I have been asked to share some of the apps that I use in Social Work Tech Practice.
Meditation Oasis is a company that provides a variety of guided meditation services and products. I have bought a few of their iOS apps and would recommend them for your own mindfulness practice and for clients!
The Three Apps That I Use
In addition to the various mental health benefits that can be derived from meditation, I have embraced meditation as a valid spiritual practice for myself due to the fact that I feel very grounded, clear-minded, focused, and at peace when I am mindful (a type of meditative practice).
Simply Being – $0.99 [app store link]
For those hesitant to try the meditation apps outlined here, I would recommend starting with this app, as it was the first one that I purchased and provides mindfulness meditations of different lengths of time.
One does not have to be experienced in meditation to enjoy the benefits of this app.
Relax and Rest – $0.99 [app store link]
I downloaded this app after downloading SimplyBeing.
This app also offers a variety of guided meditations that are focused on rest and relaxation (i.e diminishing stress and anxiety).
What has worked for me is the deep rest meditation (13 minutes) which has helped me to calm my mind and fall into deep and refreshing sleep.
Again, this app does not require prior meditation experience.
Meditation Oasis – $2.99 [app store link]
This app offers over 30 guided meditations, many of which are offered through the Meditation Oasis website. This one is a gold mine for those that want different types of meditation (e.g. stimulating creativity, meditation for anger, mini break for work or study, etc.)
The three above-mentioned apps serve different functions. It should be also noted that these apps have both iPhone and iPod Touch and iPad functionality which makes them a great investment if you have a combination of the three devices!
The three apps have simple start screens and offers instructions on how to use the application and how to meditate.
For the first two applications highlighted below, it takes approximately three finger taps to set up the meditation and is very user friendly!
Simply Being offers a mindfulness-type guided meditation that encourages the user to be present minded and invite the user to focus on his or her breath.
The user has a variety of options to tailor their meditation for sound (voice only, voice + music, voice + nature sounds) as well as length of meditation (5, 10, or 15 minutes).
Relax and Rest
Relax and Rest offers three types of guided meditation that leads the user into relaxing deeply.
As with SimplyBeing, the user has a variety of options to tailor their meditation for sound (voice only, voice + music, voice + nature sounds).
This app also has three different types of meditations which include Breath, Deep Rest, and Whole Body meditations at 5, 13, or 24 minutes, respectively.
The Meditation Oasis app allows for access to many guided meditations that have been posted on the Meditation Oasis website. This app does not have the sound files embedded into the app, thus an internet connection is required.
Despite for a need to be connected to the internet, one can access these podcasts without an internet connection. By starring a mediation (marking as a favorite), the app will download that particular meditation (i.e sound file) to your device for later use.
Just be forewarned that the app will consume space on your iDevice for each sound file it has to store.
It should be noted that due to having more features and functionality, this app is a little more complex than the previous two, but is also very user friendly.
A few reasons you should consider purchasing these apps:
The apps I have presented are very low-priced as compared to other apps I have downloaded off of the app store for much higher cost and much lower quality. 99 cents is a steal for what you get with these apps.
Much more experienced psychotherapists may not rely on these as much as the novice clinician would. That being said, when properly introduced to meditation, what it is, and the proper mental preparation going into it, I have seen the app work just as well with clients as with me leading the meditation.
As previously mentioned, one can be at various levels of meditation to appreciate these apps. While not guaranteed, a client may be motivated to continue with this self-soothing technique if they feel any benefits in session with you.
Your Own Self-Care
Social workers are in need of maintaining their self-care through this self-soothing technique of meditation. Especially with considering the degree which our jobs can become stressful, overwhelming and/or emotionally draining.
Due to the fact that I am not an “expert” meditator, I have not achieved the ability for myself to sit still and guide myself. When possible, I will take a time out, isolate myself properly (sign on the door), and sit in a guided meditation using the SimplyBeing app for 10 minutes. After sitting, I tend to feel better.
Social Work Self-Care Self-Efficacy.
Much like with our clients, social workers (and other helping professionals) may be motivated to continue with this self-soothing technique if they feel any benefits in their own meditative practice!
Needs for Improvement
The apps are very simple and to-the-point, but the apps could use some improvement. These pertain mostly to the SimplyBeing and Relax & Rest apps.
No Timer/Progression Bar
This is important if I am leading a client in session and want to be aware of how much more time I have left in the meditation.
Nudging the App
If you accidentally nudge the settings on the app, you will have to start your meditation all over!
If using your iPhone in session or for your own self-care, please remember to put it in Airplane Mode to prohibit an incoming call from interrupting your meditation session.
Recommendations: The Social Work Tech Way
The way I have used these apps (prior to abandoning them due to having developed my own skill at leading a meditation) is using the following method of intervention:
1. Introduce Meditation to the Client
For mindfulness, I typically might say something like, “This type of meditation is structured in a way to be present-minded… acknowledging your breath, any sounds you might hear, and not focusing on anything else. If your thoughts start to wander or new thoughts come into your mind, gently acknowledge them – without judgement – and let them flutter away”.
2. Lead The Client to a Meditative Posture
This posture should be:
- “Grounded, with the bottom of your feet connected to the ground.”
- “Dignified, like a king or queen on his or her throne”, and
- “Comfortable, so that you can ease into relaxation”
3. Introduce the Singing Bowl
I usually have a real singing bowl (although there is an app for that) and inform the client that we are starting the meditation by bring our thoughts to the present .
4. The Singing Bowl is gently struck and the Recording is Started
If you have never struck a singing bowl, you might want to practice if you aren’t used to it!
5. At the end of the recording, gently strike the singing bowl again
This is done to gently bring the client back to the session.
6. Optional: Follow-Up with Client
Follow-up with the client if you feel a need to determine the extent to which the intervention impacted client.
Please consult with your clinical supervisor, as the information presented in this post does not constitute clinical advice or consultation.
I do not foresee any problems with leading a client in meditation in the afore-described manner I have just outlined.
I tend to use these meditations for clients experiencing anxiety or depressed mood, although I would strongly advise caution with clients that may have PTSD or other highly impacting anxiety/cognitive disorders as their presenting problems.
As far as recommending this app to a client, I would like for you to remember that these apps are tools for you, the social worker, to use. If the client buys into the exercise as much as you have, you will most likely have the success I have experienced.
That being said, I have not offered my clients the name of the app or have told them to buy it unless they ask me for information. I do not stand to gain financially from their purchase of the app and I do not want them to feel obligated to buy the app when there are other free websites out there that a simple Google search can yield similar free content.
Do You Use Any Apps with your Clients in Session?
About My Recommendation
My recommendation for these apps stands solid as of 12/07/2011 and I have received no compensation, financial or otherwise, for this article. Please read my disclosure about product reviews here.