I tried a new therapy app and my mental health has never been better

I'm a big fan of therapy, but I can't help but notice that a lot of it is like this: you have 45 minutes to chat with the therapist, and somehow, during that time, you find yourself bringing up your childhood, your anxieties , depression, what happened in high school 10 years ago, and your relationship. Before you know it, the time is up and you seem to have solved all the problems but nothing, and then you're thrust back into the world without any solutions.

Not only is this routine exhausting, but it also doesn't seem like the best way to achieve treatment goals. That's why I was intrigued by the idea of ​​Real, a mental health app that focuses you on one topic at a time, including anxiety, by using so-called pathways (aka digital programs created by therapists) , identity, communication, etc. Profession.

Because I’m a firm believer that everyone could use a little more therapy – and it’s great when it actually works! — I decided to try Real for a month to see what I could learn and how it differed from a more traditional therapy experience. do you know? I like it very much. Read on to learn more about Real, its features, and what it's like to use the app.

quick overview

  • Price: $23.99/month, $164.99/year
  • Best for: Affordable therapy, professional therapy, anxiety, identity, relationships
  • My rating: 4.5/5
  • What we like: Easy to use, inclusive, affordable
  • What we don’t like: Case studies aren’t always the most relevant

What are real therapeutic apps?


Real was founded by mental health expert Ariela Safira to help you build a stronger relationship with yourself using wellness tools, guided exercises, and a support team of licensed therapists. You'll work with all of these people or just one or two, depending on your goals.

The Real app offers wellness check-ins, virtual activities with a therapist, and on-demand exercises called Moments designed to guide you through tough times, like stress, sleepless nights, or arguments with your partner.

The biggest draw, though, is the "Authentic Road." These longer courses use interactive media like videos and case studies as well as clinically proven strategies like cognitive behavioral therapy to help you. Each theme focuses on a specific mental health topic such as anxiety, depression, relationships, identity, career, and more.

The way is:

  • Know yourself
  • Meet your body where it is
  • Coping with depression from the inside out
  • Explore adult friendships
  • Communicate like a damn good buddy
  • what am i doing with my career
  • What to do about all this anxiety

How to use real applications


When you first log into Real, you'll answer a series of questions to get your "true pulse," or a snapshot of how you're performing at that moment. It asks you to rate things like belonging, motivation, productivity, mood, energy levels, anxiety, self-esteem, and optimism. The idea is to understand how your true pulse fluctuates during your health journey.

From there you can scroll through the app and see what you need. You can browse eight Authentic Pathways sessions, click on a moment, view anonymous therapy sessions—there’s one called “Grounding Together” hosted by therapist Naiylah Warren—or check in yourself under the Toolkit tab, You can write notes or diary entries in it.

Real provides all these tools to help you deal with issues such as anxiety, body image, career, depression, relationships, friendships, identity, and relationships. Therapists on the platform (one for each pathway) will set you up with actionable homework assignments and things to think about after the pathway session. The app even has a place to journal. It all adds up to a lovely, all-encompassing therapeutic experience with something for everyone.

my experience


After getting the real pulse, I switched to the real path to see which one jumped out. I chose “Know Yourself,” which falls under the identity category. The description reads: "Every good relationship is built on trust and understanding—including the one you have with yourself. Ready to explore what's all about you?" Well, yes .

This pathway was designed by practicing therapist Julia Jarrold and is intended to be a starting point for other types of therapy. It also teaches you how to present yourself and build self-confidence, which sounds pretty good. In the introductory audio, Jarrod notes that it's often hard to know who you are, especially because you're always changing. This feels very effective.

In the first session, Jarrold uses the super fun "Social Location Model" to delve into all the different identities a person might have, during which she encouraged me to think about my race, gender identity, socioeconomic status, age, and first language.

Jarrod then turns to topics such as nature, upbringing, and life experiences. I think this is a simple and fun exercise, and I love that it obviously feels unique and personal to each person. Once those bases are covered, we dive deeper into values, trust, connections with others, and all the other parts that make me who I am.


Jarrod's gentle manner stood out during each session. With an exceptionally calm and welcoming voice, she eased me into each session with a mini grounding exercise to get me settled and in the right frame of mind for treatment.

From that point on, whether she's explaining a basic concept or something more complex, she keeps things conversational and accessible, but still entertaining. I find myself grabbing a notebook to jot down the thoughts that leave me breathless. (In my opinion, this is always a sign of good therapy.) I also appreciate the way she provides thought-provoking examples and case studies to help explain concepts, even if they don't always fully apply to me.

The best part, though, is the "Real 3, 2, 1" breathing exercise at the end. The number of times my therapist has interrupted me while I was crying to say my time was up is too many to count. But instead of rushing out the door or leaving Zoom, Jarrod slowly brought my attention back to the room—like a yoga teacher ending a meditation—and asked me to take three deep breaths before the class ended. It gives the meeting a clear beginning, middle, and end, so I feel like I can get on with the day.



After trying Real for a month, I decided that the setup actually worked for me. Because you can do each session at home and at your own pace, it feels like the concepts have time to sink in and work a little better than they usually do during traditional therapy—at least for me.

I would wait a few days between each session, write down notes, and marinate it all before I went back for more sessions. I also enjoyed the reflection and challenge after the video. These "homework assignments" give you something actionable to try in real life so you can actually apply what you've learned. How cool is that?

I highly recommend Real because of the topics it covers, its easy-to-use settings, its enthusiastic approach, and how different it is from regular therapy. I plan to dig deeper into the app and see what other avenues I should try. Something tells me that when I check my true pulse again in a few months, I'm going to like what I see.