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Best Self-Guided Therapy Apps for Anxiety & Depression 2021

Many people experience depression and anxiety from time to time. Self-guided therapy apps can help with mild symptoms and provide tools for enhancing well-being. 

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Best Self-Guided Therapy Apps for Anxiety & Depression 2021

If you've struggled with depression and anxiety, you're not alone. While it's always best to seek professional help, self-guided therapy apps can be a useful supplement to therapy or used to help implement new mental health habits.

While there are lots of great apps in this category (check out the entries in the Other Apps Considered section if you are looking for help with OCD or want an AI therapy app with a great sense of humor), we found that Dare is best for anxiety and Wysa was the best AI therapy app. Sanvello offers the best value, and Thought Diary is the best at explaining CBT tools. 

Our Pick

Best for Anxiety Relief

  • End Anxiety and Panic Attacks with the DARE App
    4.8 Ratings 9K+ Reviews 100K+ Downloads
    Free In App Purchases
    Free In-App Purchases
    Free In-App Purchases


If you're struggling with anxiety, relief can feel impossible. Dare offers coping strategies for all kinds of anxiety issues in a comforting and easy-to-use app. 

Why we chose Dare:

  • While Dare has some free content, much of the material requires a premium upgrade for $53.99/year or $9.99/month.
  • Dare is targeted specifically at anxiety, with tools for lots of types of anxiety: panic attacks, health anxiety, driving anxiety, and more.
  • Constantly updated content includes a bite-sized audio tip called the Daily Dare and an evening wind down every day.
  • The app features an extensive library of meditation and relaxation audio tools delivered in a soothing voice.
  • “SOS” tools offer quick help with specific problems.
  • Offers a series of challenges to help you conquer obstacles and recover from anxiety symptoms. 

Dare offers an extensive set of tools for people struggling with anxiety.

Read Dare's Full Review
Runner Up

Best AI Therapy App

  • Free therapy chat for mindfulness, mental health, stress check & anxiety relief
    4.8 Ratings 110K+ Reviews 1M+ Downloads
    Free Fresh In App Purchases
    Free In-App Purchases
    Free In-App Purchases


While an AI chatbot is no substitute for professional help, this cute little penguin/AI therapy tool can offer many tools for mental health and well-being. 

Why we chose Wysa:

  • Wysa is an adorable penguin and CBT expert. What's not to love about that?
  • Chat for free, or access the full library of therapy exercises, sleep stories, and more for $74.99/year.
  • You can tell Wysa whatever's on your mind or let the penguin guide you through CBT exercises to help you with whatever you’re going through, from health anxiety to sleepless nights.
  • The app includes progressive challenges to work on an issue over time, including a 14-day sleep challenge.
  • Lots of mindfulness content to help you relax. 

Wysa is a great tool for self-guided therapy, and the site design may improve moods on its own.

Read Wysa's Full Review
Also Groovy

Best Value

If you're experiencing symptoms of anxiety or depression or would like to learn some new mindfulness or CBT tools, Sanvello has you covered. 

Why we chose Sanvello:

  • Sanvello is packed with video, audio, and written content to help you understand your thoughts and emotions and practice mindfulness.
  • Plenty of free content, but the premium upgrade lets you access the full library of CBT tools, meditation tracks, and guided journeys for $8.99/month or $53.99/year.
  • The feature-rich app also includes health tracking, a hope board, and goal-setting tools.
  • You can add coaching with a human coach for $50/month.
  • Constantly adding new content, including content related to current events. 

With more free content than most of the other apps we tested, most people will be able to benefit from Sanvello without upgrading. But if you want more, there is additional great content in the premium version.

Read Sanvello's Full Review
Also Groovy

Best CBT Educational Tools

  • #1 Free Mood & Thought Journal. Lift your mood with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
    4.7 Ratings 6K+ Reviews 100K+ Downloads
    Free In App Purchases
    Free In-App Purchases
    Free In-App Purchases


The concepts of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) can be difficult to master. Thought Diary walks you through it all with guided journaling and educational articles. 

Why we chose CBT Thought Diary:

  • This CBT guided journaling tool has free content, but many tools require the $59.99/year Pro version.
  • Extensive and clearly written articles on CBT concepts help users get a clear grounding in how their mind works and why CBT tools help.
  • There are also articles on topics like sleep, productivity, and more.
  • Many different guided journals take you step by step through processes of CBT, gratitude, mindfulness, relationships, and many more.
  • Daily check-ins and reflections keep you on track. After 7 days of journaling, the app provides insights on factors that may be influencing your mood

The guided journaling tools can help you stay on track in your mental health journey.

Read CBT Thought Diary's Full Review

Everything We Recommend

  • Our Pick

    The Best Anxiety Apps of 2020 Healthline 2020

    The Best Anxiety Apps of 2019 Healthline 2019

    Best Mobile App Awards, platinum nominee** - Best Mobile app Awards 2018

    ** THE DARE APP **

    The DARE app is an evidence based training program to help people overcome anxiety, panic attacks, worry, and insomnia. You can track your progress daily with the mood journal. Based on the best selling book ‘DARE’ that helps people overcome anxiety and panic attacks fast.

    Take the app with you wherever you go. Almost every anxious situation is addressed including driving, flying, eating out, health anxiety, intrusive thoughts, public speaking, at the gym, at the doctors, going on holidays and many more.

    Download the free audio guides to help you feel like your old confident self again. Included are also a collection of meditations and sleep guides to tackle insomnia.

    If you suffer from anxiety or panic attacks, DARE will teach you an effective evidence based approach to get you back living life to the fullest.

    ** THE DARE APP **

    100’s of free audios with a new audio added everyday.
    Free audio guides to overcome anxiety and panic attacks.
    Unlimited audio downloads to your private personal area
    Unlimited entries in your personal mood journal

    The DARE app will help:

    * Ease Anxiety
    * Eliminate Panic Attacks
    * Reduce Worry and Stress
    * Calm Your Mind
    * Deepen Sleep
    * Break Cycles of Negative Thinking
    * Increase self-worth and confidence
    * And so much more...


    * Unlock Dare and break free from Anxiety with additional support.
    * Get a completely new ‘Daily Dare’ every day to help you each and everyday.
    * Unlimited audio downloads to your private personal area.
    v Unlimited entries in your personal journal.

    Some content is only available through an optional paid subscription. If you choose to subscribe, payment will be charged to your Google Account at confirmation of purchase.

    We'd love to connect with you to hear about your Dare journey and experience. Please don't hesitate to reach out to us on social if you have any feedback or questions:

    Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/dareresponse
    Instagram - @dare_response
    or send us an email at hello@dareapp.co :)

    Read more about our terms and conditions here:
    Terms of service: https://dareresponse.com/terms-of-service-statement/
    Privacy policy: https://dareresponse.com/privacy-policy/
    In-App Purchases
    $9.99 - $399.99 per item
    $8.99 - $59.99 per item
  • Runner Up
    Imagine a mood tracker, mindfulness coach, anxiety helper, and mood-boosting buddy, all rolled into one. Wysa, your happiness buddy is that friendly and caring chatbot. Wysa is packed with daily spiritual meditation that improves mental health and is also a perfect way to bond over family meditation. Always there for you when you need someone to talk to, Wysa helps you keep track of your mood with friendly chats and helps fight stress and anxiety with its proven techniques and calming meditation and mindfulness audios. Checking in with Wysa regularly will improve your emotional health so you can track your happiness and mood. Talk to Wysa now and psy yourself up to fight off stress. Also, Wysa has mental health assessment with depression and anxiety tests.

    Wysa is your AI friend that you can chat with for free. Talk to the cute penguin or use its free mindfulness exercises for effective anxiety relief, depression and stress management. Its therapy based techniques and conversations make for a very cute and calming therapy chat app whether you're looking to cope better with mental disorders, to manage stress or to boost your mental health.

    Wysa, your happiness buddy, will support you through the big and small anxieties of life by using science as a foundation to strengthen your mental health. Research-backed, widely used techniques of CBT, DBT, Yoga and meditation are employed to support you with stress, anxiety, deep sleep, loss and other mental health and wellness needs.

    If you are dealing with stress, anxiety and depression or coping with low self-esteem, then talking to Wysa can help you relax and get unstuck - it’s empathetic, helpful, and will never judge. You will overcome your mental health obstacles, through empathetic conversation and free CBT therapy based technique. So, pour your heart out to your happiness buddy, Wysa as your identity will remain anonymous and your conversations are privacy protected.

    Used around the clock and trusted by 500,000 people, Wysa is an emotionally intelligent chatbot that uses AI to react to the emotions you express. Unlock tools and techniques that help you cope with challenges in a fun, conversational way. For extra support, you can avail guidance from a real human coach - a skilled psychologist who will take you through the advanced coaching sessions for your needs.

    You can use Wysa to rewire your mind to improve your emotional health. Fight off depression or get stress relief using cbt techniques and guided sleep meditations for optimal sleep. Here’s a look at what you can use Wysa for 👇

    👂 Vent and talk through things or just reflect on your day with your AI chatbot
    💪 Practice CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) and DBT techniques to build resilience in a fun way
    📝 Use one of 40 conversational coaching tools which helps in dealing with Stress, Anxiety, Depression, Panic Attacks, Worry, Loss, or Conflict
    💆🏻 Relax, focus and sleep peacefully with the help of 20 mindfulness meditation exercises

    93% of the people who talk to Wysa - AI
    companion find it and the tools helpful
    - Build confidence, reduce self-doubt and improve your self-esteem: core meditation and mindfulness, visualisation, confidence visualisation techniques, advanced mindfulness for self-esteem
    - Manage anger: mindfulness meditation exercises for compassion, calming your thoughts and practice breathing
    - Manage anxious thoughts and anxiety: deep breathing, techniques for observing thoughts, visualization, and tension relief
    - Tired? Get a burst of energy! Visualisation and meditation exercises to increase positivity and get blissful sleep, quick yoga and physical exercises to get active
    - Dealing with worry: observe mindfulness, resolving technique, challenge negativity, practice breathing techniques
    - Manage conflict at work, school or in relationships: special mindfulness and visualization techniques like empty chair exercise, gratitude meditation, exercises to build skills in having difficult conversations
    In-App Purchases
    $1.49 - $199.99 per item
    $4.99 - $144.99 per item
  • Also Groovy
    Whether you’re feeling anxious, lonely, overwhelmed, or just burned out, Sanvello will meet you where you’re at. Think of it as your feel-better toolkit, including therapy, coaching, coping techniques, meditations, and goal and mood tracking, designed by experts to help you feel better.

    Best of all, your Sanvello journey is customizable to you. The app checks in with how you're feeling so you can track your emotions and progress over time. As patterns are identified, Sanvello will provide customized tools, rooted in cognitive behavioral therapy, to keep you on the path to feeling better.

    Take time for yourself by downloading Sanvello today.

    Over 40 million Americans have Sanvello Premium included in their health plans and Sanvello Therapy is in-network for 90 million. Check your plan instantly in the app. No insurance or outside the U.S.? No problem—many of our most popular tools and guides are free to ensure everyone can take care of their mental health, plus we have affordable self-pay subscriptions for that extra bit of support.

    Get started by checking in with your mood or taking one of our assessments to get your stress, anxiety, and depression scores. This establishes your baseline and helps us recommend personalized in-app activities to get you on the path to feeling better. Go on the “Braving Anxiety” Guided Journey with John Green, or “Feeling Better” with Kati Morton. Want to chart your own course? Explore our library of coping tools, thought reframing exercises, meditations, and more.

    You’re not alone: The Sanvello community is millions strong, and they find each other in the Sanvello community. Get a fresh perspective on anxiety, gratitude, and dozens of other topics by anonymously participating in active discussion boards and chat groups.

    Feel better in half the time of traditional therapy with Sanvello Therapy, which matches you with a licensed clinician—and includes a mental health coach and Premium access to self-care content at no-cost while you’re in therapy. Therapy is only available in the U.S. in the following states: AZ, CA, CO, FL, GA, IL, IN, MA, MD, MI, MN, MO, NJ, NY, NC, OH, PA, RI, TN, TX, VA, WA, WI. Have a therapist you love already? They can use Sanvello for Clinicians to assign activities and see your progress.

    Face new challenges with help from someone you can trust. Sanvello Coaches provide direction, support, and motivation through 1:1 messaging—judgment free. Your coach is there to be your sounding board in achieving your goals. You also have an all-access pass to group coaching sessions—live classes that help you apply the concepts of CBT to real life—and all our self-care tools within the app. Sanvello Coaching is only available in the U.S.

    Sanvello is free to download and use. The premium version of Sanvello allows for unlimited use of all tools and is available through many major health plans (“upgrade via insurance”) or through an auto-renewing subscription. Payment will be charged to your Google Play account at confirmation of purchase. Your subscription will renew automatically unless auto-renew is turned off at least 24-hours before the current period ends. Your Google Play account will be charged for renewal within 24-hours prior to the end of the current period at the price listed above. You can turn off auto-renew at any time from your Google account settings but refunds will not be provided for the unused portion of the term. If a free trial period is offered, it will be forfeited as soon as your purchase is confirmed.

    Terms of Service: https://sanvello.com/tos/

    Privacy Policy: https://sanvello.com/privacy-policy/

    Help: https://help.sanvello.com or info@sanvello.com
    In-App Purchases
    $1.99 - $199.99 per item
    $1.99 - $199.99 per item

    CBT Thought Diary is a journal with a purpose: it uses effective tools from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), and Positive Psychology to help improve your mood.

    Do you feel like you're always stressed, anxious, sad, frustrated, or unmotivated? The centerpiece of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is learning to identify negative and distorted thinking patterns to change your emotions and your behaviors for the better. In CBT, a "thought record" guides you through the steps of identifying, challenging, and reinterpreting negative thinking patterns. With Thought Diary, you can document your negative emotions, analyze flaws in your thinking, and re-evaluate your negative thoughts into more balanced ones. It may even help you recognize helpful ways to deal with your negative behaviors and emotions for future situations.

    CBT Thought Diary can do more than thought records, though! It can also be used as a daily mood tracker. You can even practice gratitude by creating positive entries using our flexible diary entry format. According to positive psychology, appreciating the positives in our lives can improve happiness and meaning.
    With CBT Thought Diary, you can gradually change your approach to how you interpret the ups and downs of life, making long-lasting changes in your mental well-being.

    According to positive psychology, practicing gratitude and recording positive emotions is important as well. Thought Diary also allows you to keep track of your positive experiences so that you can refer back to them and appreciate the good moments, as well as note down what particular things you're grateful for. This way, you can be more aware and thankful of the positive moments in life.

    Thought Diary will help you evaluate, understand, and change your thoughts and feelings. By using this application, you can work to identify your emotions, analyze how and why you're feeling this way, challenge those negative beliefs, change your thinking patterns for future situations, and remember positive experiences. You can use this app as a mood journal, a thought record journal, and a gratitude journal.

    Thought Records and Gratitude Journals similar to this app are commonly used in paper form in traditional cognitive-behavioral therapy for a variety of mental health disorders such as clinical depression and anxiety. If you are suffering from a mental health disorder, please consult a mental health professional or healthcare provider.

    Privacy Policy: https://cbtthoughtdiary.com/privacypolicy

    Terms Of Service: https://cbtthoughtdiary.com/termsofservice
    In-App Purchases
    $4.99 - $59.99 per item
    $4.99 - $59.99 per item
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Caroline Rothnie
Written by:

Caroline Rothnie

Best Self-Guided Therapy Apps for Anxiety & Depression 2021




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