Feed Your Mood: The Link Between Diet and Mental Health

What foods are associated with increased psychiatric symptoms? What should you eat if you want to boost your mood? Learn what researchers have found when it comes to diet and mental well-being.

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

You may have heard of the “food-mood connection.” Research indicates that our food choices greatly impact not only physical health, but mental well-being. Some foods seem to boost mood and reduce psychiatric symptoms while others are linked to depression and anxiety.

Mood Thugs

Sugar negatively impacts mood and slows memory and learning. High-sugar diets are associated with smaller brain volume. Furthermore, sugar will make you less alert and more tired. A recent study found that the idea of a “sugar rush” is myth.

Sugar is not the only villain; fat can be just as harmful. One study found that a high-fat diet may lead to symptoms of depression and anxiety. Furthermore, trans fat may lead to poor memory function.

If you have bipolar disorder, avoid processed meats such as jerky, hot dogs, etc. Researchers found that nitrates in processed meats are associated with mania.

Mood Champions

A diet high in fiber and vegetables (with limited added sugar) has been linked to improved mood and a reduction in depressive symptoms. Interestingly, women seem to benefit more than men, and the effect is even greater when exercise is added. A vegan or plant-based diet is associated with lower levels of depression, anxiety, and stress.

Fruits and vegetables are good for mood, but raw fruits and veggies are better. A raw diet is associated with higher levels of mental wellbeing and lower levels of psychiatric symptoms. According to a recent study, the top raw foods associated with mental wellness are apples, bananas, berries, carrots, citrus fruits, cucumbers, grapefruit, kiwi, lettuce, and dark, leafy greens.

So how many servings of fruit/veggies should you eat per day for optimal mental health? At least 8, according to one study that found happiness benefits were evident for each portion for up to 8 servings per day.

What nutrients should you include in your diet for improved mental health? Research indicates the following are important for mental wellbeing:  Omega-3 fatty acids (fish, flaxseed, walnuts), phospholipids (egg yolk, soybeans), niacin (liver, avocado, brown rice), folate (legumes, beets, broccoli), vitamin B6 (chickpeas, tuna), and vitamin B12 (sardines, fortified nutritional yeast).

In sum, skip the fast food and soda; head to the salad bar instead to feed your mood and your belly!


References

Bonnie Beezhold, Cynthia Radnitz, Amy Rinne & Julie DiMatteo (2015) Vegans report less stress and anxiety than omnivores, Nutritional Neuroscience, 18:7, 289-296, DOI: 10.1179/1476830514Y.0000000164

Boston University. (2017, April 20). Is soda bad for your brain? (And is diet soda worse?): Both sugary, diet drinks correlated with accelerated brain aging. ScienceDaily. Retrieved from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/04/170420162254.htm

Johns Hopkins Medicine. (2018, July 18). Beef jerky and other processed meats associated with manic episodes. ScienceDaily. Retrieved from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/07/180718082225.htm

Knüppel, A., Shipley, M. J., Llewellyn, C. H., & Brunner, E. J. (2017). Sugar intake from sweet food and beverages, common mental disorder and depression: prospective findings from the Whitehall II study. Scientific reports7(1), 6287. doi:10.1038/s41598-017-05649-7

Lim SY, Kim EJ, Kim A, Lee HJ, Choi HJ, Yang SJ.   Nutritional Factors Affecting Mental Health.   Clin Nutr Res. 2016 Jul;5(3):143-152. https://doi.org/10.7762/cnr.2016.5.3.143

University of California, Los Angeles. (2012, May 15). This is your brain on sugar: Study shows high-fructose diet sabotages learning, memory. ScienceDaily. Retrieved from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120515150938.htm

University of California, San Diego Health Sciences. (2015, June 17). Dietary trans fat linked to worse memory. ScienceDaily. Retrieved from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/06/150617144237.htm

University of Manchester. (2019, February 5). Healthy diet can ease symptoms of depression. ScienceDaily. Retrieved from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/02/190205090511.htm

University of Otago. (2018, April 16). Raw fruit and vegetables provide better mental health outcomes. ScienceDaily. Retrieved from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/04/180416101403.htm

University of Warwick. (2016, July 10). Fruit and veggies give you the feel-good factor. ScienceDaily. Retrieved from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/07/160710094239.htm

University of Warwick. (2019, April 4). No such thing as ‘sugar rush’! Sugar worsens mood rather than improving it. ScienceDaily. Retrieved from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/04/190404104345.htm

Wiley. (2015, October 19). High-fat diet may cause changes in brain that lead to anxiety, depression. ScienceDaily. Retrieved from http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/10/151019123204.htm

Sites with Helpful Resource Lists

(Updated 5/4/20) A list with links to other sites’ resource pages

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

I have a knack for finding resources. To compile the lists for this blog, I spend countless hours searching the Internet.

My main resource list has grown tremendously since I started blogging. In my quest to compile the most comprehensive resource list ever, I came across a few lists that rival my own.

This post will link you to a variety of resource pages (in case you can’t find what you’re looking for on this site!) If a link isn’t working, try going to the site’s homepage or sitemap to look for the resource section.


Community Resources (ADAA) From the Anxiety and Depression Association of America

DISCOVER AND RECOVER: Resources for Mental and Overall Wellness A blog with tons of resources

Expert Resources from JED and Others Resources for teens and young adults

Find Resources (CADCA) An extensive searchable resource list from CADCA (for substance use disorder-related resources)

Free Mental Health Resources A list compiled by blogger Blake Flannery (last updated 2015)

Links (Sidran Institute) From the Sidran Institute… tons of sites I’d never heard of!

Links to Other Empowering Websites From the National Empowerment Center

Mental Health and Psychology Resources Online A list of online resources from PsycCentral

Mental Health Resources for Therapists and Clients From the blog: Info Counselling – Evidence based therapy techniques. Compiled/last updated 2017.

Mental Health Resources List A fairly comprehensive list similar to mine. Updated 2018.

Resources Resources for child sexual abuse

Resources (Veto Violence) A searchable resource database from Veto Violence (a CDC organization)

Self-Injury and Recovery Research and Resources Resources for those who self-injure, their loved ones, students, and health professionals

Sites We Like From S.A.F.E. Alternatives – Resources related to self-harm

Veteran Resources A resource list from Lifeline for Vets (National Veterans Foundation)

Books & Resources for Therapists

(Updated 5/5/20) A resource list for therapists and other mental health professionals, including book recommendations and sites that link to (free!) printable worksheets, handouts, and more.

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

This is a list of resources for mental health professionals. Please check back as I update regularly. If you have a suggestion, use the contact form on this site.


Books

Armstrong, C. (2015). The Therapeutic “Aha!” Strategies for Getting Your Clients Unstuck.

Belmont, J. (2015). The Therapist’s Ultimate Solution Book.

Buchalter, S. I. (2017). 250 Brief, Creative & Practical Art Therapy Techniques: A Guide for Clinicians and Clients

Rosenglen, D. B. (2018). Building Motivational Interviewing Skills: A Practitioner Workbook, 2nd ed.

The PracticePlanners Series


Websites & Blogs

ACEs Connection | An ACEs community for connecting with others who practice trauma-informed care. You can also access the latest news and research related to ACEs; this site also has a huge resource section with guides, surveys, webinars, and more.

ACT Mindfully | A variety of free worksheets, handouts, book chapters, articles, and more. Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is a unique and creative model for both therapy and coaching; a type of cognitive behavioural therapy based on the innovative use of mindfulness and values.

Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies | Info and clinical resources, including archived Webinars and podcasts

The Centre for Applied Research in Mental Health and Addiction – Tools and Resources | The Centre for Applied Research in Mental Health and Addiction (CARMHA) is an internationally recognized research centre based at the Faculty of Health Sciences, Simon Fraser University, Vancouver. CARMHA conducts innovative and interdisciplinary scientific research related to mental health and substance use, primarily in the areas of clinical or other intervention practice, health systems and population health and epidemiology. Access free downloadable workbooks for stress in the workplace, depression, coping with chronic pain, and other topics.

Character Lab | A collection of “playbooks” for character-building in children

Collaborative Mental Health Care: Child & Youth Mental Health Toolkits | Assessments, handouts, resources guides, links to relevant sites, and more

Compassion Fatigue & Healthcare Professionals: An Online Guide | Resources for coping with compassion fatigue

Confident Counselors | A collaborative blog written by school counselors, school psychologists, and school social workers

Counselling Resource | A resource site for mental health professionals and consumers. Includes interactive assessments, free PDF printables, and information related to online practice and clinical supervision.

Counselor: The Magazine for Addiction & Behavioral Health Professionals | Blog posts written by substance use and mental health providers

Education4Health | The resource section includes a variety of PDF booklets, guides, and workbooks

Evidence-Based Behavioral Practice | Information on evidence-based behavioral practices: includes tools, assessments, videos, and free online training modules

Expressive Art Inspirations: Free Expressive Arts Learning Library | A collection of creative art techniques

Expressive Therapist: Group Activities | A list of ideas for groups of children, teens, and adults

Guided Self-Change | A great resource for SUD assessments, group materials, and handouts

Get Self-Help – Free Resources | This website provides CBT self-help and therapy resources, including a large collection of worksheets and information sheets and self-help mp3s; a useful tools for therapists or individuals seeking to manage a mental health condition.

The Helpful Counselor | Resources for school counselors

National Center for PTSD for Professionals | Free handouts, toolkits, online trainings, and more

Personality Lab | Articles, assessments, dissertations, etc. on personality intelligence

Positive Psychology Program | This site contains a wealth of free assessments, PDF printables, activities, handouts, worksheets, and more. Search by category or browse blog posts.

PsyberGuide | A nonprofit organization that discovers and reviews mental health apps, which are rated as unacceptable, questionable, or acceptable. You can also search target conditions and treatments. Use this site to make recommendations to your clients.

PsychCentral | Articles, news, blogs, forums, interactive quizzes, and more

Self-Care Starter Kit from University at Buffalo School of Social Work | Designed to prevent/treat burnout, this kit includes info on vicarious trauma, assessments, meditations, and helpful links to additional self-care resources

SMI Adviser | Search topics and find resources for SMI. You can also access a variety of free online courses to earn CE credits.

Social Work Helper | Mental health articles and resources

Society for Adolescent Health: Mental Health (ADOLESCENT AND YOUNG ADULT CLINICAL CARE RESOURCES) | Toolkits, apps, guides, manuals, videos, reports, and more

Society for the Advancement of Psychotherapy | Articles, book reviews, and more on relevant topics

Society of Clinical Psychology (Division 12) | A division of the American Psychological Association, this site provides an up-to-date list of evidence-based treatments, and includes links to free assessments, manuals, handouts, etc. for many of the treatments

TherapyAdvisor.org | A searchable database of empirically supported treatments for SUD and MH

Therapy Worksheets | A blog by Will Baum, LCSW, with links to free therapy worksheets

Handouts & Worksheets

CBT for Psychosis & Trauma & Psychosis Handouts | A short list of helpful handouts; this site is also a source for blog posts on psychosis and trauma (by Ron Unger, LCSW)

Centre for Clinical Interventions | Free downloadable workbooks on anxiety, self-esteem, eating disorders, panic, perfectionism, and more

Kim’s Counseling Corner – Therapy and Self-Help Worksheets | Kim Peterson, LPC-S, specializes in child and teen issues, parenthood, play therapy and relationships. She provides links to online worksheets or PDF versions that she has collected over time as a therapist. Topics include abuse, depression, anxiety, self-harm, and more.

Marriage Intelligence: “Love Tools” | Free downloadable worksheets for surviving infidelity, forgiveness, communication, etc.

Mind Tools | Free management, leadership, and personal effectiveness worksheets and tools. (Join the Mind Tools Club for a fee to access additional tools and online courses.)

Oxford Clinical Psychology: Forms and Worksheets | A vast collection of forms, handouts, and assessments on anxiety, OCD, depression, parenting, substance use, and more

Psychology Tools | Psychology Tools is a leading online resource for therapists. Download free worksheets, assessments, and guides.

PsychPoint | Articles and worksheets

Therapist Aid | An extensive collection of free evidence-based education and therapy tools. Download customizable worksheets or access articles and treatment guides. An invaluable resource for therapists.

Ultimate Solution Handouts | Free printable handouts for therapists (from Judith Belmont)

UW Medicine: Harborview Medical Center (Center for Sexual Assault and Traumatic Stress) | Handouts/worksheets for clients on coping with challenging thoughts, anxiety, anger, etc. The site also includes a list of assessments.


For additional sites, see Sites with Free Worksheets & Handouts.

For free resources posted on this site, click here.

social media Groups & Forums

Continuing Ed Collective (Facebook)

Counseling Psychology (Reddit)

Marriage & Family Therapists (Facebook)

Professional Mental Health Counselors, Social Workers, & Psychologists (Facebook)

Psychology (Reddit)

Psychotherapy: A Place for Therapists (Reddit)

A Spot for Social Workers… (Reddit)

Therapist Toolbox (Facebook)

Training Resource Group for Mental Health Professionals (Facebook)

12-Step Recovery Groups

(Updated 5/21/20) An extensive list of support groups for recovery

Compiled by Cassie Jewell, M.Ed., LPC, LSATP

There are a variety of 12-step support groups for recovery. 12-step meetings are not facilitated by a therapist; they’re self-run. Support groups are not a substitute for treatment, but can play a crucial role in recovery.

The following list, while not comprehensive, will link you to both well-known and less-familiar 12-step (and similar) organizations and support groups for recovery.

Click below for a downloadable PDF version of this post.

Support Groups for Addiction

Alcoholics Anonymous (AA)

Narcotics Anonymous (NA)

heroin anonymous (HA)

pills anonymous (PA)

Cocaine Anonymous (CA)

Crystal Meth Anonymous (CMA)

Marijuana Anonymous (MA)

Nicotine Anonymous (NicA)

caffeine addicts anonymous (cafaa)

chemically dependent anonymous (CDA)

all addicts anonymous (AAA)

recoveries anonymous (R.a.)

pharmacists recovery network

international doctors in alcoholics anonymous (IDAA)

international lawyers in alcoholics anonymous (ILAA)

association of recovering motorcyclists (A.R.M.)

For Families and Others Affected by Addiction and Mental Illness

Al-Anon/Alateen (For Family and Friends of Alcoholics)

Nar-Anon (For Family and Friends of Addicts)

Adult Children of Alcoholics (ACA)/Dysfunctional Families

Families Anonymous (FA)

parents anonymous

NAMI Family Support Group (For Adults with Loved Ones Who Have Experienced Mental Health Symptoms)

S-Anon/S-Ateen (For Family and Friends of Sexaholics)

codependents of sexual addiction – COSA (for those whose lives have been affected by another’s compulsive sexual behavior)

gam-anon (for families and friends of gamblers)

Secular Alternatives

SMART Recovery (Self-Management and Recovery Training)

Women for Sobriety

Rational recovery

sECULAR aa

Secular Organizations for Sobriety (SOS)

LifeRing Secular Recovery

Religious Alternatives

Celebrate Recovery

Christians in Recovery

Addictions Victorious

alcoholics victorious

Alcoholics for Christ

overcomers in christ

overcomers outreach

the calix society

jewish alcoholics, chemically dependent persons and significant others (jacs)

BUDDHIST RECOVER NETWORK

REFUGE RECOVERY

Additional Support Groups & Organizations

violence anonymous (VA)

Adult Survivors of Child Abuse Anonymous (ASCAA)

Survivors of Incest Anonymous

lds family services

porn addicts anonymous (PAA)

Sex Addicts Anonymous (SAA)

Sexaholics Anonymous

Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous (SLAA)

sexual compulsives anonymous (SCA)

Sexual recovery anonymous (SRA)

Co-dependents Anonymous (CoDa)

Emotions Anonymous

Dual Recovery Anonymous

Depressed Anonymous

social anxiety anonymous (SPA/Socaa)

PTSD Anonymous

Self Mutilators Anonymous

obsessive compulsive anonymous

obsessive skin pickers anonymous (OSPA)

Clutters Anonymous (CLA)

Overeaters Anonymous (OA)

Food Addicts Anonymous (FAA)

Food Addicts in Recovery Anonymous

Recovery from Food Addiction

Eating Disorders Anonymous (EDA)

Debtors Anonymous (DA)

Underearners Anonymous (UA)

spenders anonymous

Workaholics Anonymous

Gamblers Anonymous

internet & tech addicts anonymous (ITAA)

Online Gamers Anonymous (OLGA)

offenders anonymous

reentry anonymous

GROw in america (peer support for mental illness)

hearing voices network

AA Sites for agnostics and atheists: AA Agnostica and AA Beyond Belief

Image by Jill Wellington from Pixabay

Do you know of a 12-step support group not listed here? Share in a comment!

Boundaries: Thoughts on Building & Maintaining “Good Fences”

Why is it important to set and adhere to healthy boundaries? How can you tell if yours are weak?

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

“Good fences make good neighbors.”

Robert Frost

When I picture a boundary, I imagine drawing a circle with a stick in the dirt… with me in the middle. I stay in; everyone else stays out. Boundaries are protective; they keep us safe. Without boundaries, you have no limits, no sense of direction. Without boundaries, you open yourself up… anyone can come in, with good or bad intentions.

If you have poor boundaries in a dating relationship, you could end up doing things you’re not comfortable with. Or, another example might be with your boss; if you don’t set firm limits, you could end up taking one extra tasks.

I once worked with a client who regularly violated his partner’s boundaries by yelling, “Phone check!” whenever he wanted to check his girlfriend’s cell. She’d hand it over and he’d review her calls/read her texts. It was a boundary violation for sure. Everyone has a right to privacy. (That being said, your partner never has the right to go through your phone, read your journal, request your social media passwords, etc. Those are all boundary violations; they could also indicate that the relationship is in trouble.)

Another way to conceptualize a boundary is to picture mosquito netting. It keeps the mosquitoes out, but it’s flexible and lightweight. It lets in air, sunlight, a cool breeze… A mosquito net is a healthy boundary. If you were to instead build a brick structure, you’d be doing a lot of unnecessary work and you’d probably still get bit.  

It’s best to be up front and honest about the boundaries you set (which requires assertiveness). With your boss, the first time he asks if you can stay late on a Friday, you might end up saying yes. (It’s probably just a onetime thing, right?) Seeing that you don’t say no the first time, he may continue to ask you to stay late or take on extra work. The alternative (boundary-setting) option would be to say (when he first asks), “I’m sorry, although I’d love to be able to, I have a policy against being away from home on Fridays. It’s family night at my house.” It’s unlikely he’ll ask you again because you very firmly (and politely) set a boundary.

On the other hand, if you’re passionate about your career, you could be flexible and stay late (especially if you’re hoping for a promotion or a raise) without feeling as though your boundaries have been violated. The important thing is to know where you stand (i.e. what your boundary is).

Equally important to setting boundaries is adhering to them once they’re established. There are people out there who love to test boundaries. A boundary is useless without follow through. Your boundary becomes meaningless if you say you’re not going to do something and then you do it anyway. If you tell your child “no candy before dinner,” but then finally give in after several bouts of dramatic tears, you’re sending a message. The message is “When I say no, I don’t mean it.” It’s important to be consistent with boundaries.

Signs of Weak Boundaries

  • A lack of assertiveness
  • Altering your personal values for someone (especially in a romantic relationship)
  • Having a sexual relationship with someone when you’re not ready
  • Not being able to say “no”
  • Trusting others quickly (when it’s not warranted)
  • Falling in love quickly or believing an acquaintance is your best friend when you only met the day before

Rigid boundaries, on the other hand, are at the opposite end of the spectrum. A person with rigid boundaries doesn’t trust easily or let others in. It would be difficult to be in an intimate relationship with a person with rigid boundaries.

How to Develop Healthy Boundaries

Firstly, know that it will take time. Be patient with yourself and don’t criticize yourself if you fall back into old habits.

Recognize (and accept) your right to establish and adhere to personal boundaries. Read one of Dr. Cloud’s books on boundaries or Melody Beattie’s Codependent No More. Personally, I like Co-dependents Anonymous’ recovery literature. It’s an easy read (four pages) and you can access it for free.

If you haven’t already, take time to clarify your values. You can do a values sort – there are plenty of free resources online. It’s something I frequently do with my clients. What’s most important to you? Family? Integrity? Kindness? Have unhealthy boundaries affected this value in the past? (If kindness is most important to you, and you identify as a “people pleaser,” consider all the times you’ve been unkind to yourself. Explore ideas for practicing kindness to both others and self.)

Also, deliberate on the behaviors you find unacceptable (in terms of how you’re treated). Looking back on past relationships, I dated men who cheated on me, called me names, were mean to my friends, and yes, even checked my phone. Completely unacceptable. At this point in my life, I have a zero tolerance policy.

When you establish boundaries, especially with those who don’t expect it (i.e. your mother-in-law or the neighbor who regularly lets his dog romp through your garden), anticipate some push back. It probably won’t feel good in the moment.

Practice assertiveness. Don’t back down. If someone is particularly resistant, don’t engage in an argument.  You don’t owe an explanation. You don’t even have to respond. Remain calm; walk away if needed. If it helps, pre-plan your exact wording. (“I’m sorry, but I’m no longer able to stay till 9 on Fridays. Unexpected circumstances at home won’t allow it.”) Be concise. Don’t be overly apologetic.

If the person you’re setting boundaries with is a significant other or family member, I’d recommend transparency. Let them know that you’re going to make some changes. Share how unhealthy boundaries have negatively impacted you. (Give specific examples if you can.) Don’t place blame. Talk about how healthy boundaries will positively impact not just you,but the relationship. It may still be difficult. There may be some tension; the relationship might feel strained. (And it’s okay.)

If you set boundaries and find them repeatedly violated; firstly, take a step back and reevaluate the situation. Have you been clear and consistent? If so, you may want to consider spending less time with this person or even ending the relationships. Unfortunately, while you can set boundaries, you can’t force someone to respect them.


In sum, boundaries are imperative. Skin is a boundary that keeps other organs in place; it shields our body systems from toxins, viruses, and bacteria that would otherwise be deadly. It keeps the bad stuff out (and the good stuff in). Healthy boundaries are our emotional skin. If you need a boundaries tune up, it could take some effort, but is well worth it. You’ll experience increased satisfaction in your relationships and will feel more confidence.Your overall well-being will improve; boundaries are freeing – by communicating your needs, it’s less likely you’ll feel angry or resentful. And lastly, you’ll find that others have a greater level of respect for you. “Good fences,” it would seem, are not limited to neighbors!

Worksheets, Activities, & Guides for Group or Individual Therapy

(Updated 5/30/20) A list of free PDF printable worksheets and activities to use with clients in group and individual sessions

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

This is a list of forms, handouts, and worksheets I created to use with clients. Feel free to print/reproduce/share. Please check back frequently as I update regularly!

(Click here for a list of additional sites with free therapy resources.)



Good for newly formed groups. Each group member writes down their “first impression” of other group members. The facilitator then reviews each “impression,” and group members have the opportunity to share their answers.

Print/cut the cards, fold, and place in a container. Group members take turns drawing the cards and answering the questions.

Give group members 15-20 minutes to collect signatures. The first person to collect all signatures wins.

Print/cut the cards, fold, and place in a container to pass around. This activity works best with a working group.





Daily Self-Inventory for Mental Health Professionals

Characteristics of an Effective Clinical Supervisor

“It was the bad supervisors who taught me what NOT to do.”
Are you an effective clinical supervisor? What is helpful… and unhelpful in supervision? Read about Reddit users’ experiences with clinical supervision, including the traits of “bad” supervisors.

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

Shortly after being trained and approved as a clinical supervisor, I took on my first supervisee (whom I’ll call “DM”). I was confident in my abilities and knowledge as a counselor, but quickly learned it takes more than skill or expertise to provide effective supervision.

In one of my first sessions with DM, I inadvertently offended her (and thereby damaged our newly forming rapport). We were discussing personal and professional growth, which led to a “bucket list” discussion. I shared how I’d always wanted to do a police ride-along; DM immediately stated that as an African American woman, this was distasteful to her. Unfortunately, I missed my cue and continued to talk about how exciting it would be. Meanwhile, she felt disrespected. In this instance, I got carried away with talking about myself and my interests, ignoring her feelings on the subject. I came across as ignorant, in the least, and at worst, culturally insensitive or uncaring.  

Another time, I suggested that DM (who held a doctorate degree in counseling) stop referring to herself as “Dr. ____,” as it caused confusion when coordinating with outside agencies. Once again, she felt upset and misunderstood. She later explained that I failed to take into account all she had overcome to earn that degree. It was more than a title to her; it represented triumph in the face of adversity. Furthermore, it was a piece of her identity as a helper and as a role model to African American women. Although well-intended, my suggestion was offensive on several levels. In hindsight, I could have explored how she viewed herself as a professional or simply asked why she called herself “Dr. ____” before commenting.  


Self-awareness is crucial for effective supervision and self-care is essential for coping with stress.   

More recently, a different supervisee (whom I supervise both clinically and administratively) told me that I had been acting out of character by “harping” on her about completing various assignments. I checked myself and was able to recognize my high level of stress was indeed impacting our interactions. Self-awareness is crucial for effective supervision and self-care is essential for coping with stress.   

Reversing roles, looking back on supervisors I had in grad school and as a new counselor, I can recall what was beneficial and what wasn’t (or was annoying/upsetting/disturbing… even unethical). What helped the most was direct feedback, along with specific suggestions for improvement. Constructive criticism, while unpleasant, made me a better clinician (and probably a better person). Feeling supported and having my doubts or fears normalized was also helpful.


The bad supervisors taught me what not to do.

On the flip side, unhelpful, “bad,” supervisors were the ones who rambled on about their clients, micromanaged, were punitive, or who never met for supervision. There was even one who called me a hurtful name; the comment came from a misunderstanding, but I took it to heart. It was inappropriate and unprofessional; I carried it for a long time. The bad supervisors taught me what not to do.  

This post was inspired by my desire to learn more about what makes supervision effective. I looked to Reddit for others’ experiences and opinions and asked what’s most (and least) helpful in clinical supervision.

Gr8minds is a master’s student and MFT trainee who wrote, “For myself, what I find most helpful is when my supervisor shares questions I may have not thought of about the client’s case. This really helps give a second pair of eyes and I can take those into the next session.”

Questions are as fundamental to supervision as they are to the counseling process. A question inspires contemplation and may lead to a new understanding. An effective supervisor asks thoughtful questions about the client, their upbringing, their beliefs, etc., providing the supervisee with valuable tools to use with their clients.

RomeRawr, a doctoral student, shared about a self-centered supervisor who used sessions to talk about their clients instead of promoting the supervisee’s growth. “What I’ve found least helpful is my supervisor complaining to me about clients. Not conferencing, or asking my opinion, but just complaining to unload.”

A supervisor who complains/vents about clients should not be in a supervisory role. It’s one thing to consult, but to complain shows a lack of empathy and professionalism. It makes me question why that person is even in the field.

To an extent, I can relate; I previously mentioned a “bad” supervisor who, while he didn’t complain, regularly discussed his difficult cases in group supervision. This is how it would go: Dr. BS (Bad Supervisor) would present a case and then seek our (the students’) opinions. He had the audacity to take notes. When we were provided with (rare) opportunities to talk about our clients, he’d make comparisons to his private practice… and seek advice (un-cleverly disguised in the form of, “Well, what do you think you [I] should do?”)

While it can be helpful for a supervisor to share client stories, it should only be as a teaching tool (or to convey empathy). Similarly, a counselor should self-disclose for the client’s benefit, never their own.

grace_avalon, clinical counselor, holds a master’s degree and has been licensed in Minnesota for over a year. “I’ve had so many supervisors. The best ones worked me hard, required consultation with every DA (a word-for-word transcript of a counseling session)… [were] highly involved and observed me closely, tirelessly… and responded neutrally and understood my tears. We met privately, which was pivotal to growth.”


A supervisor can’t be a gatekeeper if they don’t know to close the gate.

An effective supervisor expresses empathy; they’re not reactive. An effective supervisor is also dedicated; they strive to help the supervisee by observing his/her interactions with clients and/or reviewing lengthy transcripts. A lazier supervisor might give advice/feedback based solely on the supervisee’s report, which is subjective. There’s a place for this in supervision, but it can’t be the only method of assessing a supervisee’s skill. Reviewing recorded sessions or transcripts is time-consuming (and, not gonna lie, boring), but imperative for a counselor’s growth. (It should also be noted that a supervisor can’t be a gatekeeper if they don’t know to close the gate.)

_PINK-FREUD_ is a clinical psychology doctorate student (with an MA in clinical psychology) who provides therapy to children, adolescents, and families. “My most helpful supervisor taught me to examine how my history comes into the room with clients. For example, my very first client told me something painful about a learning disorder and I responded with humor. Basically achieved the polar opposite of attunement. The footage was cringeworthy af. She didn’t shame me about it (of course, I was shaming myself anyway), but just inquired as to why I did that I realized I’ve dealt with my own LD with humor and by “laughing it off,” which led me to automatically and inappropriately apply that same response to my client… That supervisor showed me to move past the shame of making mistakes and towards understanding why I made that mistake. She led me through that process of self-examination countless times, and it taught me to do it independently.”

Being aware, both self and of what the client/supervisee is experiencing, is a vital component of counseling and supervision. In fact, many of my early (and more recent) mistakes could have been avoided had I been more attuned.

_PINK-FREUD_  also shared, “Another good supervisor trait IMO is someone who does not guess why a mis-step was made. I’m currently working on interrupting my clients more instead of letting them ramble –something I think mainly stems from the very common newbie clinician fear of invalidating or injuring the client. That supervisor pointed out my mis-step, then spoke about my need to “be friends with clients,” which felt off to me. When I tried to express that, I was perceived as defensive about having poor boundaries. It really broke my trust with that supervisor. I felt that he had made blind judgments about my underlying motivations for responses without listening to my explanation. It made it difficult for me to go to him for help with tough cases as I was afraid of the conclusions he would jump to. ASK, don’t tell your students for their motivations. It builds trust that you seek to understand them and also teaches them how to do this independently.”

Similarly, it broke trust when one of my “bad” supervisors called me a name. She made an assumption based on a blind judgment. Assumptions, sometimes true, but more than often not, have no place in supervision (or counseling). Going back to awareness, it’s important for a supervisor to recognize when they’re making assumptions.

alfredo094, an undergraduate student, shared that as a supervisee, “having [a supervisor] that knows me very well and listens to everything that happened to the session in detail is important.”

As counselors, we listen to what our clients say. By listening, we learn and are able to provide support and guidance. The same is true for supervisors. Listening and being fully present with the supervisee will help him/her to become a better counselor.

What are some of your experiences in supervision? Share in a comment!

Top 40 Most Disturbing Mental Health Posts on Quora

What questions are people asking about mental health? Quora posts indicate that misconceptions and myths related to mental illness and addiction prevail. Read the top 40 most unsettling questions on Quora.com.

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

I conducted a Facebook poll to ask about knowledge of mental health. A majority of the respondents (83%) viewed themselves as “very or quite knowledgeable.” Only 17% of those polled reported having little (or no) knowledge.

However, it’s unlikely that my small sample size is representative of the general population. There are many common myths out there about mental health and addiction.

I turned to Quora (an online platform for asking questions) to see what individuals who view themselves as less informed may be asking about mental illness. What I found ranged from thought-provoking to comical to disturbing.

Continue reading for 40 of the most unsettling inquiries I came across. The following Quora question posts illustrate some of the misconceptions surrounding mental disorders.

1. “Is mental illness really an illness?”

2. “Is mental illness catchable?”

3. “Do people with mental disorders have friends?”

4. “Are people who self-harm just looking for attention?”

5. “Is drug addiction really just a lack of willpower?”

6. “Can a person be intelligent and a drug addict?”

7. “Should drug addicts be left to die?”

8. “Why can’t drug addicts just stop? What compels a person to continue with a destructive behavior despite the obvious problems their behavior causes?” (Note: Addiction is a brain disease, which is why someone struggling with substance abuse can’t “just stop.”)

9. “Why should one feel sorry or sympathetic for drug addicts, given most of them chose this life?”

10. “Instead of ‘rescuing’ drug addicts who have overdosed, wouldn’t society as a whole benefit from just letting nature take its course?” (If that was the case, shouldn’t we then withhold all types of medical treatment and preventative or life-saving measures… to allow nature to take its course?)

11. “Is there any country in the world that won in the war against drugs by killing the users or the drug addicts?”

12. “Why should we lament drug addicted celebrities dying of drug-related causes? It’s their fault for starting a drug habit.”

13. “Why save drug addicts from overdosing? From my experience they were problems for their families, a drain on society from their teen years, and won’t get better once addicted.” (All diseases are a drain on society to an extent; that doesn’t mean lives aren’t worth saving.)

14. “How do you differentiate between drug addicts and real homeless people when giving money?” (You don’t; find other ways to help.)

15. “What are the best ways to punish an alcoholic?”

16. “Don’t you think it’s time we stop spreading the myth that alcoholism is a disease? You can’t catch it from anyone. One chooses to drink alcohol.”

17. “Why do people who are oppressed/abused never defend themselves and have pride?”

18. “Why don’t I have empathy for people who end up in abusive or unhealthy relationships? I feel that they deserve it for being such a poor judge of character.”

19. “Why do most women put up with domestic violence?” (Most women?? “Put up”??)

20. “Are schizophrenics aware they’re crazy?”

21. “Are schizophrenic people allowed to drive?”

22. “Do people who become schizophrenic become that way because they are morally conflicted?”

23. “Are schizophrenics able to learn?”

24. “Can a schizophrenic be coherent enough to answer a question like ‘What is life like with schizophrenia?’ on Quora?”

25. “Can one ‘catch’ schizophrenia by hanging out too long with schizophrenics?”

26. “Can schizophrenics have normal sex?” (Yes, or kinky, whichever they prefer)

27. “Why do people ignore the positive impact spanking has on raising children?” (See #28)

28. “Is being spoiled as a child a cause of mental illness such as depression?” (No, but spanking is linked to mental disorders and addiction in adulthood.)

29. “Should mentally ill people be allowed to reproduce?”

30. “Should people with mental illness be allowed to vote?”

31. “Are we breeding weakness into the gene pool by treating and allowing people with physical and mental illnesses to procreate?”

32. “Why are we allowing mental illnesses of sexual orientation disturbance and gender identity disorder that were changed for political reasons, to be accepted like race?”

33. “Why do some people with mental illness refuse to work and live off the government when they are perfectly capable of working?”

34. “Why are mentally disturbed women allowed to have children?”

35. “I feel no sympathy for the homeless because I feel like it is their own fault. Are there examples of seemingly “normal” and respectable people becoming homeless?”

36. “How is poverty not a choice? At what point does an individual stop blaming their parents/society/the government and take responsibility for their own life?” (White privilege at its finest)

37. “Why are mental disorders so common nowadays? Is it just an “excuse” to do bad or selfish things?”

38. “Are most ‘crazy’ people really just suffering from a low IQ?”

39. “Why do some people have sympathy for those who commit suicide? It is very cowardly and selfish to take your life.”

40. “Is suicide part of the world’s survival of the fittest theory?”

Please leave your thoughts/feedback in a comment!

Free Printable PDF Workbooks, Manuals, & Self-Help Guides

(Updated 5/22/20) A resource list for mental health professionals and consumers. Free PDF manuals/workbooks/guides for group and individual therapy or self-help purposes.

Compiled by Cassie Jewell, M.Ed., LPC, LSATP

The following list is comprised of links to over 200 PDF workbooks, manuals, and guidebooks that are published online and free to use with clients and/or for self-help purposes. Some of the manuals, including Individual Resiliency Training and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Psychotic Symptoms, are evidence-based.

For youth and family resources, see Free Printable PDF Manuals, Workbooks, & Toolkits for Providers Who Work with Children, Adolescents, & Youth.

For additional resources, see Sites with Free Therapy Worksheets & Handouts and Worksheets, Activities, & Guides for Individual or Group Therapy.


Substance Use Disorders & Addiction

12 Step Workbooks (A list of PDF workbooks by Al Kohalek)

Alcohol and You: An NHS Self-Help Guide (25 pages)

Alcohol Problems in Intimate Relationships: Identification and Intervention (A Guide for Marriage and Family Therapists) (Source: National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, 83 pages)

ASI-MV Worksheets & Handouts (47 pages)

Brief Counseling for Marijuana Dependence: A Manual for Treating Adults (Source: SAMHSA, 208 pages)

Client Workbook (Source: Substance Use | Brain Injury Bridging Project, 144 pages)

A Cognitive Behavioral Approach: Treating Cocaine Addiction (Source: National Institute on Drug Abuse, 137 pages)

Community Reinforcement and Family Training Support and Prevention (Source: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, 103 pages)

Co-occurring Disorders Problem Gambling Integrated Treatment Manual (138 pages)

Co-occurring Disorders Problem Gambling Integrated Treatment Workbook (135 pages)

Co-occurring Disorders Treatment Manual (123 pages)

Co-occurring Disorders Treatment Workbook (122 pages)

Empowering Your Sober Self: The LifeRing Approach to Addiction Recovery (274 pages)

A Family Guide to Concurrent Disorders (Source: CAMH, 222 pages)

Harm Reduction Psychotherapy Toolkit (23 pages)

Mapping Your Recovery: A Peer-Based Model to Help You Through the Recovery Process (60 pages)

Mapping Your Reentry Plan: Heading Home (Special Version for Criminal Justice Populations) (Source: Texas Institute of Behavioral Research at TCU, 72 pages) 2007

Mapping Your Steps: “Twelve Step” Guide Maps (Source: Texas Institute of Behavioral Research at TCU, 140 pages) 2000

Matrix Series (Intensive Outpatient Treatment for People with Stimulant Use Disorders): Client’s Handbook (Source: SAMHSA, 114 pages)

Matrix Series (Intensive Outpatient Treatment for People with Stimulant Use Disorders): Client’s Treatment Companion (Source: SAMHSA, 36 pages)

Matrix Series (Intensive Outpatient Treatment for People with Stimulant Use Disorders): Counselor’s Family Education Manual (Source: SAMHSA, 176 pages)

Matrix Series (Intensive Outpatient Treatment for People with Stimulant Use Disorder): Counselor’s Treatment Manual (Source: SAMHSA, 268 pages)

Matrix Series: Using Matrix with Women Clients (Source: SAMHSA, 92 pages)

The MISSION Consumer Workbook (Source: SAMHSA, 160 pages)

My Action Plan for Relapse Prevention (42 pages)

Opioid Overdose Prevention Toolkit (Source: SAMHSA, 24 pages)

Project MATCH Volume 1: TWELVE STEP FACILITATION THERAPY MANUAL A Clinical Research Guide for Therapists Treating Individuals With Alcohol Abuse and Dependence (Source: National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, 140 pages)

Project MATCH Volume 2: MOTIVATIONAL ENHANCEMENT THERAPY MANUAL A Clinical Research Guide for Therapists Treating Individuals With Alcohol Abuse and Dependence (Source: National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, 138 pages)

Project MATCH Volume 3: COGNITIVE BEHAVIORAL COPING SKILLS THERAPY MANUAL A Clinical Research Guide for Therapists Treating Individuals With Alcohol Abuse and Dependence (Source: National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, 116 pages)

A Provider’s Introduction to Substance Abuse Treatment for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Individuals (Source: SAMHSA, 228 pages)

Quit Smoking Guide (16 pages)

Reaching out to a Hurting World: Christ-Centered Workbook on Recovery and Coordinating Twelve-Step Meetings (Source: Recovery in Christ Ministries, 78 pages)

Recovery Maintenance Workbook (Source: Pamela Garber, LMHC, 21 pages)

Relapse Prevention Workbook (Click link to download, Source: Mid-Ohio Psychological Services, Inc.)

Screening and Assessment of Co-Occurring Disorders in the Justice System (Source: CMHS National GAINS Center, 133 pages)

SMART Recovery Toolbox

Steps by the Big Book (122 pages)

Straight Ahead: Transition Skills for Recovery (Source: Texas Institute of Behavioral Research at TCU, 218 pages)

Substance Misuse Workbook (Source: Get Self-Help UK, 46 pages)

Substance Use Disorder Curriculum Modules (Source: California Institute for Behavioral Health Solutions, 114 pages)

TCU Brief Intervention Manuals

TCU Brief Intervention: Getting Motivated to Change (Source: Texas Institute of Behavioral Research at TCU, 63 pages) 2005

TCU Brief Intervention: Understanding and Reducing Angry Feelings (Source: Texas Institute of Behavioral Research at TCU, 42 pages) 2005

TCU Brief Intervention: Ideas for Better Communication (Source: Texas Institute of Behavioral Research at TCU, 39 pages) 2005

TCU Brief Intervention: Unlock Your Thinking, Open Your Mind (Source: Texas Institute of Behavioral Research at TCU, 55 pages) 2005

TCU Brief Intervention: Building Social Networks (Source: Texas Institute of Behavioral Research, 36 pages) 2005

Therapeutic Community Curriculum: Trainer Manual (Source: SAMHSA, 292 pages)

Tobacco Cessation: An Abbreviated Mini-Workbook (A Resource for Veterans) (27 pages)

Treatment Readiness and Induction Program (TRIP) (Source: Texas Institute of Behavioral Research at TCU, 193 pages)

Anxiety, Stress, & Mood Disorders

Always Embarrassed: Social Phobia (Social Anxiety Disorder) (Information Booklet) (Source: National Institute of Mental Health, Hosford Clinic, 12 pages)

Antidepressant Skills Workbook (Sources: Simon Fraser University & BC Mental Health and Substance Use Services, 72 pages)

Antidepressant Skills at Work: Dealing with Mood Problems in the Workplace (Source: BC Mental Health and Substance Use Services, 68 pages)

Anxiety and Panic Attacks (Source: Mind UK, 21 pages)

Anxiety and Panic Disorder: Patient Treatment Manual (Source: Clinical Research Unit for Anxiety & Depression, 92 pages)

Anxiety: An NHS Self-Help Guide (24 pages)

Anxiety: Moodjuice Self-Help Guide (34 pages)

Anxiety Disorders (Information Booklet) (Source: National Institute of Mental Health, Hosford Clinic, 26 pages)

Anxiety Toolbox: Student Workbook (42 pages)

Back from the Bluez (Source: Centre for Clinical Interventions)

Bipolar Disorder (Information Booklet) (Source: National Institute of Mental Health, Hosford Clinic, 31 pages)

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Depression in Veterans and Military Servicemembers: Therapist Manual (Source: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, 227 pages)

Comprehensive Cognitive Behavior Therapy for Social Phobia: A Treatment Manual (102 pages)

Coping With Anxiety (Source: NHS, 40 pages)

Coping with Anxiety During Pregnancy and Following the Birth: A Cognitive Therapy-Based Self-Management Guide for Women and Health Care Providers (Source: BC Mental Health and Substance Use Services, 178 pages)

Coping with Depression During Pregnancy and Following the Birth: A Cognitive Therapy-Based Self-Management Guide for Women (Source: BC Mental Health and Substance Use Services, 118 pages)

Coping with Panic Attacks (Source: Centre for Clinical Interventions)

Dealing With Distress (Source: Get Self-Help UK, 42 pages)

Depression (Information Booklet) (Source: National Institute of Mental Health, Hosford Clinic, 26 pages)

Depression (Source: Mind UK, 19 pages)

Depression and Low Mood: An NHS Self-Help Guide (24 pages)

Depression And Men (Information Booklet) (Source: National Institutute of Mental Health, Hosford Clinic, 36 pages)

Depression And Women (Information Booklet) (Source: National Institute of Mental Health, Hosford Clinic, 31 pages)

Depression Management Tool Kit (For clinicians, includes assessments and patient handouts, Source: SAMHSA, 44 pages)

Depression Self-Help Guide (Source: NHS)

Depression Self-Management Toolkit (Source: SunCountry Health Region, 88 pages)

Facing Your Feelings (Distress Tolerance Workbook) (Source: Centre for Clinical Interventions)

Acceptance & Commitment Therapy for Anxiety Disorders: Transforming Anxious Suffering Into a More Vital Life – Forms, Exercises, & Worksheets (Source: A 2-Day Workshop with John P. Forsyth and Jamie R. Forsyth, University at Albany, SUNY & Union College, 67 pages)

Gaining Control of Your Life After Having a Baby: A Self-Help Workbook for Post-natal Depression (Source: Maternal Mental Health Alliance, 38 pages)

Generalized Anxiety Disorder: Patient Treatment Manual (Source: Clinical Research Unit for Anxiety & Depression, 72 pages)

Healthy Living with Bipolar Disorder (Source: University of Pittsburgh Bipolar Spectrum Services, 172 pages)

Helping Health Anxiety (Source: Centre for Clinical Interventions)

Interpersonal Psychotherapy for Depression in Veterans: Therapist Guide (Source: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, 116 pages)

ISLAMIC INTEGRATED COGNITIVE BEHAVIOR THERAPY: 10 Sessions Treatment Manual for Depression in Clients with Chronic Physical Illness (Therapist Manual Workbook) (Source: Psychological Medicine Department, Faculty of Medicine, University of Malaya, Malaysia, 63 pages)

Keeping Your Balance (Workbook for Bipolar Disorder) (Source: Centre for Clinical Interventions)

Living Successfully with Mood Disorder: My Living Successfully Plan (Source: Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance, 12 pages)

Managing Depression: A Self-Help Skills Resource for Women Living with Depression During Pregnancy, After Delivery and Beyond (Source: Best Start, 57 pages)

Managing Depression: A Facilitator’s Guide for Working with Groups of Women Living with Depression During Pregnancy, After Delivery and Beyond (Source: Best Start, 42 pages)

Managing Your Worries: A Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Evidence-Based Approach to Help You Overcome Your Generalised Anxiety Disorder (Source: University of Exeter, 52 pages) 2019

Mindfulness and Acceptance-Based Group Therapy for Social Anxiety Disorder: A Treatment Manual (Source: ACT on Social Anxiety, 199 pages)

The Mindful Path Through Shyness (Source: Mindful Living Programs, 77 pages)

Overcoming Depression Series Workbook 1: Understanding Depression (Source: Dr. Chris Williams, 40 pages)

Overcoming Depression Series Workbook 2: Practical Problem Solving (Source: Dr. Chris Williams, 19 pages)

Panic: An NHS Self-Help Guide (24 pages)

The Panic Attack Workbook: A Workbook of Therapeutic Assignments (Source: Between Sessions Resources, 73 pages) 2017

Panic: Moodjuice Self-Help Guide (25 pages)

Postnatal Depression and Perinatal Mental Health (Source: Mind UK, 31 pages)

REBT Depression Manual: Managing Depression Using Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (Source: Babes-Bolyai University – International Institute for the Advanced Study of Psychotherapy and Applied Mental Health, 33 pages)

Self-Help STOP Worry: A Tool for Older Veterans (Self-Help Workbook: Calming Tools to Manage Anxiety) (Source: South Central Veterans Affairs Mental Illness, Research and Clinical Centers, 51 pages)

Shyness & Social Anxiety: Moodjuice Self-Help Guide (22 pages)

Shy No Longer (Source Centre for Clinical Interventions)

Social Anxiety: An NHS Self-Help Guide (22 pages)

Social Anxiety Group: Participant Workbook (Source: Hamilton Family Health Team, 102 pages)

Social Phobia: Patient Treatment Manual (Source: Clinical Research Unit for Anxiety & Depression, 64 pages)

Specific Phobias: Patient Treatment Manual (Source: Clinical Research Unit for Anxiety & Depression, 46 pages)

STABLE Resource Toolkit (STAndards for BipoLar Excellence) (Source: SAMHSA, 67 pages)

Understanding Bipolar Disorder (Source: Mind UK, 32 pages)

What? Me Worry? (Workbook for Generalized Anxiety Disorder) (Source: Centre for Clinical Interventions)

When Fear Overwhelms: Panic Disorder (Information Booklet) (Source: National Institute of Mental Health, Hosford Clinic, 12 pages)

When Worry Gets Out of Control: Generalized Anxiety Disorder (Information Booklet) (Source: National Institute of Mental Health, Hosford Clinic, 12 pages)

Worry Management (Source: Talk Plus, 12 pages)

Your Best You: Improving Your Mood (Source: Queen’s University, 103 pages)

Your Best You: Managing Your Anxiety (Source: Queen’s University, 169 pages)

Schizophrenia & Psychotic Disorders

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Psychotic Symptoms: A Therapist’s Manual (Source: Centre for Clinical Interventions, 149 pages)

Dealing with Psychosis: A Toolkit for Moving Forward with Your Life (Source: BC Mental Health and Substance Use Services, 115 pages)

Hearing Voices and Disturbing Beliefs: An NHS Self-Help Guide (19 pages)

Hearing Voices (Source: Mind UK, 13 pages)

Illness Management and Recovery: Practitioner Guides and Handbooks (Source: SAMHSA, 361 pages)

Patient & Family Guide to Second-Generation Antipsychotics (Source: BC Mental Health and Substance Use Services, 44 pages)

Social Anxiety in Schizophrenia: A Cognitive Behavioural Group Programme (Source: Centre for Clinical Interventions, 142 pages)

Understanding Schizoaffective Disorder (Source: Mind UK, 24 pages)

Understanding Schizophrenia (Source: Mind UK, 24 pages)

Trauma & PTSD

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for PTSD: Group Manual (Source: Trauma and Deployment Recovery Services Clinic at the Oklahoma City VA Medical Center, 93 pages)

Cognitive Processing Therapy – Sexual Abuse (CPT-SA): Individual Treatment Manual 2012 (Source: Kathleen M. Chard, Ph.D., 82 pages) Additional CPT Resources

Domestic Violence: An NHS Self-Help Guide (18 pages)

Engaging Women in Trauma-Informed Peer Support: A Guidebook (Source: National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors, 93 pages)

Guidebook on Vicarious Trauma: Recommended Solutions for Anti-Violence Workers (Source: Health Canada, 113 pages)

Post-Traumatic Stress: Moodjuice Self-Help Guide (28 pages)

Post-Traumatic Stress: An NHS Self-Help Guide (21 pages)

Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: Patient Treatment Manual (Source: Clinical Research Unit for Anxiety & Depression, 54 pages)

Practice Guidelines for the Treatment of Complex Trauma and Trauma Informed Care and Service Delivery (Source: Adults Surviving Child Abuse [ASCA], 154 pages, 2012)

PTSD Recovery Program: Treatment Manual (for Veterans) (Source: Hunter Holmes McGuire VAMC, 75 pages)

Self-Help Guide (For survivors of rape or sexual abuse who want to understand and process their own personal reactions to their experience) (Source: Somerset & Avon, 36 pages)

Survivor to Thriver: Manual and Workbook for Adult Survivors of Child Abuse Who Want to Move on with Life | Co-facilitator Training Manual (Source: The Norma J. Morris Center, 115 pages)

Trauma-Informed Practice Guide (Source: BC Mental Health and Substance Use Services, 102 pages)

The Trauma-Informed Supervisor, 3rd Edition (Source: Fairfax County Trauma-Informed Community Network, 84 pages)

Triad’s Women Project: Group Treatment Manual (168 pages) | Triad Girls’ Group Treatment Manual (201 pages) (Source: The Louis de la Parte Florida Mental Health Institute, University of South Florida) (More information on the Triad Project here)

Women Healing from Trauma: A Facilitator’s Guide (Source: Provincial Association of Transition Houses and Services of Saskatchewan, 109 pages)

Eating Disorders

Binge Eating: Breaking the Cycle (A Self-Help Guide Towards Recovery) (Source: Bodywhys, 27 pages)

Eating Disorders (Information Booklet) (Source: National Institute of Mental Health, Hosford Clinic, 26 pages)

Eating Disorders: An NHS Self-Help Guide (18 pages)

Eating Disorders Anonymous Step Workbook (Source: Eating Disorders Anonymous, 64 pages)

Eating Disorders Toolkit for Primary Care and Adult Mental Health Services (Source: Sheffield Health and Social Care NHS Foundation Trust/Sheffield Eating Disorders Service, 30 pages) 2014

Eating Problems (Source: Mind UK, 24 pages)

Educator Toolkit (Source: National Eating Disorders Association, 44 pages)

Overcoming Disordered Eating (Source: Centre for Clinical Interventions)

Self-Help Manual for Bulimia Nervosa (Source: The Cullen Centre, 92 pages)

Suicide & Self-Harm

After an Attempt: A Guide for Taking Care of Yourself After Your Treatment in the Emergency Department (10 pages) | Spanish Version (12 pages) (Source: SAMHSA)

After an Attempt A Guide for Taking Care of Your Family Member after Treatment in the Emergency Department (12 pages) | Spanish Version (14 pages) (Source: SAMHSA)

A Handbook for Survivors of Suicide (Source: American Association of Suicidology, 36 pages)

How to Support Someone Who Feels Suicidal (Source: Mind UK, 20 pages)

The ‘Hurt Yourself Less’ Workbook (Source: The National Self-Harm Network, 78 pages)

A Journey Toward Health & Hope: Your Handbook for Recovery After a Suicide Attempt (Source: SAMHSA, 40 pages)

Self-Harm (Source: Mind UK, 17 pages)

Self-Harm: An NHS Self-Help Guide (18 pages)

Suicide Prevention for Behavioral Health Providers (Source: Montgomery County Emergency Service, Inc., 26 pages)

Suicide Prevention for Consumers and Family Members (Source: Montgomery County Emergency Service, Inc., 26 pages)

Working Through Self-Harm: A Workbook (Source: Harmless, 54 pages)

Working with the Client Who Is Suicidal: A Tool for Adult Mental Health and Addiction Services (Sources: Simon Fraser University & BC Mental Health and Substance Use Services, 120 pages)

Grief

After a Loved One Dies – How Children Grieve and How Parents and Other Adults Can support Them (Source: New York Life, 24 pages)

Back to Life: Your Personal Guidebook to Grief Recovery (Source: Recover From Grief, 71 pages)

Bereavement: Moodjuice Self-Help Guide (13 pages)

Bereavement: An NHS Self-Help Guide (16 pages)

Complicated Grief (Source: The Hospice Support Fund, 19 pages)

A LifeCare Guide to Helping Others Cope With Grief (Source: LifeCare, 23 pages) 2001

On the Wings of Grief: A Bereavement Journal for Adults (Source: Simpler Times, 32 pages)

Remembering for Good: Wholehearted Living After Loss (Source: Remembering For Good, 35 pages)

Treatment of Individuals with Prolonged and Complicated Grief and Traumatic Bereavement (Source: The Melissa Institute, 59 pages)

Understanding Death, Grief, & Mourning: A Resource Manual (Source: Cornerstone of Hope: A Center for Children, Teens, and Adults, 48 pages)

When Grief Comes to Work: Managing Grief and Loss in the Workplace (A Handbook for Managers and Supervisors) (Source: AIDS Bereavement and Resiliency Program of Ontario, 220 pages) 2011

Anger

Anger (Source: Mind UK, 18 pages)

Anger: Moodjuice Self-Help Guide (28 pages)

Anger Management for Substance Abuse and Mental Health Clients: Participant Workbook (54 pages) | (Spanish Version) (73 pages) | (Provider Manual) (68 pages) (Source: SAMHSA)

Anger Management Workbook (Source: Seasons Therapy, 38 pages)

Anger Management Workbook: To Address Anger Management (Source: Community and Rehabilitation Companies (CRCs) across England and Wales, 48 pages)

Controlling Anger: An NHS Self-Help Guide (24 pages)

Meditation & Mindfulness

Adult Coloring Book for Mindfulness and Relaxation (Source: Healing From Burnout, 51 pages)

The Fundamentals of Meditation Practice (Source: Buddha Dharma Education Association, 182 pages)

How to Meditate: A Guide to Formal Sitting Practices (Source: Tara Brach, 16 pages)

Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR): Authorized Curriculum Guide (Source: Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society, 65 pages)

Self-Compassion and Mindfulness (Source: The Centre for Mindfulness Studies, 42 pages)

Your Guide to Meditation (Source: Mindful, 26 pages)

Wellness, Resiliency, & Personal Development

Assert Yourself! (Source: Centre for Clinical Interventions)

The Bouncing Back Workbook: Building Skills that Strengthen Resilience (Source: South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust, 36 pages)

Building Self-Compassion (Source: Centre for Clinical Interventions)

Creating a Healthier Life: A Step-by-Step Guide to Wellness (22 pages) | (Spanish Version) (22 pages) (Source: SAMHSA)

DIY Workbook Series from the Positive Psychology Research Group at Virginia Commonwealth University (All workbooks can be accessed through link)

The Path to Humility: Six Practical Sections for Becoming a More Humble Person (84 pages) | The Path to Forgiveness: Six Practical Sections for Becoming a More Forgiving Person (83 pages) | Your Path to REACH Forgiveness: Become a More Forgiving Person in Less Than Two Hours | Moving Forward: Six Steps to Forgiving Yourself and Breaking Free from the Past (70 pages) | Experiencing Forgiveness: Six Practical Sections for Becoming a More Forgiving Christian: 6-7 hour DIY Workbook for Christians Hurt by Other Christians | The Path to Patience: Six Practical Sections for Becoming a More Patient Person: 6-7 hour DIY Workbook | The Path to Positivity: Six Practical Sections for Becoming a More Positive Person: 6-7 hour DIY Workbook

Food and Mood (Source: Mind UK, 11 pages)

Getting to the CORE of Conflict and Communications (Sources: U.S. Department of the Interior Office of Collaborative Action and Dispute Resolution and Partnership and Community Collaboration Academy, 45 pages)

Happiness 101 Workbook (Source: Patricia Thompson, PhD, 22 pages)

Happy for No Reason Workbook (Source: Happy for No Reason, 28 pages)

HERO: Healthy Emotions and ImpRoving Health Behavior Outcomes (Veteran Workbook) (110 pages)

Hope Focused Self-Help Workbook (Source: The Hope Couples Project, 34 pages)

How to be Mentally Healthy at Work (Source: Mind UK, 17 pages)

Improve Your Sleep: A Self-Guided Approach for Veterans with Insomnia (Self-Help Workbook) (Source: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, 90 pages)

Individual Resiliency Trainer (IRT) Manual (Source: Navigate, 974 pages)

Interpersonal Effectiveness: Building Better Boundaries (Source: The Self-Help Alliance, 62 pages)

Journaling: A Wellness Tool (Source: Institute for Wellness and Recovery Initiatives, 18 pages)

Manage Stress Workbook (Source: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, 20 pages)

Moving Forward: Six Steps to Forgiving Yourself (Self-Directed Learning Workbook), 2nd Ed. (Source: Virginia Commonwealth University/ForgiveSelf.com, 69 pages) 2015

Nutrition and Exercise for Wellness and Recovery Leader Manual (42 pages) and Participant Manual (70 pages) (Source: Center on Integrated Health Care and Self-Directed Recovery)

Overcoming Procrastination (Source: Wikibooks, 45 pages)

Personal Brand Workbook (42 pages)

Physical Activity and Your Mental Health (Source: Mind UK, 17 pages)

The Procrastination Workbook: Kick the Habit! (Source: Mind Tools, 14 pages)

Put Off Procrastinating (Source: Centre for Clinical Interventions)

Refine Your Life: Participant Guide (Source: Experience L!fe, 59 pages)

Relaxation (Source: Mind UK, 9 pages)

Resilience Toolkit (Source: NHS, 52 pages)

Self-Care Guide (Source: Mind Peace, 21 pages) 2018

Self-Care Toolkit (Source: Developed by SHAWN GOLDBERG, 44 pages)

Self-Determination Series: Express Yourself! Assessing Self-Determination in Your Life (Source: Center on Integrated Health Care and Self-Directed Recovery, 11 pages)

Self-Determination Series: This Is Your Life! Creating Your Self-Directed Life Plan (Source: Center on Integrated Health Care and Self-Directed Recovery, 58 pages)

Sleep Problems: Moodjuice Self-Help Guide (16 pages)

Stress (Source: Mind UK, 15 pages)

Stress: Moodjuice Self-Help Guide (24 pages)

Stress: An NHS Self-Help Guide (19 pages)

Time Out! For Me: An Assertiveness and Sexuality Workshop for Women (Source: Texas Institute of Behavioral Research at TCU, 224 pages)

Time Out! For Men: A Communication Skills and Sexuality Workshop for Men (Source: Texas Institute of Behavioral Research at TCU, 251 pages)

Wellness in Eight Dimensions (Source: CSPNJ, 30 pages)

Wellness Self-Management Personal Workbook, 3rd Edition (Source: New York State Office of Mental Health, 210 pages)

Wellness Worksheets, 12th Edition (Source: SAMHSA, 295 pages)

“What Do You Want to Do with Your Life?” Your Life Plan to Find Your Answer (Source: Self-Help Starts Here, 136 pages)

Working Minds UK: Developing Resiliency Exercises (Source: Working Minds UK Dovey Wilday Consultancy, 30 pages)

Healthy Relationships

Couplets (from #ThatsNotLove Discussion Guide Series)

Healthy Relationships Resource Kit

Healthy Relationships Toolkit

PREPARE/ENRICH Workbook for Couples

Promoting Healthy Relationships

The Stages of Divorce

Self-Esteem

Building Body Acceptance (Workbook for Body Dysmorphic Disorder) (Source: Centre for Clinical Interventions)

Building Your Self-Confidence

Caring Less About Your Looks (Source: Centre for Clinical Interventions)

How to Increase Your Self-Esteem (Source: Mind UK)

Improving Self-Esteem (Source: Centre for Clinical Interventions)

Just as I Am Workbook: A Guided Journal to Free Yourself from Self-Criticism and Feelings of Low Self-Worth (Source: Queen’s University, 56 pages)

Preparation for Change: The Tower of Strengths and the Weekly Planner (Source: Texas Institute of Behavioral Research at TCU, 84 pages)

Self-Esteem Self-Help Booklet

CBT Manuals & Workbooks

CBT Worksheet Packet, 2017 Edition (Beck Cognitive Behavioral Therapy)

Changing the Way You Feel by Changing the Way You Think (Source: A Routledge and Guilford FreeBook, 125 pages)

Cognitive Behavioural Interpersonal Skills Manual

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia (CBTi): Treatment Manual

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Skills Training Workbook

Cognitive Processing Therapy Veteran/Military Version: THERAPIST AND PATIENT MATERIALS MANUAL

Cognitive Psychotherapy Workbook

RAND Healthcare CBT Manuals

Simple CBT Worksheets (from Autism Teaching Strategies)

A Therapist’s Guide to Brief Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

The Think CBT Workbook

Thinking for a Change: Integrated Cognitive Behavior Change Program

DBT Manuals & Workbooks

Making Sense of Dialectical Behavior Therapy (Booklet)

A Modified DBT Group Therapy Manual

Open-Minded Thinking (DBT Workbook)

Motivational Interviewing

A Brief Guide to Motivational Interviewing

MIA: Step (Motivational Interviewing Assessment: Supervisory Tools for Enhancing Proficiency)

Motivational Interviewing Worksheets/Activities from MINT

Selected MI Practice Activities and Tools

Additional Guides, Manuals, & Workbooks

100 Ways to Support Recovery: A Guide for Mental Health Professionals (Source: Rethink Mental Illness, 40 pages)

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) (Information Booklet) (Source: National Institute of Mental Health, Hosford Clinic, 28 pages)

Best Practice Toolkit (For clinicians working with women who have had or are at risk of having their children removed)

Borderline Personality Disorder

Chronic Pain: Moodjuice Self-Help Guide (19 pages)

A Collection of Icebreakers and Connection Activities (33 pages)

The Complete Set of Client Handouts and Worksheets from ACT books by Russ Harris

Coping With Loneliness: A Life Effectiveness Guide (Source: J & S Garrett Pty Ltd/Australian Institute of Professional Counsellors, 39 pages)

Evidence-Based Psychological Interventions in the Treatment of Mental Disorders: A Literature Review (Source: Australian Psychological Society, 175 pages)

Evidence-Based Psychotherapy Shared Decision-Making Toolkit for Mental Health Providers (For clinicians treating veterans, 234 pages)

Forgiveness Workbook: A Step by Step Guide

Guidebook for Psychologists: Working with Clients with Traumatic Brain Injury (122 pages)

Hoarding Self-Help Manual

How to Cope When Supporting Someone Else (Source: Mind UK)

The Improving Access to Psychological Therapies Manual (Source: National Collaborating Centre for Mental Health, 78 pages)

I’ve got to be perfect! Helping yourself to… Overcome Perfectionism

Living with Alzheimer’s: Taking Action Workbook (Source: Alzheimer’s Association, 52 pages) 2017

Mental Health Medications (Information Booklet) (Source: National Institute of Mental Health, Hosford Clinic, 30 pages)

Navigating a Mental Health Crisis: A NAMI Resource Guide for Those Experiencing a Mental Health Emergency (33 pages)

Obsessions & Compulsions: Moodjuice Self-Help Guide (22 pages)

Obsessions and Compulsions: An NHS Self-Help Guide

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder: Patient Treatment Manual (Source: Clinical Research Unit for Anxiety & Depression, 20 pages)

Perfectionism In Perspective (Source: Centre for Clinical Interventions)

Positive Coping with Health Conditions (Source: Vancouver Psych Safety Consulting Incorporated, 112 pages) 2009

Recognition | Insight | Openness Workbook

A Roadmap to Behavioral Health: A Guide to Using Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Services (For consumers, 25 pages)

Seeking Help for a Mental Health Problem (Source: Mind UK)

Social Emotional Activities Workbook

Social Skills Training for Severe Mental Disorders: A Therapist Manual

Solution Focused Therapy: A Manual for Working with Individuals

Spiritual Self-Schema Development Program (Individual & group manuals/workbooks for providers/consumers) (Source: Yale School of Medicine)

STEP AHEAD Workbook: Career Planning for People with Criminal Convictions

Understanding Your Illness

When Unwanted Thoughts Take Over: Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (Information Booklet) (Source: National Institute of Mental Health, Hosford Clinic, 11 pages)


Please comment with links to additional PDF resources for therapy or self-help!

Why Language Matters: 4 Words/Phrases to Stop Saying

Words have power. They are impactful. They can contribute to stigma and divide humanity. To help fight stigma, change your language.

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

Have you ever been called a bitch? A creep? A whore? An idiot? Maybe someone said you were lazy or worthless or stupid. Words can hurt. They have power. (Consider the power of your name spoken aloud… you immediately respond by answering or turning your head… the sound commands your attention and response.)

Furthermore, words are impactful… not only for the person being labeled, but for an entire group of people. They contribute to stigma while fueling biases. They divide humanity. Retard. White trash. Crazy. Junkie. Nigger. Slut. Spic.

A while back, a colleague made a racial slur in my presence. He seemed unaware, so I gently corrected him; he immediately lashed back, calling me the “PC Police.” Not only did this person perceive the slur as perfectly acceptable, he seemed to have a negative perception of “political correctness.” It was a joke to him: “People need to stop being so sensitive!” (Um, no… maybe people need to stop being degrading to each other!)

Honestly, I have trouble understanding the negativity surrounding political correctness. Why strive for anything other than accuracy? (Especially knowing the power language holds.)

If you side against ignorance and want to end the stigma associated with mental illness, change your language. The following words or phrases contribute to stigma:

“Addict”

There are many negative connotations surrounding this word. Similarly, “alcoholic” can be demeaning. A person who is addicted to drugs or alcohol has a medical condition. Instead of calling them an addict (or junkie or tweaker or crackhead), say “individual with a substance use disorder.” Demonstrate the same empathy you would for a person who has cancer or MS or paralysis.

“Schizophrenic”

Don’t label a person who suffers from mental illness. They are more than the disorder they’re afflicted with. Calling someone “schizophrenic” or “borderline” or “bipolar” reduces them to an illness, not a person. It’s dehumanizing.

“Retarded”

True, “mental retardation” used to be the diagnostic terminology for classifying individuals with lower IQs. Today, however, it’s mostly used as an insult. The American Psychiatric Association has eliminated the term as a classification; the correct term is “intellectual disability.”

“Committed suicide”

This phrase suggests that the person who dies by suicide is criminal. Criminals commit crimes. An individual who dies by suicide should not be placed in the same category. Instead, say “died by suicide.” This demonstrates respect for both the individual and their loved ones.


Words have the power to influence and shape the world. You have power. Be a positive influence and choose to fight stigma instead of contributing to the toxicity.