CBT Thought Diary is a journaling app based on cognitive behavioral therapy techniques. Through daily mood check-ins, you will be able to learn how to identify your negative thoughts, challenge them, and then reframe them. All of the techniques and skills are taught through educational courses and are easy to understand.
CBT Thought Diary is a CBT-based app that has a limited free version and a premium version which costs $4.99 – $9.99 monthly or $59.99 – $69.99 annually depending on which app store you use.
Pros & Cons of CBT Thought Diary
The CBT Thought Diary app has a limited free version that will allow you to use the mood check-in, complete two guided journals, and read some educational articles. However, much of the really helpful content is locked behind a paywall and the costs are different for premium depending on which app store you use: Android offers a more bare-bones version of the app when compared to the Apple version.
How to Sign Up for CBT Thought Diary
You can find information on where to download CBT Thought Diary on their website, or you can go to the Google Play or Apple App Store and download the CBT Thought Diary there.
What Is CBT Thought Diary?
CBT Thought Diary is a journaling app based on cognitive behavioral therapy techniques. On both Apple and Android, you will be able to complete daily mood check-ins, learn to identify your negative thoughts, challenge them, and then reframe them. The educational courses are easy to understand and largely text-based. CBT Thought Diary has a limited free version and a premium version which costs $59.99 -$69.99 annually depending if you use Apple or Android.
CBT Thought Diary is very user-friendly and everything is organized into four main tabs:
- The home screen: On the home screen you will find your daily mood check-ins, guided journal options to complete, and on Apple, everything is organized like a checklist.
- The discover tab: The discover tab is where all of the educational courses are on topics like “Introduction to CBT,” “Tackling Negative Thoughts,” “Productivity,” “Mental Health Guides,” and much more. Apple users will also have even more options to explore like mindfulness and mental health assessments.
- The insights tab: The insights tab becomes available after you complete six entries. You will then be able to view how many entries you have completed, which moods you report most frequently, and any other habits or activities you have logged. In the premium version, you can export all of your entries, which could be helpful to take to mental health appointments.
- The entries tab: The entries tab is where you can review any mood and journal entries you have completed. These will show you the date, time, emotions, activities, and guided journal responses you’ve logged so far.
A really great aspect to the CBT Thought Diary is that whenever you complete a mood check, you will also be prompted to complete a CBT-guided journal entry. In the free version, you can do a basic “Analyze Thought” or “Practice Gratitude” journal exercise. With the premium (PRO) version, you can choose from many guided journals like Daily Affirmation, Practice Love Languages, Set a Goal, and many more. These guided journals help you reflect on your current mood and what is affecting them.
Who Is the CBT Thought Diary App Right For?
CBT Thought Diary would be a great fit for those wanting a guided journal, easy-to-understand CBT skills, and a self-paced program.
Guided CBT Journals
CBT Thought Diary has really great guided journals that can be done as stand-alone entries or as a part of your daily mood check-ins. These guided journals ask you questions about a specific topic, like a goal you want to set, and then ask you follow-up questions to further analyze the situation. This is especially helpful for those new to CBT or new to journaling entirely.
Easy-to-Understand CBT Skills
In addition to guided CBT journals, CBT Thought Diary includes various articles you can read to learn more about what CBT is and how it is used. These articles are usually around three to four short pages and take less than 10 minutes to read through. Unlike other CBT apps, like Noom Mood, you will never be quizzed on anything you read, giving CBT Thought Diary a more relaxed feeling.
If you want to learn more about their program, you can read our in-depth review of Noom Mood.
Self-Paced CBT Program
Everything in the CBT Thought Diary app is completely self-paced. This allows you the time to read, learn, and journal on your own time, which is great for people who may feel overwhelmed by CBT programs that are too structured.
Who May Want an Alternative to CBT Thought Diary?
While CBT Thought Diary is great for many, some may want to seek an alternative. If you don’t like CBT journaling or you want professional CBT support, CBT Thought Diary will not be a good fit for you.
You Don’t Like CBT Journaling
CBT really focuses on what is happening in your life now and does not focus on how your past influences and informs your current self. Those who don’t like how CBT is structured may want to find an alternative journaling app. Something like Day One would be a good fit for those who are looking for a dynamic journaling app free of any specific therapeutic modality.
Seeking Professional CBT Support
CBT Thought Diary does not offer mental health coaching or live therapy, so those seeking professional help from a licensed professional may want to check out an online therapy platform like Online-Therapy.com. With Online-Therapy, you will have access to a licensed therapist in your state and an interactive online CBT program to complete. To learn all about their online CBT program, you can read our in-depth review of Online-Therapy.
What Users Are Saying About the App
The CBT Thought Diary has a 4.8-star rating from 7,400+ reviews in the Apple App Store and a 4.5-star rating from 4,700+ reviews in the Google Play Store. In both app stores, the user reviews are overwhelmingly positive with very few issues or complaints.
Great CBT Journal Prompts
By far the top review I read was that users really loved the CBT journal prompts. Many people pointed out that, not only do the prompts help them with what to write about, but it really helps them focus on how their thoughts and feelings are related.
Great Layout & Easy to Use
A lot of users really enjoyed how CBT Thought Diary was laid out and found it very easy to use. The app has a great navigation bar at the bottom and everything is easy to find—you don’t have to hunt around for the mood check-ins or the guided journal prompts. Everything is clearly labeled and makes for a great user experience.
Great Tool to Use Alongside Therapy
I noticed, especially in the Apple App Store, that users mentioned this was a great tool to use alongside their normal therapy sessions. For those who have a therapist that uses CBT techniques as a part of their practice, some of the terms and concepts can be difficult to remember. CBT Thought Diary has a great educational section where you can review concepts you’ve been talking about in therapy and then use them to journal.
Exported Data is Messy
A fairly common complaint is that the way data is exported from the app can look messy or can be hard to read. Unlike other journals and mood trackers where your data is exported as a CSV or PDF file, CBT Thought Diary exports just a basic text list. This can be difficult to read, especially if you are logging your moods and journaling more than once a day.
How Much Does CBT Thought Diary Cost?
CBT Thought Diary has a limited free version which gives you a good feel for how the app works. The premium version, called CBT Thought Diary Pro, costs $4.99 – $9.99 monthly or $59.99 – $69.99 annually depending on if you have Android or Apple. Currently, there is a seven-day free trial when you sign up for the Pro version.
Is CBT Thought Diary Free?
Yes, the CBT Thought Diary has a free option with limited content available. In the free version, you will have access to daily mood check-ins and the option to choose between two CBT guided journaling activities.
CBT Thought Diary Pro
The cost of the premium version of CBT Thought Diary, called Pro, depends on which app store you use.
On Android, CBT Thought Diary costs:
- $4.99 monthly
- $59.99 annually
On Apple, CBT Thought Diary costs:
- $9.99 monthly
- $69.99 annually
- $99.99 annually for a family subscription, which includes two to six users
CBT Thought Diary Discounts
CBT Thought Diary offers a seven-day free trial of its premium version and also offers a 50% discount on the individual annual subscription in the app.
How Do I Cancel My CBT Thought Diary Subscription?
To cancel your CBT Thought Diary subscription, go into your account in the app store you use. From there, you can manage your subscriptions and cancel CBT Thought Diary. If you are having any problems, you can email [email protected] with questions or concerns.
Does CBT Thought Diary Offer Refunds?
You may be able to receive a refund through the app store you originally purchased your subscription from. To find out more about how refunds work with Google Play or the Apple App Store, please visit their websites.
How To Get Started With CBT Thought Diary
Getting started with CBT Thought Diary is very fast and takes less than ten minutes to get to your first mood check-in and journal.
- Go to the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store and download the app.
- If you use Apple, you will have to answer about 21 questions about your anxiety and depression symptoms prior to getting into the app. This short assessment takes around 5 – 10 minutes.
- If you use Android, you will click through a couple of screens explaining what CBT Thought Diary offers.
- Select a time you want to be reminded to log your moods and complete journals.
- Choose to sign up for the premium version or wait and try the free version.
- Log your first mood and complete your first guided journal prompts.
CBT Thought Diary Free Version: Detailed Review
CBT Thought Diary’s free version lets you log your moods throughout the day and offers two guided journals to complete. There are also some educational courses available in the free version to aid in learning what CBT is and how to utilize it.
Daily Mood Check-Ins
CBT Thought Diary encourages you to log your moods throughout the day. You will be able to select an emoji that best fits your mood, select emotions and activities that you’ve experienced, then create a journal entry. All journal entries allow for a title and free writing space. Once this is completed, you will be prompted to complete a CBT guided journal.
CBT Guided Journals
There are only two guided journals available in the free version. One is called “Practice Gratitude” and asks you the simple question of “What are you grateful for?” The other guide journal is called “Analyze Thought” and asks you to write about an unhelpful thought, identify the cognitive distortion, evaluate the evidence, and then reframe your thought.
The free version of CBT Thought Diary has select educational courses (called Crash Courses in the app) available to read. These courses are:
- Introduction to CBT (Android Only)
- Tackling Negative Thoughts (called Tackling Unhelpful Thoughts on Apple)
- Cognitive Distortions Explained
All of these courses are a great place to start for those who are new to CBT. The “Cognitive Distortions Explained” course has awesome articles that explain what a cognitive distortion is and common types. While none of these articles have an audio component, they do have really great information and you can read them as slowly or as many times as you need. I really enjoyed going back through the cognitive distortions and studying each one.
Free Content in the Apple App
For Apple users, there are three additional offerings available in the free version that are not available for Android users. You will have access to a stress test, a depression test, and an anxiety test. These tests will assess what your symptoms are like and can be helpful if you are thinking about seeking professional help from a licensed therapist.
CBT Thought Diary Premium: Detailed Review
The premium version of CBT Thought Diary, called Pro, unlocks all of the guided journals and all the educational courses. Apple features some exclusive content, like various mental health assessments and several mindfulness audio recordings. A premium subscription costs $4.99 – $9.99 monthly or $59.99 – $69.99 annually, depending on if you are an Android or Apple user. Currently, there is a seven-day free trial available for the premium subscription.
Premium Content on Android
The premium content on Android unlocks all of the guided journals and educational courses, including the mental health guides. The courses unlocked are:
- Growth Mindset
Each course contains four to six articles you can read, with clear explanations of the concepts. The mental health guides feature articles on anxiety, depression, PTSD, OCD, social anxiety, panic disorder, and bipolar disorder. All of these articles give explanations about what the disorder is, symptoms, treatments, and more.
The guided journals are divided into categories:
- Thoughts & Feelings
- Goals & Values
- Take Action
Each category contains between four to eight unique guided journals. For example, the Therapy category has four guided journals called “Session Debriefing,” “Session Preparation,” “Your First Therapy Session,” and “Reflecting on Therapy.” All of these journals would be especially useful if you need help decompressing after your therapy sessions.
Premium Content on Apple
By far, Apple has more premium content than Android does, which may explain why the cost is slightly higher.
The Apple version has everything the Android version does plus some additional content:
- Big Five Personality Assessments
- Self Discovery Assessments
- Wellness Assessments
- Addiction Assessments
- Mental Health Assessments
- Developmental Assessments
- Personality Disorder Assessments
- Guided Meditations
The addition of various assessments gives the Apple version of the CBT Thought Diary a more dynamic feeling. I was disappointed to discover the Apple version offered more than the Android version and I wish that I had known before I purchased the premium version for my Samsung. I would have much preferred to purchase the app on my iPhone to have access to the assessments.
I found the “Big Five Personality” assessments to be really interesting. There were assessments for extraversion, neuroticism, conscientiousness, agreeableness, and openness to experience in this category. All of the assessments are only ten questions long and if they are ever available on Android, those would be the ones I’d want to take first.
There were only four guided meditations in the Apple version, but they were audios, which differed from the mindfulness exercises in the Android version. The longest one was seven minutes and the shortest was four minutes long. I felt these were a fair number of meditations for a journaling app to have and any beginner might find them useful.
CBT Thought Diary vs MoodTools
CBT Thought Diary and MoodTools are all a part of the same company, but are different products. MoodTools is more focused on helping those with depression symptoms while CBT Thought Diary is geared towards almost anyone. MoodTools is also a very barebones app when compared to CBT Thought Diary, but you can tell that MoodTools is what CBT Thought Diary grew out of. The journal feature for both apps looks almost the same and allows for a mood check-in, emotion and activity add ons, and a free writing journal space. You can even add a gratitude entry, which is something also available in CBT Thought Diary.
On Apple, MoodTools cost $4.99 monthly, $29.99 annually, or $199.99 for lifetime use. On Android, it offers a monthly subscription for $1.99. The difference in cost between Apple and Android is something to be aware of for both apps.
History of CBT Thought Diary
CBT Thought Diary was released in 2016 and is a part of the MoodTools brand. MoodTools has released several other apps including a stand alone anxiety and depression test app, as well as a suicide safety plan app. MoodTools was co-founded in 2014 by Nancy Su and Eddie Liu.
Final Thoughts on CBT Thought Diary
Overall, I would recommend CBT Thought Diary to those using Apple products more than to those using Android products – the experience on Apple was by far superior in terms of content. Regardless of how different the apps were between the platforms, CBT Thought Diary is a really great tool to learn the basics of CBT and complete daily journaling entries. I genuinely like how the CBT guided journals were automatically integrated into the daily mood check-ins. This journal helped me analyze why I was having certain negative feelings and helped me come up with strategies to overcome them.