Daily Self-Inventory for Mental Health Professionals

Regular self-evaluation is essential for mental health professionals. Use this daily assessment tool (downloadable PDF) to evaluate your ethical and self-care practices.

By Cassie Jewell, M.Ed., LPC, LSATP

The 10th Step of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) suggests taking daily self-inventory: “A continuous look at our assets and liabilities, and a real desire to learn and grow.” The founders of AA recommended that a person in recovery both “spot check” throughout the day in addition to taking a full inventory every evening, preferably a written one.

An honest self-evaluation can assess for resentment, anger, fear, jealousy, etc. According to the principles of AA, self-inventory promotes self-restraint and a sense of justice; it allows one to carefully examine their motives. Furthermore, it allows one to recognize unhealthy or ineffective speech/actions in order to visualize how they could have done better.

Similarly, for best practice, self-evaluation is essential for anyone who works in the mental health (MH) field. It doesn’t have to take place daily, or even weekly, but it’s a necessary measure for any active MH worker. If we don’t regularly examine our motives, professional interactions, and level of burnout, we could potentially cause harm to those we serve.

“As important as it is to have a plan for doing work, it is perhaps more important to have a plan for rest, relaxation, self-care, and sleep.”

Akiroq Brost

Much of the self-inventory I created is based on the 2014 ACA (American Counseling Association) Code of Ethics and related issues. According to the code, the fundamental principles of ethical behavior include the following:

  • Autonomy (self-sufficiency), or fostering the right to control the direction of one’s life;
  • Nonmaleficence, or avoiding actions that cause harm;
  • Beneficence, or working for the good of the individual and society by promoting mental health and well-being;
  • Justice (remaining just and impartial), or treating individuals equitably and fostering fairness and equality;
  • Fidelity (integrity), or honoring commitments and keeping promises, including fulfilling one’s responsibilities of trust in professional relationships; and
  • Veracity (genuineness), or dealing truthfully with individuals with whom counselors come into professional contact

The following is a format for MH professionals to evaluate both ethical and self-care practices. It’s meant to be used as a daily assessment tool.

Daily Self-Inventory for Mental Health Professionals

1. Did I cause harm (physical or emotional) today, intentionally or unintentionally, to self or others?

❒ Yes                         ❒ No

2. If so, how, and what can I do to make amends and prevent reoccurrence?

3. Have I treated everyone I’ve come across with dignity and respect?

❒ Yes                         ❒ No

4. If no, how did I mistreat others? What were my underlying thoughts/feelings/beliefs? How can I act differently in the future?

5. Have I imposed my personal values on a client (or clients) today?

❒ Yes                         ❒ No

6. If so, which values, and what steps can I take to prevent this? (Note: professional counselors are to respect diversity and seek training when at risk of imposing personal values, especially when they’re inconsistent with the client’s goals.)

7. Currently, what are my personal biases and how can I overcome (or manage) them?

8. Have I done anything today that has not been in effort to foster client welfare (i.e. self-disclosure for self-fulfilling reasons)?

❒ Yes                         ❒ No

9. If so, what were my motives and how can I improve on this?

10. On a scale from 1-10 (1 being the least and 10 the greatest), how genuine have I been with both colleagues and clients? ________

11. On a scale from 1-10, how transparent have I been with both colleagues and clients? ________

12. What specific, evidence-based counseling skills, tools, and techniques did I use today? Am I certain there is empirical evidence to support my practice? (If no, how will I remedy this?)

13. Have I practiced outside the boundaries of my professional competence (based on education, training, supervision, and experience) today?

❒ Yes                         ❒ No

14. What have I done today to advance my knowledge of the counseling profession, including current issues, evidence-based practices, relevant research, etc.?

15. What have I done today to promote social justice?

16. Have I maintained professional boundaries with both colleagues and clients today?

❒ Yes                         ❒ No

17. Did I protect client confidentially to my best ability today?

❒ Yes                         ❒ No

18. To my best knowledge, am I adhering to my professional (and agency’s, if applicable) code of ethics?

❒ Yes                         ❒ No

19. On a scale from 1-10, what is my level of “burnout”? ________

20. What have I done for self-care today?

  • Self-Care Activities I’ve Engaged In:
    • ❒ Exercise
    • Healthy snacks/meals
    • ❒ Meditation
    • ❒ Adequate rest
    • ❒ Adequate water intake
    • ❒ Regular breaks throughout the workday
    • ❒ Positive self-talk
    • ❒ Consultation
    • ❒ Therapy
    • ❒ Other: ________________
    • ❒ Other: ________________
    • ❒ Other: ________________

Areas for Improvement:

Areas in Which I Excel:


Download a PDF version (free) of the self-evaluation below. This assessment can be printed, copied, and shared without the author’s permission, providing it’s not used for monetary gain. Please modify as needed.

Author: Cassie Jewell

Cassie Jewell, introvert and avid reader, is a licensed professional counselor (LPC) and licensed substance abuse treatment practitioner with a Master's Degree in Community Counseling.

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