCouch CBT” from iCouch Mobile; “eCBT Mood” from MindApps; “CBT Referee”; and CBT MobilWork being developed at the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University.

There are also a variety of apps intended to reduce stress that don’t specifically employ CBT (iTunes lists tens of meditation, visualization and relaxation apps, for example) or to assist in logging gratitude (“Gratitude Journal” from HappyTapper) or habits (ala The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People – see “The Habit Factor” by Equilibrium Enterprises).

Indeed, the self-help and productivity categories are two of the hottest in the iTunes app store.

Using iAccomplish is deceptively simple: you type in your accomplishments, tag them (you can create your own categories or use one that comes with the app like “Work” or “Errands”), and slide your finger to rate your enjoyment and competence. You can choose from recurring activities to save typing. “Once you’ve added enough accomplishments, you can start to detect patterns,” Blum says.

For example, in addition to seeing how many accomplishments you’ve logged per day (which in and of itself helps relieve stress), you can review which categories were most frequent during the mornings, or ones that show up repeatedly on a particular day of the week.

“If you find you’re spending all morning responding to voice messages and you’re hating it, you can think about different strategies to maximize, prioritize – and feel better – about how you spend your time,” Blum explains.

Ultimately, it comes down to the personal. “The main reason I developed this app is that I had used CBT myself and it’s been tremendously valuable in my life,” Blum says. Indeed, “if I can help one other person feel less stressed and anxious, the way CBT has worked for me,” Blum says, “that will be a real accomplishment.”

Or, he winks, “an iAccomplishment.”


For more information about iAccomplish, contact:

Jody Fox
Marketing Director
Blum Interactive Media


App store:

Promo code available upon request.