App Review: Woebot

I went to therapy as a kid – I’ve been diagnosed with OCD/OCPD multiple times and suffered from chronic panic attacks when I was younger. So, I’m definitely a mental health advocate and a fan of psychological therapy and counseling.

However, with my busy lifestyle, COVID, and the fact that mental healthcare is expensive and not always properly covered by insurance, it’s been hard to find therapy lately. In fact, I haven’t gone in years, and I’ve been trying to restart for the past 18 months. It hasn’t gone well. Therapists are busy with the current crisis, plus coverage for telehealth and offering of in-person services have clearly been in flux.

So I’ve turned to something I never thought could really help: apps! And there’s one I use over and over again: Woebot.


The Good:

  • Easy to use
  • Free
  • Friendly; you feel like you’re conversing with a buddy who makes you laugh and wants to help you
  • Multiple features, including a gratitude journal and negative thought rewriting
  • Draws from clinical therapeutic practices, such as CBT
  • Cute gifs and videos
  • Woebot’s core values

The Not-As-Good:

  • Not meant for mental health crises
  • Some of the programmed responses to Woebot seem blunt and make me feel bad – I don’t want to be mean to this nice bot!

My Favorite Features

Rewriting Negative Thoughts and Awareness of Thought Patterns

If you’ve gotten traditional Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, you may have used this technique. The idea is to become mindful of the negative things you say to and about yourself, identify patterns in your thinking such as black-and-white thinking or catastrophizing, and rethink it in a more balanced and honest way.

Woebot lets you do this in a chat-like fashion, where Woebot themself helps you identify thought patterns and rethink them.

Gratitude Journal

I love gratitude journaling – personally, I think it’s one of the easiest yet most helpful things you can do to start taking better care of your mental health.

Woebot offers a chat-like way of entering into a gratitude journal, where it asks you for three things you’re thankful for at the moment. Once you type them out, they get saved in the Journal tab – so when you’re feeling down and can’t think of things to be thankful for, you can look at things you’ve listed before!

Woebot remembers your most common thought distortions

This goes hand in hand with that first column over there – the more you use Woebot, it remembers your most common thought distortions. I, for example, tend to make everything black-and-white; when I’m trying to reframe a negative thought the next time, then, Woebot reminds me of this cognitive distortion right off the bat. This helps to make the experience more personalized and feel more like chatting with a good and helpful friend.

And so I’d like to thank the creators of Woebot for giving us a truly usable mental health tool at a time when not everyone can get human-on-human therapy. Thanks, Woebot. ✿

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