Guest Post: 4 Tips for Staying Strong in a Recovery Program

Recovering from addiction dredges up uncomfortable emotions. You may experience a sense of shame surrounding your substance use, as well as guilt over problems you have caused.

While these sentiments shouldn’t be ignored, they should not define your recovery. This article outlines four ways to stay positive and focused in a recovery program.


Proven Practices to Help You Stay Strong In a Recovery Program

  • Author: Dorothy Watson of Mental Wellness Center (edited by Cassie Jewell, Blog Author)

1. Take Care of Your Health and Your Happiness

If you want to stay strong during your recovery program, it’s important to take care of your body. A balanced diet helps to maintain your health, and the right foods supply the energy needed to get through what can be a taxing process.

Find activities that are relaxing that also involve low-impact exercise. Take a peaceful walk on a trail to connect with nature or practice yoga to improve your physical condition and enhance overall wellness.

Also, create a calm, serene home environment. Start by getting rid of clutter. Clutter contribute to stress and anxiety. What’s more, clutter disrupts the flow of energy in your home. Make it a point to get organized!

2. Find Ways to Manage Your Feelings

Emotions are overwhelming in recovery. Facing your addiction is mentally draining, but understanding your substance use disorder is an important step.

Bustle suggests processing emotions as they arise and finding constructive ways to express yourself. By taking control of your feelings, you take control of your recovery.

Seek professional counseling for help with sorting through the messier emotions. To repair relationships, consider family or couples counseling for difficult conversations with loved ones.

3. Discover New Passions in a Recovery Program

In addition to tuning in to body and mind, recovery requires attention to the spiritual self. In a balanced recovery program, feeding your soul is as important as caring for your physical self. Take time to cultivate hobbies that bring you joy. For instance, many find solace in art while others are comforted by writing.

Think about what makes you happy, and dedicate time for these healthy activities on a daily basis. Staying busy also shifts your focus away from cravings or symptoms of withdrawal, and reduces boredom, which can lead to relapse.

4. Connect with Others, but Stay Focused on You

Your relationships with loved ones form a network of support in a recovery program. Reach out to trusted persons when feeling isolated or anxious, but only to those who genuinely support your recovery efforts. Carefully consider all your relationships, and eliminate toxic relationships in your life. Nurture connections that are positive.

If you need this time for yourself, that’s okay too. Recovery is a time for self-reflection and self-care, and neither of those things make you selfish. They foster healing in a recovery program. Don’t feel guilty for keeping the focus on you.

Conclusion

Recovery from substance use involves working through the pain, but it’s a part of the process. By equipping yourself with the right tools, you’ll overcome self-doubt and remain optimistic. Just remember that this is your recovery program and your opportunity to make a lasting change in your life.


Guest Author: Dorothy Watson

Dorothy Watson grew up with a single mother who suffered from bipolar disorder. Her mom wasn’t properly diagnosed until Dorothy was about 12 years old, so she saw her mom struggle for a long time. Since she has seen how hard life can be for people whose mental health hasn’t been properly addressed, she is an advocate for mental wellness. You can learn more at Mental Wellness Center.


Guest Post: 4 Simple Steps to Keeping Your Finances on Track

Is trying to keep on top of your finances stressing you out? You’re not alone: many Americans are so stressed out about finances they’re losing sleep at night.

The good news is improving your financial health can be accomplished with a few small, simple actions.


4 Simple Steps to Keeping Your Spending, Saving, & Financial Planning on Track

Be Budget-Minded

If you want to ensure that you make smart financial choices, you need a budget. Creating a simple budget is one of the most effective ways to manage your finances and stick to your goals.

Be sure that when creating a budget you’re realistic about your spending habits (i.e., non-essentials that are important to you, things you don’t mind splurging on, the cost you’ll pay for convenience, etc.). If your budget is unrealistic, you’re unlikely to stick with it. You also need to be flexible enough to make changes to your budget as your finances… and life… evolve.

Here are some budgeting tips:

  • Learn about budgeting systems (i.e., zero-based vs. the envelope system) and go with the system that works best for your short-term and long-term financial goals.
  • Create a budgeting spreadsheet to track and manage your finances.
  • Follow the 50/30/20 budget rule for after-tax income: 50% for essentials, 30% for non-essentials, and 20% for savings.
  • Be sure to plan for both monthly and non-monthly expenses.
  • Set aside at least $500 for a starter emergency fund (which should be kept in a high-yield savings account if possible).
  • Decide which non-essentials (i.e., travel, gifts, dining out, etc.) are most important to you, and set aside the funds.
  • Get your family’s food budget under control with these five simples steps. (For more info about food costs, read what’s eating your money, an article from Earnest.)
  • Save money while becoming more financially savvy with free financial and budgeting apps.
  • Reduce spending to increase your budget’s available balance. (For example, if you’re mechanically inclined, consider handling your own car repairs. You can save money with Ride Digest, a free online resource for car owners.)

Start Saving

The sooner you start building your savings the better. Even putting $20 a week into an account that’s reserved for emergencies or long-term goals (such as a the purchase of new tech gadget) will go a long way toward growing your finances, making you more financially secure, and ensuring that you stick to a budget.

Don’t Overpay on Insurance

Many people consider insurance in any of its forms a necessary evil, but because it can protect your finances as well as your most valuable possessions such as your home and vehicle, it’s an important resource. However, this doesn’t mean you should pay high premiums on a policy that gives you more coverage than you need.

Take some time to review your current insurance policies, and then do some research to see if you can find better rates from a different lender for a smaller (or even the same size of) policy.

Be Strategic When Buying a Home

Buying a new home can enhance your finances and financial standing by providing you with a valuable asset. Before you buy a home, though, you’ll benefit from researching the process and all of the expenses involved, such as the down payment and closing costs.

Tips for buying a home:

Conclusion

While achieving financial stability is no easy feat, you can reduce stress by utilizing the above tips to keep your finances in check… and to move yourself closer to your financial goals!

What are your best tips for financial wellness? Post your tip in a comment!


Guest Author: Dorothy Watson

Dorothy Watson grew up with a single mother who suffered from bipolar disorder. Her mom wasn’t properly diagnosed until Dorothy was about 12 years old, so she saw her mom struggle for a long time. Since she has seen how hard life can be for people whose mental health hasn’t been properly addressed, she is an advocate for mental wellness. You can learn more at Mental Wellness Center.


Guest Post: Stop Doing These 5 Things and Feel Better About Your Life

No matter how sincere you are about wanting to pursue your goals and feel better about your life, you may be sabotaging your own success in ways you don’t realize, preventing you from living your best life!

Guest Post: Stop Doing These 5 Things and Feel Better About Your Life

Author: Dorothy Watson of Mental Wellness Center (edited by Cassie Jewell, Blog Author)

If you are pouring energy into trying to achieve your goals, but aren’t making progress, check to see whether you are doing any of these five things. They could be holding you back or draining your energy. Stop doing them so you can start to feel better about your life!


1. Are you comparing yourself with others?

A little bit of competitiveness can be an excellent motivator, but, as Farnam Street points out, if you’re always comparing yourself with others you’re never going to be content. This is because there will always be someone more successful or talented, or who has it easier, or who has something you feel you need to be happy.

Obsessing nonstop over what others have leaves you with no time to appreciate what you have. It can make you bitter and resentful too, which will make you less productive. So, if you constantly compare yourself with others, stop doing so today and feel better about your life!

2. Are you trying to do everything at once?

Perhaps you feel you don’t have time for anything but work because your plate is too full. Or maybe you don’t completely trust others to make good decisions and feel it’s all on you. These are often the result of a work-life balance that’s off kilter. The stress of this can build up until you are exhausted and burned out.

To feel better about your life, prioritize self-care and give yourself a chance to check out on occasion. If you feel this is impossible, it may be time to hire someone to help you manage the tasks you’re dealing with. Just bringing on a virtual assistant might be a game-changer for you.

3. Are you wasting energy on toxic relationships?

Yes, maintaining relationships can sometimes take a little patience, but when the relationship is healthy and positive, the work that goes into them is always worthwhile. In a good relationship, you should be able to relax and be yourself, and you should trust your friend or loved one not to go behind your back or undermine you.

In unhealthy relationships, Women’s Health explains you may feel perpetually exhausted and as though you always must be on your guard against manipulation or gaslighting. Relationships of that sort are exhausting and bad for your mental health. To feel better now, set some boundaries and protect yourself from toxic people.

4. Are you working a job you hate?

Unfortunately, it’s not always possible to switch out an unsatisfactory job for a satisfying one. But if you are truly miserable at work, it’s worth making an extra effort to feel better about your life. Search for a new position or even switch careers completely.

Remember that there may be a job out there you’re qualified for that you haven’t even dreamed of. If not, however, there’s still the possibility of taking classes or training for a different position.

5. Are you waiting for everything to be perfect to feel better about your life?

If you’ve been putting off making needed life changes because the time isn’t right, or you don’t feel the opportunity is ideal, ask yourself whether you are simply procrastinating.

After all, no time will ever be completely right and no situation entirely ideal. This is a case of letting the perfect become the enemy of the good, and you should stop doing it right away. Instead of procrastinating because things aren’t perfect, feel better immediately by making a plan to improve your situation, one step at a time.


Even if you can’t magically change everything in your life right this minute, there are still plenty of choices and changes you can make that will bring about immediate improvement. Sometimes it’s simply a matter of changing your thinking. Sometimes it has to do with your work or relationships.

Whatever the case, don’t delay, and make the changes you can make, now, for a happier and healthier life.


Guest Author: Dorothy Watson

Dorothy Watson grew up with a single mother who suffered from bipolar disorder. Her mom wasn’t properly diagnosed until Dorothy was about 12 years old, so she saw her mom struggle for a long time. Since she has seen how hard life can be for people whose mental health hasn’t been properly addressed, she is an advocate for mental wellness. You can learn more at Mental Wellness Center.


A Beginner’s Guide to Overcoming Perfectionism

This guide has 50+ free resources for overcoming perfectionism including assessments, worksheets/handouts, workbooks, guides, videos, articles, and more.


Do you hold yourself or others to unrealistic standards and find yourself defeated or frustrated when those standards aren’t met? Are you sensitive to criticism and have a fear of making mistakes? Do you have a tendency to procrastinate? Are you driven by fear or have an intense fear of failure? If so, you may be a perfectionist. And it may be hindering you instead of helping.

The Dictionary.com definition of perfectionism is “a personal standard, attitude, or philosophy that demands perfection and rejects anything less.” The American Psychological Association further defines perfectionism as it relates to mental health as “the tendency to demand of others or of oneself an extremely high or even flawless level of performance, in excess of what is required by the situation.”

Perfectionism can be unhealthy – harmful even – and is associated with depression, anxiety, and other mental disorders.


This beginner’s guide to overcoming perfectionism provides free resources for assessment, exploration, education, and motivation.


Assessment & Screening

How much of a perfectionist are you? Take a test!

Worksheets & Handouts for Overcoming Perfectionism

Use the worksheets below to learn more about perfectionism and to do some self-exploration.


For additional worksheets and handouts see 200+ Sites with Free Therapy Worksheets & Handouts.

Workbooks & Guides for Overcoming Perfectionism


For additional PDF workbooks, manuals, and guides see 500 Free Printable Workbooks & Manuals for Therapists.

Videos for Overcoming Perfectionism

Podcasts About Perfectionism

Articles & Research About Perfectionism

Increase your knowledge and find out what research tells us about perfectionism.

Quotes for Overcoming Perfectionism

“Perfectionism is the art of never being satisfied.”

Unknown

“Have no fear of perfection – you’ll never reach it.”

Salvador Dali

“Perfectionism is not the same thing as striving to do our best. Perfectionism is not about healthy achievement and growth; it’s a shield.”

-Brené Brown

“Have the courage to be imperfect.”

Alfred Adler

“Perfection is the enemy of progress.”

Winston Churchill

“If you look for perfection, you’ll never be content.”

— Leo Tolstoy


Additional Resources for Overcoming Perfectionism

Disclaimer: This section contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Mental Health in 2021: The Year in Review

According to USA Today, a poll that asked Americans to describe 2021 in one word indicated that the year was overwhelmingly bleak for many. The top five most common responses were:

  1. Awful/terrible/bad/sucked (23%)
  2. Chaos/confusing/turmoil (12%)
  3. Challenging/hard/rough (11%)
  4. Disaster/train wreck/catastrophe (6%)
  5. Okay/good (6%)

How were such dismal views reflected in mental health in 2021? Who was impacted the most and why? What helped Americans cope?


This article reviews American mental health in 2021 – a rundown of last year’s notable research findings, statistics, and events.

Mental Health in 2021: Statistics & News

According to a 2021 Mental Health America report, the top-ranking states for overall mental wellbeing (based on rates of mental illness and access to care) are:

  1. 5) Connecticut
  2. 4) Pennsylvania
  3. 3) New Jersey
  4. 2) Vermont
  5. 1) Massachusetts

The lowest ranking states are: Wyoming, Alaska, Arizona, Idaho, and Nevada (with Nevada at the bottom).


January 5 Ketamine shows promise as a treatment for chronic PTSD by reducing symptom severity. Click here to read the study abstract. (Source: American Journal of Psychiatry)

April 1 – The Standard reports that 49% of American workers struggled with alcohol and substance use in 2020. Read the full article.

April 6 – Research indicates mental health complications in survivors of COVID-19 persist up to 6 months and beyond post-infection. (Source: Lancet Psychiatry)

April 15 – Psilocybin, the hallucinogenic chemical in ‘magic mushrooms,’ is found to be as effective for treating depression as a common antidepressant. (Source: The New England Journal of Medicine)

April 22 – 3 in 10 healthcare workers consider leaving the profession due to pandemic-related burnout. (Source: The Washington Post)

July 13 – Over half (53%) of United States public health workers report symptoms of depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), or suicidal thoughts since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic according to the CDC.

July 23 – Mental health workers are deployed to provide mental health support to first responders, the search and rescue teams, who worked for weeks to find victims after the condo collapse in Surfside, FL that killed nearly 100 people.

November 1 – Aaron Beck, the father of cognitive therapy, dies at 100. (Source: USA Today)

December 13 – Digital (computer and smartphone-based) treatments for mental illness may effectively reduce symptoms of depression. (Source: American Psychological Association)

December 17 – Rates of depression and anxiety increased globally during the pandemic. (Source: Psychiatry Advisor)

December 21 – The American Psychiatric Association endorses the Well Beings Mental Health Language Guide intended to address stigma around mental illness and provide readers with person-centered language. Read the news release.


Suicide is the second leading cause of death for individuals between the ages of 10 and 34 in the United States. (CDC)

A 2021 report published by Mental Health America indicates that most American employees are experiencing burnout. Furthermore, employees are not receiving the support they need to manage stress; workplace stress has a significant impact on mental health. Download the full report here.

At the end of 2020, 1 in 5 adolescents as well as 1 in 5 adults reported that the pandemic has negatively impacted their mental health. (Source: 2020 National Survey on Drug Use and Health)

Addiction & Recovery

The 2020 National Survey on Drug Use and Health indicates that nearly 60% of Americans use drugs and/or alcohol with over 20% of the population reporting illicit drug use.


January 1 – A study published in Drug and Alcohol Dependence estimates that the opioid crisis cost the economy over $1 trillion in the United States in 2017.

February 28 – According to a growing body of research, Topamax continues to show promise as a pharmacological treatment for alcohol use disorder. (Source: Neuropsychopharmacology)

June 12 – The anti-inflammatory drug ibudilast shows promise as a treatment for alcohol use disorder. A small study found that it decreased heavy drinking. (Source: Translational Psychiatry)

June 25 – Research suggests that life achievements are linked to sustained recovery. (Source: Journal of the Society of Psychologists in Addictive Behaviors)

July 5 – A pilot study indicates that high-dose gabapentin therapy may reduce harmful alcohol consumption. (Source: Alcoholism, Clinical and Experimental Research)

July 21 – Wearable devices measure and track stress reactions to help to prevent relapse. Read the article from Washington State University Insider here.

August 3 – Alcohol consumption is linked to nearly 750,000 cancer cases in 2020. (Source: CBS News)

September 27 – Yale researchers predict that graphic photos showing the severe consequences of smoking, which will be printed on all cigarette packages in the U.S. beginning October 2022, will save an estimated 539,000 lives. (Source: Yale News)

November 30 – Researchers explore nutritional ketosis as a treatment for alcohol use disorder. (Source: Frontiers in Psychiatry)

December 5 – TMS therapy reduces cravings and heavy drinking days. (Source: Biological Psychiatry)

December 17 – Researchers predict that a one-year increase in alcohol consumption in the U.S. during the COVID-19 pandemic will cause 8,000 additional deaths from alcohol-related liver disease, 18,700 cases of liver failure, and 1,000 cases of liver cancer by 2040. (Source: Massachusetts General Hospital)

Overdose Statistics & News

In 2019 there were 70,630 primarily opioid-involved drug overdose deaths in the United States. 72.9% of opioid-involved overdose deaths involved synthetic opioids. (Source: CDC)

The states with the highest overdose death rates are:

  • 5) Pennsylvania
  • 4) Maryland
  • 3) Ohio
  • 2) Delaware
  • 1) West Virginia

February 3 – Researchers develop experimental vaccines to block opioid-induced respiratory depression, the primary cause of overdose death. (Source: Scripps Research Institute)

February 17 – Demi Lovato reveals that she suffered from three strokes and a heart attack in 2018 as a result of a drug overdose, leaving her with permanent brain damage. (Source: ABC News)

March 4 – A 75-year old New York doctor who saw patients in a hotel parking lot is charged with murder for 5 opioid deaths after writing massive quantities of prescriptions for opioid drugs. (Source: CSB News)

April 2 – The CDC reports that overdose deaths were at their highest in 2020, a 38.4% increase compared to the previous 12-year period.

September 1 – Purdue Pharma, the maker of the highly addictive painkiller OxyContin, is dissolved in a bankruptcy settlement that requires the company’s owners, members of the Sackler family, to pay billions of dollars to address the impact of the opioid epidemic. (Source: New York Times)

September 9 – Disparities in opioid overdose deaths for Black people continue to worsen. Read the press release. (Source: National Institutes of Health-NIH)

September 22 – An NIH report indicates that methamphetamine-involved overdose deaths nearly tripled between 2015-2019. Read the press release.

October 28 – The American Medical Association commends the Biden-Harris Administration “for responding to the spike in drug overdoses with an evidence-based, humane approach to increasing access to care for patients with a substance use disorder and harm reduction services.”

November 22 – Researchers develop a wearable naloxone injector device to detect and reverse opioid overdose. Read the news release from UW Medicine.

December 1 – Fentanyl strips prevent overdose and save lives. (Source: MSN News)

December 7 – The first safe injection sites in America open in New York in Washington Heights and East Harlem. (Source: Psychiatry Advisor)

December 9 – The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York announces it is dropping the name of the philanthropic Sackler family, whose name is linked to America’s opioid epidemic. (Source: NBC News)

Discrimination & Reform

January 18 – The American Psychiatric Association issues a public apology for their past discriminatory practices. Read the news release here.

February 25 – The House passes the Equality Act, which “prohibits discrimination based on sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity in areas including public accommodations and facilities, education, federal funding, employment, housing, credit, and the jury system.”

March 3 – The House passes the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2021.

March 10 – The Emmett Till and Will Brown Justice for Victims of Lynching Act of 2021, a bill that establishes lynching as a federal hate crime, is introduced in the House.

April 8 – The CDC director declares racism a serious public health threat. (Read the media statement here.) The American Medical Association releases a response statement applauding the CDC.

May 1 – A study indicates there are significant increases in anxiety among Black emerging adults from exposure to police violence. (Source: American Psychiatric Association)

June 1 – Research establishes a link between substance misuse and transgender-related discrimination.

July 30 – Research suggests that a 2017 executive order banning foreign nationals from select Muslim-majority countries from traveling to the United States harmed the health of Muslim Americans. (Source: Yale News)

August 17 – Researchers find persistent racial and ethnic health disparities in the United States. (Source: JAMA)

October 29 – The American Psychological Association issues an apology for its longstanding contributions to systemic racism.

December 1 – A study indicates that youth who face discrimination are at a greater risk for developing a mental disorder and are twice as likely to experience severe psychological distress compared to youth who don’t experience discrimination. (Source: Pediatrics)

Mental Health in 2021 Legislation

In February, the Mental Health Justice Act of 2021 to create a grant program for training and dispatching mental health professionals (instead of law enforcement officers) to respond to psychiatric emergencies is introduced.

The House passes the Violence Against Women Act Reauthorization Act of 2021 in March.

In May, the House passes:

Also in May, the Senate passes the Improving Mental Health Access for Students Act to increase suicide prevention resources for students.

On October 26th, the House passes the Family Violence Prevention and Services Improvement Act of 2021 to expand services for victims of domestic violence.

The infrastructure act signed to law by the president in November mandates automakers to install anti-drunk driving technology systems in all new cars.

In 2021, recreational marijuana use is legalized in New York, Virginia, New Mexico, and Connecticut. While marijuana is still federally controlled, it is now legal in 19 states and the District of Columbia and medically allowed in 36 states. Read more about marijuana legalization in the United States here. (Source: U.S. News)

The States Reform Act to end federal prohibition of cannabis is introduced in November, and a Florida representative submits a legislative proposal to decriminalize all illegal drugs.


Mental Health in 2021: Conclusion

2021 – the second year marked by the COVID-19 pandemic – brought with it more distress, loss, and hardship, with no end in sight as COVID deaths in 2021 surpassed those in 2020. While the year delivered a few legislative victories and promising research findings in mental health in 2021, overall, it wasn’t a great one.

Data suggests that mental health in 2021 suffered, with increased rates of depression, anxiety, and substance use. Healthcare workers experienced severe burnout. Overdose deaths skyrocketed while thousands of lawsuits were filed against opioid makers such as Purdue Pharma who started and sustained the opioid crisis in America, profiting off the suffering and tragedy of addiction. (See the Opioid Settlement Tracker to learn more about opioid settlements and how the money is spent.)

Meanwhile, a wave of civil unrest in America, triggered by the murder of George Floyd in 2020, continued into 2021 with protests, rioting, and violence. While the movement gained strength in 2020, in 2021, many Americans looked away. At the same time, there was a political push for a more “patriotic” retelling of history – to limit what schools could teach about slavery. However, steps in the right direction were taken by both the American Psychiatric Association and the American Psychological Association when they issued public apologies for the harm they caused.

Although drug overdose deaths increased, there were significant strides taken in 2021 to win the “war on drugs” – by ending it with an awareness that this is not a war; it’s a treatable illness. 2021 saw the establishment of evidence-based, harm-reduction measures as well as legislation to decriminalize and legalize drugs. Meanwhile, medical research in 2021 revealed promising treatments to heal both addiction and mental illness.

To conclude, last year – in general – sucked. Despite this, it wasn’t entirely bad in mental health in 2021. And, 2022 could be the light at the end of the tunnel! In fact, the same poll that suggested 2021 was a “trainwreck” of a year found a majority of Americans are still hopeful for 2022.

“We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.”

Martin Luther King, Jr.

mental health in 2021

50 Unique Gift Ideas for Therapists

50 fun, creative, and unique gift ideas for therapists and mental health workers!


Disclaimer: Some posts contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn a commission from qualifying purchases.


Gifts Under $5

1. Freud’s After Therapy Mints

In case the Freudian slips leave a bad taste in the mouth!

$4.95 from Amazon

2. “Healing Is Not Linear” Mental Health Poster

Wall art with a message of hope.

$3.46 from Etsy

3. Fuck This Shit: A Motivational Swear Word Coloring Book for Adults

Excellent for relieving stress and for relaxing after work!

$3.99 from Amazon

4. What Emotions Are You Bottling Up?

More wall art!

$3.49 from Etsy

5. Mario Badescu Facial Spray with Aloe, Cucumber and Green Tea

This light facial mist is especially refreshing after staring at a computer screen all day long.

$5.00 from Amazon


Literary Gift Ideas for Therapists

6. Desk Reference to the Diagnostic Criteria from DSM-5 (Spiral-Bound)

$18.49 from Amazon

Every counselor needs one of these!

7. Diagnosis Made Easier, Second Edition: Principles and Techniques for Mental Health Clinicians, Second Edition

$33.00 from Amazon

Amazon: “This popular practitioner guide and course text takes the reader step by step through diagnostic decision making in mental health. Acclaimed for both the clarity of his writing and his clinical expertise, James Morrison provides principles and decision trees for evaluating information from multiple sources and constructing a valid, clinically useful working diagnosis. More than 100 vivid vignettes-from the straightforward to the toughest cases-illustrate the practical application of these methods. Essential topics include developing a differential diagnosis and dealing with comorbidity.”

8. The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are

$12.99 from Amazon

Amazon: “A motivational and inspiring guide to wholehearted living, rather than just the average self-help book, with this groundbreaking work Brené Brown, Ph.D., bolsters the self-esteem and personal development process through her characteristic heartfelt, honest storytelling. With original research and plenty of encouragement, she explores the psychology of releasing our definitions of an ‘imperfect’ life and embracing living authentically. Brown’s ‘ten guideposts’ are benchmarks for authenticity that can help anyone establish a practice for a life of honest beauty—a perfectly imperfect life.”

9. The Gift of Therapy: An Open Letter to a New Generation of Therapists and Their Patients

$10.29 from Amazon

Amazon: “The culmination of master psychiatrist Dr. Irvin D. Yalom’s more than thirty-five years in clinical practice, The Gift of Therapy is a remarkable and essential guidebook that illustrates through real case studies how patients and therapists alike can get the most out of therapy. A book aimed at enriching the therapeutic process for a new generation of patients and counselors, Yalom’s Gift of Therapy is an entertaining, informative, and insightful read for anyone with an interest in the subject.”

10. Letters to a Young Therapist

$14.99 from Amazon

Amazon: “In Letters to a Young Therapist, Dr. Pipher shares what she has learned in thirty years as a therapist, helping warring families, alienated adolescents, and harried professionals restore peace and beauty to their lives. Letters to a Young Therapist gives voice to her practice with an exhilarating mix of storytelling and sharp-eyed observation. And while her letters are addressed to an imagined young therapist, every one of us can take something away from them.”

11. Man’s Search for Meaning

$8.39 from Amazon

Amazon: “This seminal book, which has been called ‘one of the outstanding contributions to psychological thought’ by Carl Rogers and ‘one of the great books of our time’ by Harold Kushner, has been translated into more than fifty languages and sold over sixteen million copies. ‘An enduring work of survival literature,’ according to the New York Times, Viktor Frankl’s riveting account of his time in the Nazi concentration camps, and his insightful exploration of the human will to find meaning in spite of the worst adversity, has offered solace and guidance to generations of readers since it was first published in 1946. At the heart of Frankl’s theory of logotherapy (from the Greek word for ‘meaning’) is a conviction that the primary human drive is not pleasure, as Freud maintained, but rather the discovery and pursuit of what the individual finds meaningful. Today, as new generations face new challenges and an ever more complex and uncertain world, Frankl’s classic work continues to inspire us all to find significance in the very act of living, in spite of all obstacles.”

12. On Being a Therapist 

$23.07 on Amazon

Amazon: “For more than thirty years, On Being a Therapist has inspired generations of mental health professionals to explore the most private and sacred aspects of their work helping others. In this thoroughly revised and updated fifth edition, Jeffrey Kottler explores many of the challenges that
therapists face in their practices today, including pressures from increased technology, economic realities, and advances in theory and technique. He also explores the stress factors that are brought on from managed care bureaucracy, conflicts at work, and clients’ own anxiety and depression.”

See 75 Must-Read Books for Therapists for additional book ideas.


Novelty Gifts

13. Freudian Slippers

Funny and comfy!

$29.95 from Amazon

14. Makeup Bag

Can also be used for desk or art accessories.

$11.79 from Etsy

15. Counselor Nutritional Facts Coffee Mug

Cute mug for therapists and counselors.

$17.99 from Amazon

16. “I Have Needs” – Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Psychology Stickers

A reminder that we all have basic needs.

$9.00 from Etsy

17. Freudian Slips Sticky Notes Booklet

More Freud! A fun gift.

$7.95 from Amazon

18. Psychopoly Game

“Do not pass go, do not collect $200 in fees, go directly to the asylum!”

$40.00 from Etsy

19. Knock Knock Self-Therapy Checklist Notepad

A great gift for anyone.

$9.24 from Amazon

20. Therapist Description Tote Bag

Every counselor needs a tote like this!

$9.72 from Etsy

21. Porcelain Phrenology Head

Just for fun!

$72.90 from Amazon

22. And How Does That Make You Feel? Stemless Wine Glass

Are you feeling red, white, or bubbles?

$25.94 from Etsy


Therapy Tools & Games

23. Conversation Cubes

This activity is geared towards younger children.

$9.49 from Amazon

24. The Coping Skills Thumball

Fun group activity for both children and adults!

$19.99 from Amazon

25. Jenga Conversation Starter Questions

Icebreaker labels for Jenga blocks (blocks not included).

$3.49 from Etsy

26. Empowering Questions Card Deck

An uplifinting and inspiring group activity.

$14.35 from Amazon

27. RETHiNK Card Deck Mindful Conversation Starters: 56 Questions to Encourage Compassion, Shift Perspective & Build Connection Cards

A great activity for connecting with others.

$16.99 from Amazon

28. The Values Card Deck

Perfect for helping clients to identify and connect with their personal values.

$29.95 from Amazon


Personalized Gift ideas for Therapists

29. Desk Name Plate

Customizable name place.

$23.65 from Amazon

30. Personalized Counselor Stamp

Perfect for a school counselor!

$16.96 from Etsy

31. Personalized Stainless Steel Business Card Case

A thoughtful and meaningful gift, especially for the new therapist.

$8.99 from Amazon

32. Personalized Desk Business Card Holder

A customizable card holder.

$36.08 from Etsy


Office Accessories & Decor

33. BLACK+DECKER BCRK17W Compact Refrigerator Energy Star Single Door Mini Fridge with Freezer

This vintage-looking unit is perfect for storing water, fruit, tea, and other healthy snacks.

$170.10 from Amazon

34. Emotional Support Plant

Requires sunlight and water only!

$19.99 from Etsy

35. Black Metal Tree Coat Rack

A modern and slim coat rack.

$49.75 from Amazon

36. Ergonomic Active Sitting Stool

Helps correct posture throughout the day.

$110.00 from Uncommon Goods

37. Circadian Optics Light Therapy – UV-Free LED Lamp

For seasonal affect depression.

$69.99 from Amazon

38. “In Session” Door Hanger Sign

A polite and stylish upgrade to the typical “Do Not Disturb” sign.

$20.00 from Etsy

39. Himalayan Glow Natural Zen Garden

This little garden lends to the ambiance of any space.

$24.08 from Amazon

40. “Let’s Talk” Pillow

A friendly invitation to all who enter the office.

$21.95 from Etsy

41. Marpac Dohm Classic Original White Noise Machine Featuring Soothing Natural Sound from a Real Fan

This is a must for protecting confidentiality.

$44.99 from Amazon

42. MIND THERAPY Office Art

Wall art that is representative of the therapeutic process.

$6.88 from Etsy

43. Mydethun Moon Lamp, 5.9 inch

The perfect addition to any office.

$32.99 from Amazon


Wellness & Self-Care Gift Ideas for Therapists

44. Bath Bomb Gift Set

Bath bombs are always a fun way to relax!

$26.80 from Amazon

45. Self-Care Counselor Shirt

Every therapist knows how important self-care is!

$26.99 on Etsy

46. Self-Care Spa Box

A thoughtful gift for the essential therapist who has been serving those in need throughout the pandemic.

$42.50 from Etsy

47. Lavender and Sage Candle, 9oz Clear Glass Jar

Lavender has a calming effect.

$20.00 from Amazon

48. Silicone Bead Lanyard

A stylish lanyard for the counselors who work in hospital, government, or school settings.

$6.53 from Etsy

49. Magnetic Poetry – Zen Kit

For creating a zen space.

$12.95 from Amazon

50. Wellbeing Ritual Aromatherapy Mini Tin

This little kit can be used to self-soothe or as a therapy tool with clients!

$36.00 from Uncommon Goods

For more on counselor self-care, see 17 Self-Care Ideas for Mental Health Professionals.


gift ideas for therapists

50 MORE Awesome Resources for Therapists

This article contains 50 more awesome resources for therapists and other mental health professionals, including links to free therapy worksheets, handouts, and assessment tools, as well as recommended books and therapy card decks.

I’d like to acknowledge Jennifer Colby for submitting a large majority of these links! Thank you!

For additional resources for therapists, see 60 Awesome Resources for Therapists and 200+ Sites with Free Therapy Worksheets & Handouts.


Disclaimer: Some posts contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn a commission from qualifying purchases.


45 Techniques Every Counselor Should Know

Amazon: “Concise, yet thorough, 45 Techniques Every Counselor Should Know is designed to prepare students to enter their field with sound ideas for applying theory-based techniques to their counseling. Coverage of each technique starts with the presentation of the theoretical origins, then provides a step-by-step guide to implementation, and culminates with opportunities for application. Transcriptions, case examples, multicultural implications, and outcomes-based research demonstrate real-life application of how the techniques can be used in counseling practice. This indispensable resource provides hands-on help for working with clients from all backgrounds to create positive changes in their lives and meet their counseling goals.”


The Attachment Theory Workbook: Powerful Tools to Promote Understanding, Increase Stability, and Build Lasting Relationships

Amazon: “Attachment theory explores the different ways we develop connections with others. If you’re searching for a way to create stronger, healthier, and more authentic relationships with the people you love, The Attachment Theory Workbook can help. It’s your guide to understanding your own attachment style and exploring actionable exercises to improve honesty, intimacy, and communication with your partner, family, or close friends.”


Beyond the Influence: Understanding and Defeating Alcoholism

Amazon: “Alcoholism is a disease. It’s time we started treating it like one. Science has offered undisputed proof that alcoholism is a disease rather than a weakness of character, yet millions of alcoholics continue to suffer due to inappropriate treatment.  Now the co-author of the modern classic Under the Influence has teamed up with prominent alcoholism experts to provide new answers to this national epidemic. Based on the latest scientific research, Beyond the Influence clearly explains the neurological nature of the disease and reveals why some people drink addictively and others do not. Provocative and eye-opening, compelling and compassionate, Beyond the Influence is not only a message of hope for alcoholics-it is a blueprint for saving lives.”


Motivational Interviewing and CBT: Combining Strategies for Maximum Effectiveness

Amazon: “Providing tools to enhance treatment of any clinical problem, this book shows how integrating motivational interviewing (MI) and cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) can lead to better client outcomes than using either approach on its own. The authors demonstrate that MI strategies are ideally suited to boost client motivation and strengthen the therapeutic relationship, whether used as a pretreatment intervention or throughout the course of CBT. User-friendly features include extensive sample dialogues, learning exercises for practitioners, and 35 reproducible client handouts.”


Rethinking Substance Abuse

Amazon: “While knowledge on substance abuse and addictions is expanding rapidly, clinical practice still lags behind. This book brings together leading experts to describe what treatment and prevention would look like if it were based on the best science available. The volume incorporates developmental, neurobiological, genetic, behavioral, and social–environmental perspectives. Tightly edited chapters summarize current thinking on the nature and causes of alcohol and other drug problems; discuss what works at the individual, family, and societal levels; and offer robust principles for developing more effective treatments and services.”


Treating Self-Injury: A Practical Guide

Amazon: “This trusted practitioner resource is acclaimed for its clear, compassionate, and hopeful approach to working with clients who self-injure. Barent Walsh provides current, evidence-based knowledge about the variety and causes of self-injurious behavior, its relationship to suicidality, and how to assess and treat it effectively. Illustrated with detailed case examples, chapters review a wide range of cognitive-behavioral interventions. Essential guidance is provided on tailoring the intensity of intervention to each client’s unique needs. Walsh is joined by several colleagues who have contributed chapters in their respective areas of expertise.”


Resources for Therapists: Free Worksheets, Handouts, & Tools

Counseling Theories & Techniques

Expressive Art Inspirations: 100 Art Therapy Exercises | A webpage from Shelley Klammer, counseling therapist and expressive arts educator, with creative art exercise ideas.

The Handout Book | A fantastic resource, this is a 189-page PDF packet of handouts from Bill O’Hanlon. The first few sections cover brief solution-based and possibility therapy, Ericksonian therapy and solution-oriented hypnosis, and narrative therapy. The remaining sections cover couples, families, and relationships; sexual abuse; substance use; spirituality; handouts for “the general public”; misc. handouts; and clinical forms.

PSYCHOTHERAPY PROCESS Q-SET CODING MANUAL | A method for evaluating a therapy session.

Skill Evaluation Form: Counseling Skills and Techniques | Although this evaluation form from Kent State University is intended as an educational assessment tool for counseling students, it can easily be used for self-inventory.

TA Tutor | This site focuses on transactional analysis theory and is “a learning tool for transactional analysis with 426 handouts to view and print.” Lewis Quinby, LCSW, is the author. In addition to printable tools, he posted links to video clips and slide shows.

Emotions

Building Our Feelings Vocabulary | A worksheet designed to help children identify their feelings (from Positive Psychology).

Impact of My Anger | A worksheet from Positive Psychology.

Love to Know: Free Anger Worksheets | 7 worksheets for download from the site Love to Know.

Grief & Loss

Kids and Loss: How to Work with the Uniqueness of a Child’s Grief | A 22-page PDF packet from Erica H. Sirrine, Ph.D., LCSW, FT.

Sheri Sinykin’s Place: Loss and Grief Handouts | This site is managed by author Sheri Sinykin, who writes children’s books. The handouts are teacher resources, aimed at children and students.

Trauma & PTSD

Gift from Within | Gift from Within was developed in 1993 “with the intention of giving trauma survivors, their loved ones, and supporters a credible online website that was friendly and supportive.” This resource site provides a wealth of articles, webcasts, links, a recommended reading list, art and poetry, meditations, and more.

Trust-Based Relational Intervention: A Trauma-Informed Approach to Use in Schools | A 29-page PowerPoint presentation from the American School Health Association and the TCU Institute of Child Development.

Relationships & Communication

Beyond Affairs: Read & Listen | A collection of articles on infidelity and marriage recovery.

TherapyHelp | A site managed by Dr. Susan Heitler, clinical psychologist and author, with articles, handouts for couples therapy, and treatment forms. Dr. Heitler specializes in couples counseling and conflict resolution. She also writes for Psychology Today.

Children, Youth, & Families

Autism Research Centre: Downloadable Tests | “The ARC designs tests, evaluates and validates them, and then makes them freely available to the research community or for clinicians. You can download them… provided that they are used for research purposes and not for commercial use, and provided due acknowledgement of ARC as the source is given.”

Child Mind Institute: Parenting Guides | A sizable collection of guides on a variety of topics including anxiety, autism, bedwetting, learning disorders, sleep, trauma, and more.

Favorite Therapeutic Activities for Children, Adolescents, and Families: Practitioners Share Their Most Effective Interventions | A 119-page e-book edited by Liana Lowenstein, MSW.

Free Printable Behavior Charts and Reward Charts for Kids | A variety of downloadable tools. The site was created by Joanne McNulty who has an M.S. in Counseling as well as experience in child therapy.

Kids and Loss: How to Work with the Uniqueness of a Child’s Grief | A 22-page PDF packet from Erica H. Sirrine, Ph.D., LCSW, FT.

Low Intensity CBT Parenting Intervention Workbook | A 27-page PDF workbook.

Parenting Techniques to Increase Family Attachment | Developed by Deborah N. Silverstein, LCSW, a 3-page PDF with parenting techniques to enhance attachment bonds.

Adolescents & Young Adults

TEENS FINDING HOPE, INC. | Downloadable worksheets, guides, e-books, and more.

Emotional Intelligence Activities for Teens Ages 13-18 | A 34-page PDF packet.

Additional Printable Tools

Bristol CBT: Client Resources | Handouts and worksheets, a workbook for overcoming depression, and articles on relationships from Andrew Grimmer, a counseling psychologist.

Hair Pulling and Skin Picking | An informative PowerPoint presentation from ADAA.

PsychEdPro | “Creating and finding the best mental health therapy and educational resources.” A small collection of group activities, therapeutic quotes, and videos.

The TLC Foundation for Body-Focused Repetitive Behaviors: Tools & Info | Articles, fact sheets, and downloadable guides for clinicians, family members, and patients.

University of Exeter: IAPT Workbooks and Resources | A small collection of downloadable workbooks for wellbeing.


Resources for Therapists: Therapy Card Decks

The CBT Deck: 101 Practices to Improve Thoughts, Be in the Moment & Take Action in Your Life

The DBT Deck for Clients and Therapists: 101 Mindful Practices to Manage Distress, Regulate Emotions & Build Better Relationships

A New Beginning Recovery Card Game

RETHiNK Card Deck Mindful Conversation Starters: 56 Questions to Encourage Compassion, Shift Perspective & Build Connection

Wellness Reproductions & Publishing 100 Interactive Cards for Mental Health, Substance Abuse Recovery, and Survival Skills


Resources for Therapists: Best Counseling Websites

American Counseling Association | “The American Counseling Association is a not-for-profit, professional and educational organization that is dedicated to the growth and enhancement of the counseling profession.”

American Psychiatric Association | “The mission of the American Psychiatric Association is to promote universal and equitable access to the highest quality care for all people affected by mental disorders, including substance use disorders; promote psychiatric education and research; advance and represent the profession of psychiatry; and serve the professional needs of its membership.”

Black Dog Institute | “As the only medical research institute in Australia to investigate mental health across the lifespan, our aim is to create a mentally healthier world for everyone.”

Center for Clinical Interventions (CCI) | “CCI has produced resources for consumers and healthcare professionals to assist in providing interventions for mental health problems such as depression, bipolar, social anxiety, panic, self-esteem, procrastination, perfectionism, and eating disorders.”

Get Self-Help UK | “This website provides CBT self-help and therapy resources, including worksheets and information sheets, plus videos and self-help mp3s.”

HelpGuide.org | “HelpGuide is a small independent nonprofit that runs one of the world’s top 10 mental health websites. Over 50 million people from all around the world turn to HelpGuide each year for trustworthy content they can use to improve their mental health and make healthy changes.”

Mind UK | “We provide advice and support to empower anyone experiencing a mental health problem. We campaign to improve services, raise awareness and promote understanding. We won’t give up until everyone experiencing a mental health problem gets support and respect.”

NAADAC: The Association for Addiction Professionals | “NAADAC, the Association for Addiction Professionals, represents the professional interests of more than 100,000 addiction counselors, educators and other addiction-focused health care professionals in the United States, Canada and abroad.”

National Institute of Mental Health | The NIMH’s mission is “to transform the understanding and treatment of mental illnesses through basic and clinical research, paving the way for prevention, recovery, and cure.”

PACEs Connection | “PACEs Connection is a social network that recognizes the impact of a wide variety of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) in shaping adult behavior and health, and that promotes trauma-informed and resilience-building practices and policies in all families, organizations, systems and communities.”

Positive Psychology | Founded by Seph Fontane Pennock and Hugo Alberts whose aim is “to provide helping professionals with the right knowledge and tools to apply positive psychology in real-life settings and make a difference in the lives of their clients and students.”

Psychiatry Advisor | “PsychiatryAdvisor.com offers psychiatric healthcare professionals a comprehensive knowledge base of practical psychiatry information and resources to assist in making the right decisions for their patients.”

The Recovery Research Institute | Mission: “To enhance the public health impact of addiction recovery science through the summary, synthesis, and dissemination of scientific findings and the conduct of novel research.”

SAMHSA – Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration | “SAMHSA’s mission is to reduce the impact of substance abuse and mental illness on America’s communities.”

Social Workers Toolbox | Free social work tools and resources for direct work with children and adults.

Taking the Escalator | Addiction and substance use resources for recovery.

Therapist Aid | “Dedicated to helping mental health professionals improve their craft by providing free evidence-based education and therapy tools.”


If you have a resource recommendation, please submit via the contact form.

resources for

20 Powerful TED Talks on Relationships & Communication

20 powerful TED Talks on relationships, communication, and related topics for mental health professionals and counseling students to use as psychoeducational tools (or for self-help).

For more recommended TED Talks, see 10 Most Popular TEDx Talks (a playlist from the TED website), 3 Powerful TED Talks on Grief, 10 Powerful TED Talks on Emotions, 10 Powerful TED Talks on Resilience, Empathy, & Compassion, and 18 Best TED Talks for Addiction & Recovery.

For additional psychoeducational videos, see 50 Helpful YouTube Videos for Psychoeducation.


20 Powerful TED Talks on Relationships & Communication

1. Four Habits of ALL Successful Relationships | Dr. Andrea & Jonathan Taylor-Cummings (2019)

All relationships take work. Dr. Andrea & Jon Taylor-Cummings share their observations of the four fundamental habits of healthy relationships: BE CURIOUS, not critical; BE CAREFUL, not crushing; ASK, don’t assume; and CONNECT, before you correct.


2. Ten Ways to Have a Better Conversation | Celeste Headlee (2016)

Journalist, author, and public speaker Celeste Headlee reveals the ingredients of a great conversation: Honesty, brevity, clarity, and a healthy amount of listening. In this insightful talk, she shares 10 rules for having better conversations.


3. The Brain in Love | Helen Fisher (2008)

Helen Fisher – anthropologist, human behavior researcher, and self-help author – talks about romantic love in this video clip. She shares what neuroscience tells us about the brain in love.


Bonus video: The Science of Love with Dr. Helen Fisher


4. Do You Have Post Betrayal Syndrome? | Debi Silber (2020)

Dr. Debi Silber – psychologist and founder of the PBT (Post Betrayal Transformation) Institute – talks about being blindsided by betrayal. She explains how we heal (physically, mentally, and emotionally) from betrayal by turning trauma into transformation.

Take a free quiz to find out if you have post betrayal syndrome.


5. The Dreaded Drama Triangle | Lucy Barnes (2018)

There are three roles we take on in unhealthy relationships. Are you the victim, the rescuer, or the persecutor? Lucy Barnes talks about the dreaded drama triangle in this TED Talk.


6. How to Fix a Broken Heart | Guy Winch (2018)

Psychologist Guy Winch talks about heartbreak and the intense emotional pain it brings. To recover from a broken heart, we must be willing to let the relationship go; hope can be incredibly destructive when we’re heartbroken. In one of the most viewed TED Talks on relationships and breakups, Winch shares practical suggestions for moving on after a relationship ends.


7. How to Speak So That People Want to Listen | Julian Treasure (2014)

According to Julian Treasure, the seven deadly sins of speaking are gossip, judging, negativity, complaining, blaming, lying, and conflating fact with opinion. He talks about the four cornerstones of effective speech as well as tools for speaking so that people want to listen.


Bonus TED-Ed Video: How Miscommunication Happens and How to Avoid It


8. How to Spot a Liar | Pamela Meyer (2011)

We’re all liars, according to Pamela Meyer – and we’re lied to between 10 and 200 times on any given day. In one of the most highly viewed TED Talks on relationships and deception, Meyer talks about how to spot lies by recognizing the telltale signs of a liar.


9. How Your Brain Falls In Love | Dawn Maslar (2016)

Biologist Dawn Maslar explains the neuroscience of falling in love. Romantic love is associated with chemical and hormonal changes that differ for men and women.


10. Infidelity: To Stay or Go…? | Lucy Beresford (2018)

Psychotherapist and relationship expert Lucy Beresford argues against the assumption that ending a relationship after infidelity is the best course of action. She suggests that it’s more courageous to stay and rebuild. In this TED Talk, Beresford explains how a couple can repair their relationship and rebuild trust after a betrayal.


Bonus TED-Ed Video: A Brief History of Divorce

11. Is Casual Sex Bad for You? | Dr. Zhana Vrangalova (2015)

Renowned sex researcher and psychologist Zhana Vrangalova discusses casual sex, long portrayed as a societal sin. She explains how “hookup” sex satisfies some of our most basic human needs.


12. Is It Lust or Is It Love? | Terri Orbuch (2014)

Dr. Terri Orbuch (aka, The Love Doctor®) is a professor of sociology at Oakland University (Rochester, Michigan) and a research professor at the Institute for Social Research at University of Michigan. In this TED Talk she explains how to differentiate between lust and love by recognizing distinctive features.


13. Overcoming the Fear of Love | Trillion Small (2018)

Dr. Trillion Small, licensed marriage and family therapist, examines why we fear love and how to overcome this in order to have healthy relationships.


14. The Power of Vulnerability | Brené Brown (2011)

Brené Brown shares a deep insight from her research, one that sent her on a personal quest to know herself as well as to understand humanity.


15. Relationships Are Hard, but Why? | Stan Tatkin (2016)

Stan Tatkin – relationship expert, clinician, teacher, and researcher – explores why we fight in relationships from a neuroscience perspective.


16. Rethinking Infidelity… A Talk for Anyone Who Has Ever Loved | Esther Perel (2015)

Relationship therapist Esther Perel discusses adultery and infidelity in this TED Talk. She explains that monogamy has nothing to do with love and talks about the three ways infidelity hurts us differently today.


17. The Science of Love | John Gottman (2018)

Can science help find the magic of love? Relationship expert discusses the science of love and how to make love work.


18. Skills for Healthy Romantic Relationships | Joanne Davila (2015)

Psychologist and researcher Joanne Davila describes how you can create the things that lead to healthy relationships and reduce the things that lead to unhealthy ones using three evidence-based skills – insight, mutuality, and emotion regulation.


19. What a Sex Worker Can Teach Us About Human Connection | Nicole Emma (2018)

Nicole Emma explains that sex is how men feel loved and worthy. She shares what she learned about human connection through sex work. She also touches on the impact of harmful male messages in society.


20. Why Domestic Violence Victims Don’t Leave | Leslie Morgan Steiner (2013)

Leslie Morgan Steiner shares what it’s like to be in “crazy love” with an abusive partner. For years she stayed with a man who routinely abused her and threatened her life. In this TED Talk, Steiner explains why domestic violence victims don’t leave abusive relationships; she also corrects common misconceptions about intimate partner violence.


TED Talks on relationships

10 Powerful TED Talks on Emotions

A list of 10 powerful TED Talks on emotions, including anger, sadness, fear, etc. (and how to effectively manage them!)

For more recommended TED Talks, see 10 Most Popular TEDx Talks (a playlist on the TED website), 10 Powerful TED Talks on Resilience, Empathy, & Compassion, and 18 Best TED Talks for Addiction & Recovery.

For additional psychoeducational videos, see 50 Helpful YouTube Videos for Psychoeducation.


10 Powerful TED Talks on Emotions

1. Anger Is Your Ally: A Mindful Approach to Anger | Juna Mustad (2019)

You wouldn’t let a young child drive a car, nor would you lock them in the trunk. Treat your anger in the same manner; don’t let it drive you, but don’t be a “stuffer.” Juna Mustad explains how neuroscience and mindfulness can help us to better understand and manage anger.


2. Don’t Neglect Your Emotions. Express Them – Constructively! | Artūrs Miksons (2019)

Medical doctor and psychotherapist Artūrs Miksons talks about how we learn to suppress or reject emotional responses that are deemed unacceptable by society. In reality, emotions should not be labeled as “good” or “bad”; they just are. A better way to manage difficult emotions is to not only recognize and accept them, but to speak them aloud and share with another.


3. Emotional Mastery: The Gifted Wisdom of Unpleasant Feelings | Dr. Joan Rosenberg (2016)

Psychologist Joan Rosenberg explains how poor management of unpleasant feelings blocks us from feeling capable in life and achieving success. She reveals a simple formula (1 choice, 8 feelings, 90 seconds) for navigating these challenging feelings in one of the most popular TED Talks on emotions.


4. Emotions Monsters and the Way We Treat Them | Melissa Gallagher (2020)

Melissa Gallagher – trauma survivor, parent, and mental health advocate – explains that we need to recognize and connect with our “emotions monsters” in order to heal from suffering. Hiding from our pain only makes it worse.


5. Feelings: Handle Them Before They Handle You | Mandy Saligari (2017)

Recovering addict and addictions therapist Mandy Saligari explains that we must handle our emotions or they will handle us. She discusses emotional coping mechanisms for managing feelings and the role of healthy boundaries.


6. The Mood-Boosting Power of Crying | Kathy Mendias (2020)

In this video clip, Kathy Mendias explores the science behind the mood-boosting power of tears (which the average human produces 15-30 gallons of per year!) She explains how crying can improve both physical and mental wellbeing.

Did you know that the chemical composition of emotional tears differs from that of the tears that form in response to an irritant? Click here for a 4-minute bonus video that explains the chemistry of tears and why we cry.


7. The Power of Women’s Anger | Soraya Chemaly (2019)

Author Soraya Chemaly talks about how girls and women across the world are taught that anger, “the moral property of boys and men,” is better left unvoiced. In reality, anger is a powerful signal that warns us of threat, insult, indignity, and harm; feminine rage is justified, healthy, and a potential catalyst for change.


8. Want to Be Happy? Be Grateful | David Steindl-Rast (2013)

Monk and interfaith scholar David Steindl-Rast talks about how gratefulness is the secret to true happiness. He encourages everyone to “live gratefully” by not taking life for granted. Every moment is a gift and we have a new opportunity in every moment.


9. Why You Should Define Your Fears Instead of Your Goals | Tim Ferriss (2017)

In this TED Talks, Tim Ferriss – entrepreneur, investor, author, podcaster, and lifestyle guru – talks about overcoming self-paralysis through “fear-setting.” By envisioning our fears and then focusing on what we have control over (define, prevent, impair), we are better equipped to face them.


10. You Aren’t at the Mercy of Your Emotions – Your Brain Creates Them | Lisa Feldman Barrett (2018)

Neuroscientist and psychology professor Lisa Feldman Barrett has mapped facial expressions, scanned brains, and analyzed hundreds of physiology studies for the past 25 years to better understand human emotions. Through exhaustive research she discovered how emotions are created in the brain. As one of the top-viewed TED Talks on emotions, this video shows that we have more control over our emotions than we think we do.


TED Talks on emotions

10 Powerful TED Talks on Resilience, Empathy, & Compassion

Powerful TED Talks on resilience, empathy, compassion, and related topics for clinical/educational use or for self-help.

For more recommended TED Talks, see 10 Most Popular TEDx Talks (a playlist on the TED website), 3 Powerful TED Talks on Grief, and 18 Best TED Talks for Addiction & Recovery.

For additional psychoeducational videos, see 50 Helpful YouTube Videos for Psychoeducation.


Powerful TED Talks on Resilience, Empathy, & Compassion

1. Compassion and the True Meaning of Empathy | Joan Halifax (2011)

In this inspiring TED Talk, Joan Halifax shares about what she’s learned about compassion and true empathy. She has a deep insight into the nature of compassion, gained through her work with people in the end stages of their lives.


2. Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance | Angela Lee Duckworth (2013)

In this popular TED Talk, psychologist Angela Lee Duckworth explains how grit and determination, not IQ, are the biggest predictors of success.


3. How Do You Define Yourself? | Lizzie Velasquez (2014)

Lizzie Velasquez, once labeled the world’s ugliest woman, explores the ways in which we define ourselves. As one of the most powerful TED Talks on true beauty, this video empowers viewers to challenge society’s definitions of beauty, happiness, and success – and to decide for themselves how they’ll allow themselves to be defined.


4. How to Succeed in Every Moment Even When You’re Failing | Dr. Jill Stoddard (2020)

Dr. Jill Stoddard – clinical psychologist and author – challenges the notion that goal achievement is a measure of success. She explores alternative ways of thinking about failures in life.


5. Listening to Shame | Brené Brown (2012)

Brené Brown – researcher, professor, and author – explores what can happen when people confront their shame head-on. In this TED Talk she explains how shame is an epidemic and how it plays a major role in “broken” behaviors in our lives.


6. The Magic of Not Giving a F*** | Sarah Knight (2017)

Bestselling author Sarah Knight outlines her method for “not giving a fuck,” thereby putting a stop to spending time she doesn’t have, doing things she doesn’t want to do. One of the most powerful TED Talks on self-determination, Sarah Knight’s speech will leave you rethinking your own priorities (and fucks to give – or not to give) in life.


7. The Price of Shame | Monica Lewinsky (2015)

Monica Lewinsky delivers a compelling talk on public shaming and the “culture of humiliation” that exists today. From a woman who lost her personal reputation on a global scale back in 1998 – and who was able to survive by taking back her narrative – this video clip is one of the most powerful TED Talks out there on countering public humiliation with empathy and compassion.


8. The Secret of Becoming Mentally Strong | Amy Morin (2015)

What bad mental habits are holding you up? In this TED Talk, Amy Morin – psychotherapist and author – explains how to become “mentally strong” by challenging our negative beliefs and giving up unhealthy habits. This strategy builds resiliency and allows us to become unstuck in life, thus reaching our full potential.


9. The Space Between Self-Esteem and Self-Compassion | Kristin Neff (2013)

Kristin Neff – university professor and published author – explores the relationship between self-esteem and self-compassion in this video clip. She asks viewers to be kind to themselves as she discusses what research tells us about self-compassion.


10. The Three Secrets of Resilient People | Lucy Hone (2019)

In this TED Talk, Dr. Lucy Hone – resilience expert, acclaimed researcher, and published author – discusses three strategies for rising up from adversity in the face of suffering. She shares about her personal experience with painful loss – and how she was able to get through an unimaginable tragedy. As one of the most inspiring and powerful TED Talks on resiliency, this video clip provides viewers with not only insight, but hope.


powerful TED Talks