How to Develop a CBT App Like Sanvello?

Updated on Dec 13th, 2023


Often termed the gold standard of psychotherapy, CBT or Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is widely adopted by mental health patients and the general populace to conduct their daily life with less anxiety and more peace.  

No wonder CBT apps like Sanvello are doing so well around the market.  

As per the latest research, the mental health app market already stands at USD 4.2 billion in 2021, and by the end of the decade, it is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 16.5%. The market is still lucrative for newcomers, and if you’re looking to participate in it with a comprehensive CBT app like Sanvello, this post is all you need to read to get started. 

  • The mental health app market already stands at USD 4.2 billion in 2021. 
  • Sanvello is among the most popular CBT apps, ranking at #1 in major mobile app stores. 
  • With a user base of over 37 million, the app has become synonymous with mental well-being digital aides. 
  • Self-care, peer support, coaching, and therapy are the pillar features of the CBT app. 

What is a CBT App, and How Does It Work?

A CBT app is a mental health and well-being app based on cognitive behavioral therapy practices. It aims to help users manage conditions like anxiety, depression, and sleep problems by helping them find and treat their cognitive biases. The apps use technologies like deep learning to adapt to the users and then suggest remedial practices per their personal preferences and effectiveness.

Sanvello: An Overview and What Makes It Different


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Sanvello is among the most popular CBT apps, ranking at #1 in major mobile app stores. With a user base of over 37 million, the app has become synonymous with mental well-being digital aides. It has been providing clinically validated CBT techniques for stress, anxiety, and depression for over seven years. It has a well-trained ML model to help the users most effectively. Recently, the app has also partnered with many health institutions to help users benefit from their health insurance to cover more premium features of the app. 

Sanvello’s mission is to “help people build the life skills they need, anytime, anywhere, in any way they choose,”; and for that, it not only helps users in dealing with their present crisis but rather equips them with mental tools to lead a more confident, mindful, peaceful, and joyous life. This and other factors mentioned below set the app apart from many others in the category. 

  • Self-care: The app allows users to track their moods daily, work on their thinking anomalies, assess their progress, and access guided journeys and coping tools. 
  • Peer support: With the app, users can discuss their conditions, coping mechanisms, and their effectiveness and progress with their peers in the community that shares their situations. 
  • Coaching: One exclusive feature that also makes the app medically approved is the presence of registered coaches that enable users to learn different mental well-being mechanisms on a one-on-one basis. 
  • Therapy: Other than coaches, the app is also partnered with licensed therapists who offer individual support to the users whenever required. 

Read More: How To Develop a CBT Based Self-Therapy App Like Stresscoach?

Must have Features in Your CBT App like Sanvello

If you want to recreate the success story of the Sanvello app with your CBT mobile, it is important that you understand what factors make it so popular among its user base. One of the factors is the easy and user-friendly interface of the app. It allows users to focus on everything the app offers and benefit from the same without fussing with the navigation elements. The other factor, rather the chief reason for the app’s popularity, is its rich features. 

Sanvello Features to Clone for Your CBT App

Self-care Guides 

The app comes equipped with several self-care guides, neatly categorized into mental conditions, situations, and other crises, to help users care for themselves. These self-care guides are further prioritized as per the user’s mental health assessment, which they can take on a regular basis. Once read and practiced, the app allows users to rate the guide’s effectiveness and thus help other users with their ratings. Moreover, the more users practice a self-care guide, their life skills increase to the next level. 

Guided Meditation 

Though a very pervasive feature among mental health apps, guided meditation is essential for your Sanvello-like mental health app. These guided meditations help not only first-time meditators but regular practitioners as well. The concept arises out of the difficulty of finding the perfect time and then utilizing it as and when required to meditate. Suppose you can only take out 10 minutes daily; it won’t be the easiest thing for you to slow down immediately and experience the calm of the meditation. This is where guided mediation, organized based on different requirements, helps users. The guided meditation sessions included in the app are validated to improve cases of anxiety, depression, insomnia, general pain, and irregular blood pressure.  


Another important feature to include in any CBT-based self-care app is personalization. It would be a huge disappointment to the users if they had to enter their conditions and manually update their preferences every time they use the app. The solution is personalization. The app can track users’ pre-preferences, the effectiveness of various tools, and their respective progress to offer them a more effective solution for their problems. To attain such deeper levels of personalization, the app maintains user profiles, so even if they use a different device, they can still keep all their progress intact and resume their mental well-being journey unhindered. 

User Profiles 

For personalization to work in a secure and reliable way, the app utilizes user authentication. It requires users to log in with their email ID, use a unique user ID, and protect that with an encrypted password. The user profiles are then kept with the app database to allow an omnichannel experience. The users have the right to access their profiles, edit details, and delete accounts whenever they want. They also have complete control over by whom and for what purposes their personal data can be accessed. 

Data Privacy 

Since the app comes under the purview of medicine, data privacy is a crucial concern. Moreover, since the app uses clinically validated practices, is partnered with healthcare institutions, and has access to users’ private information, both emotional and tangible data, including health insurance details, it strictly adheres to HIPPA compliances. For your app to function as smoothly and reliably as Sanvello does, you should also ensure that there is no scope for a data leak and that all the functionalities, information stored by the user, and the database are configured for optimal data security. 

Community Support 

Sanvello is a great mobile application for people suffering from mild anxiety or depression. The app offers a live chat option with a mental health coach. It also offers teletherapy in certain states where certain insurance plans cover the service. Simple mental health coaching might not be a good solution for those who need a more personal touch. However, the pocket-friendly option is ideal for milder therapy requirements.  


Comprehensive Development Process for Sanvello-like Mental Health App

Creating a behavioral therapy app like Sanvello needs a sophisticated approach. It will require modules for complex natural language processing algorithms and deep learning models. It will also need advanced mobile UX features to make it easy to use for a wide range of audiences. Since the app would contain sensitive user information, it is important to have a safe data repository with configurations complying with market regulations. 

Comprehensive Development Process for Sanvello-like Mental Health App1. Ideation

Even though Sanvello is among the best-known cognitive behavioral therapy apps, it isn’t the only one. CBT apps like MindDoc, Bloom, and Evolve, have a similarly huge user base who admire their respective UX and features. As such, when you will launch your CBT app, it won’t happen without fighting competition. This is why it is important for your app’s success to introduce more innovative ideas through it. You need to brainstorm new functionalities and understand the target audience’s requirements to deliver what the existing CBT apps aren’t.  

2. Market Research

Once you have figured out the distinguishing features of your CBT app, you can look for the apps that offer similar functionalities, if not the same. This way, you can understand the supply and demand gap in the market and create a niche for your app to attract more users. Here, the goal must be to offer the best services through custom healthcare mobile app development, not create a replica of existing solutions in the market. That being said, standing out from the competition is not the only goal of this stage. You should also look for features and elements that make popular apps popular among audiences to build inspired features for your app.  

3. App Wireframing

With all the features and functionalities of the app decided, you’re ready to start developing the wireframe of the behavioral therapy app. For this purpose, you can consider hiring a healthcare mobile app development company. With relevant experience, these companies can start the wireframe development without any delay. Their knowledge will also assist in a more accurate and efficient execution of the wireframing stage, helping you ensure a good foundation for the final product. 

4. App Design & Development

The wireframing lays the foundation of the app, which now only needs to be developed. Your healthcare app developers can now start building the first prototypes for the app. But before doing so, you must decide on the technology stack for the app. In general, the app will require AI functionalities, so libraries supporting NLP, sentiment analysis, and voice recognition would be essential. Other than that, it is ideal to use official programming languages like Swift and Kotlin. This way, you can ensure seamless compatibility of the app with native mobile operating systems and smoother functioning for the long term.  

5. MVP Development

All the prototypes must be adequately tested for the pre-determined functionalities, data flow, speed, consistency, availability of information stored in the cloud, and more. Later the MVP of the app can be developed for the first iteration of the market release. MVP, or Minimum Viable Product, is the lean app version that offers all the basic functionalities. An MVP is a completely deployable product lacking more advanced features and UI elements. Its aim is to offer a real-life experience of the app to gather user feedback and then develop and deploy a more featureful version. In the previous stage, once you’ve developed such a prototype, you can name it the MVP of the product and then launch it to begin the iteration for the next version. 

Read More: Why You Should Start With the MVP for Mobile App Development?

6. Executing App Monetization

To use the advanced CBT functionalities of Sanvello, users are required to pay a membership fee. Similarly, if you want to monetize the features of your CBT app, you can plan and implement the monetization strategy at this stage. A subscription fee is one of the most common ways of monetizing healthcare apps. Users can be asked to pay a minimum subscription fee to avail of gated content. For your Sanvello-like app, you can also use premium features like a more extensive meditation library, Guided Journeys, Unlimited health tracking, and more personalization options to keep your app popular yet edgy. 

7. App Maintenance and Updates

After launching the MVP of the app, you can begin working on its next version while collecting and implementing insights from user feedback. This will be an iterative step and will continue until the end of the app’s lifecycle. Here, the aim is to keep your app well-updated as per the market demand and user expectations. This will include the implementation of advanced functionalities, improvement in the UX, security updates, etc. 


Useful Technologies to Consider for Sanvello Clone Development

To develop a feature-rich and complex app like Sanvello, you will need a stack of robust technologies to manage various aspects of it most efficiently. From frontend to backend, and from deep learning algorithms processing to secure data management, every aspect of the app should be completed with due diligence and through reliable technologies.

Programming Languages Swift 5, Kotlin, Objective-C, Java
Development Environments AppCode, Android Studio, XCode
SDK iOS SDK, Android SDK
Frontend Cocoa Controls, JavaScript, ReactJS, Angular JS, Mocks
Backend Helios, NodeJS, Express JS
Web Server Nginx, Apache
Cloud Amazon S3, EC2, etc.
Database MongoDB, MySQL, Postgre SQL
Payment Gateways PayPal, Stripe
Push Notifications Firebase, User Notifications Framework

Depending on your requirements and the skillsets of your development team, you can add or replace any of these technologies. But while doing so, ensure that the technology you use instead has the promise of the app’s longevity. To do so, you can consult with our experts. 

The Final Thoughts 

Negative emotions and feelings like sadness, anxiety, and fear are there for evolutionary reasons. They have been the means to ensure the survival of the human race in dire and uncontrollable situations. The problem happens when these emotions overpower the daily life of people, affecting their lifestyle for longer periods. Factors like personal relationships, family issues, and professional responsibilities can be the primary source of negative feelings in a person. However, these negative emotions’ constant and prolonged presence can create adverse mental conditions for them. Usually, these feelings affect people the most when they cannot share their thoughts with someone. And this is why CBT apps like Sanvello have become the need of the hour. 

To develop a cognitive behavioral therapy app like Sanvello, it is ideal you hire a healthcare app development company like Matellio. With its years of experience in creating custom solutions for healthcare organizations and the pool of talented engineers with skillsets in AI and ML, you can develop and deploy your project in a minimal timeline and with features that win users’ trust and interest immediately. Simply fill out this form with your requirements, and our experts will begin your project development journey by sending you a free quote and a project plan. 

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