Free Printable PDF Workbooks, Manuals, & Toolkits for Providers Who Work with Children, Adolescents, & Families

(Updated 2/10/20) A resource list for providers who work with youth and families. Free PDF manuals for clinicians and handouts/guides for families.

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

The original source for this list is my post, Free Printable PDF Workbooks, Manuals, & Self-Help Guides. However, the “Children, Youth, & Families” section was becoming too lengthy. The purpose of this post is to organize the youth and family resources so you can quickly find what you’re looking for. This post is divided into two sections: one for providers and one for families.

For Providers

Treatment Manuals/CURRICULUMs & Workbooks

Mood & Anxiety Disorders

Adolescent Coping with Depression Course: Leader’s Manual for Adolescent Groups (321 pages) | Student Workbook (199 pages) | Leader’s Manual for Parent Groups (139 pages) | Parent Workbook (73 pages) (Source: Kaiser Permanete for Health Research) (Find more information here)

The Adolescent Coping with Stress Course: An Eight-Session Curriculum Developed for the Prevention of Unipolar Depression in Adolescents with an Increased Future Risk: Leader Manual (118 pages) | Adolescent Workbook (79 pages) (Source: Kaiser Permanete for Health Research) (Find more information here)

The Adolescent Coping with Stress Course: A Fifteen-Session Class Curriculum Developed for the Prevention of Unipolar Depression in Adolescents with an Increased Future Risk: Leader Manual (112 pages) | Adolescent Workbook (82 pages) (Source: Kaiser Permanete for Health Research) (Find more information here)

Break Free from Depression: A 4-Session Curriculum Addressing Adolescent Depression (Source: Suicide Prevention Resource Center)

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)

STEADY: Intervention Manual (107 pages) | Adolescent Workbook (87 pages) (Source: Kaiser Permanete for Health Research) (Find more information here)

Substance Use Disorders

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

A Modified DBT Group Therapy Manual

Partners In Parenting: A DATAR/FIRST CHOICE Treatment Manual (Source: Texas Institute of Behavioral Research at TCU, 294 pages) 2002

Trauma & Related Disorders

Dealing With Trauma: A TF-CBT Workbook for Teens (Source: The National Child Traumatic Stress Network, Medical University of South Carolina, 35 pages) (Link to facilitator training here)

The T.O.P. Workbook for Sexual Health: Facilitator’s Manual (Source: Resources for Resolving Violence, Inc., 87 pages) 2010 (Purchase additional workbooks/manuals here)

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

Anger

Getting Along and Keeping It Cool: How Anger Works (Therapist Group Manual) (Source: Centre for Clinical Interventions with YouthLink, 79 pages)

Self-Esteem

On My Own Two Feet Series: Identity and Self-Esteem (76 pages) | Understanding Influences (103 pages) | Assertive Communication (121 pages) | Feelings (83 pages) | Decision Making (113 pages) | Consequences (81 pages) | Work Cards (129 pages) (Source: Department of Education and Skills and Professional Development Services for Teachers) (Find more information here)

LGBTQ Youth

Growing Up Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, or Transgender (Source: Department of Education and Skills and the Health Service Executive through the Social, Personal and Health Education Support Service, in conjunction with GLEN [Gay and Lesbian Equality Network] and BeLonG To Youth Services; and Professional Development Services for Teachers, 82 pages) (Find more information here)

It Gets Better: A Group Experience for LGBTQ Youth (Group Curriculum Outline) (Source: Catherine Griffith, Ph.D., 13 pages)

Latinix Youth

Latino Multifamily Group Program Manual, (Source: Valley Nonprofit Resources, 64 pages)

Health & Wellness

Be Real. Be Ready. (A comprehensive relationship and sexuality curriculum for high school students) (Source: Adolescent Health Working Group)

Healthy Living, Healthy Minds: A Toolkit for Health Professionals (Promoting Healthy Living in Children and Youth with Mental Health Challenges) (149 pages) | Healthy Living… It’s in Everyone (A Companion Workbook, 82 pages) (Source: BC Mental Health and Substance Use Services)

TRUST (Talking. Relationships. Understanding Sexuality. Teaching Resource.) Workbook (Source: National Council for Curriculum and Assessment; Department of Education and Science, the Health Service Executive, and Crisis Pregnancy Agency; and Department of Education and Skills and Professional Development Services for Teachers, 126 pages) (Find more information here)

Group Counseling Resources

A Collection of Icebreakers and Connection Activities (33 pages)

Favorite Therapeutic Activities for Children, Adolescents, and Families: Practitioners Share Their Most Effective Interventions (Source: Edited by Liana Lowenstein, MSW, 119 pages)

Group Counseling Guide (Group activities for children) (Source: Rita Zniber Foundation, 45 pages)

Toolkits & Guides

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)

Behavioral Health: Adolescent Provider Toolkit (Source: Adolescent Health Working Group)

Body Basics: Adolescent Provider Toolkit (Source: Adolescent Health Working Group)

Child Trauma Toolkit for Educators (Source: The National Child Traumatic Stress Network, 21 pages)

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

A Practitioner’s Resource Guide: Helping Families to Support Their LBGT Children (Source: SAMHSA, 18 pages)

Promoting Emotional Resilience: Helping children to find ways to function in a world where bad things happen – A Resource Pack (Source: West Sussex CAMHS and School Attendance Project, 141 pages) 2008

Sexual Health: Adolescent Provider Toolkit (Source: Adolescent Health Working Group

Stress Lessons Toolkit (Source: Psychology Foundation of Canada in partnership with Pfizer Canada, 52 pages) 2012

Trauma & Resilience: Adolescent Provider Toolkit (Source: Adolescent Health Working Group)

The Use of a Full Family Assessment to Identify the Needs of Families with Multiple Problems (Source: UK Department for Education, 105 pages)

For Families

Workbooks For Children & Adolescents

Anxiety Toolbox: Student Workbook (42 pages)

COPE (CAPS COPING SKILLS SEMINAR): Student Workbook (Source: West Carolina University Counseling and Psychological Services, 28 pages)

Dealing With Depression: Antidepressant Skills for Teens (Source: Vancouver Psych Safety Consulting Incorporated, 68 pages)

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)

Lemons or Lemonade? An Anger Workbook for Teens (Source: Jane F. Gilgun, PhD, LICSW, Education4Health, 38 pages)

Mighty Moe: An Anxiety Workbook for Children (Source: Lacey Woloshyn, 79 pages)

Safe Spot Stress Management Series

Safe Spot: Stress Management Workbook 1 – What Is Stress? (45 pages)

Safe Spot: Stress Management Workbook 2 – Behaviour and Stress (27 pages)

Safe Spot: Stress Management Workbook 3 – Thought Patterns and Stress (29 pages)

Safe Spot: Stress Management Workbook 4 – Problem-Solving and Well-Being (27 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)

Youth Transition Workbook (Source: Pennsylvania Youth Leadership Network/The Rhode Island Transition Council/The Rhode Island Department of Health Youth Advisory Council, 68 pages) 2017

Toolkits & Guides

For Parents & Caregivers

ADHD: Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (Information for Families) (Source: BC Mental Health and Substance Use Services, 12 pages)

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)

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

Bipolar Disorder in Children and Teens: A Parent’s Guide (Information Booklet) (Source: National Institute of Mental Health, Hosford Clinic, 27 pages)

Bipolar Disorder: Parents’ Medication Guide for Bipolar Disorder in Children & Adolescents (Source: American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 63 pages)

Borderline Personality Disorder: An Information Guide for Families (Source: CAMH, 72 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 Separation Anxiety Handbook (Source: BC Legal Services Society, 24 pages)

Emotional Intelligence Activities for Teens Ages 13-18 (Source: The Ohio National Guard, 34 pages)

Families in Transition: A Resource Guide for Families of Transgender Youth (Source: Central Toronto Youth Services, 56 pages)

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

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

The Mind Body Connection and Somatization: A Family Handbook (Source: BC Mental Health and Substance Use Services, 46 pages)

Oppositional Defiant Disorder: A Guide for Families by the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (18 pages)

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

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

Recognizing Resilience: A Workbook for Parents and Caregivers of Teens Involved with Substances (Source: BC Mental Health and Substance Use Services, 104 pages)

A Resource Guide for Families Dealing with Mental Illness (Source: Michigan National Alliance on Mental Health, 40 pages)

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

Tools & Resources (Toolkit for Families) (Source: Kelty Mental Health, 25 pages)

What Community Members Can Do: Helping Children and Adolescents Cope with Violence and Disasters (For Teachers, Clergy, and Other Adults in the Community) (Information Booklet) (Source: National Institute of Mental Health, Hosford Clinic, 20 pages)

For Youth & Adolescents

Healthy Living for Teens (Source: BC Mental Health and Substance Use Services, 23 pages)

A Sibling’s Guide to Psychosis: Information, Ideas, and Resources (Source: Canada Mental Health Association, 34 pages)

Student Life (Source: Mind UK, 22 pages)

List Of Hobbies

Discover your next greatest hobby with this diverse list of assorted leisure activities, which range from beekeeping to Kombucha brewing to knife throwing to ghost hunting.

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

I developed this list (with the help of Wikipedia, and Google, of course) as part of a project I was working on and thought it would be worth sharing. (Click below for a PDF version of this list.)

Hobby Categories

Animals & Nature | Arts & Crafts | Collections | Cooking & Baking | Entertainment | Home Improvement & DIY | Literature, Music, & Dance | Outdoor & Adventure | Self-Improvement & Social | Sports | Travel | Miscellaneous

Read and be inspired!

Animals & Nature

  • Attend pet shows (or horse shows)
  • Beekeeping
  • Berry or apple picking
  • Bird watching
  • Butterfly garden (Visit one or create your own!)
  • Butterfly watching
  • Be a plant parent; nurture and care for indoor plants
  • Composting
  • Dog training
  • Dog walking
  • Fossil hunting
  • Grow and tend to a fruit tree
  • Grow an indoor herb garden
  • Grow plants from seedlings (and plant outside when in-season)
  • Hang humming bird feeders and then sit back and enjoy the company!
  • Horseback riding
  • Become an expert at identifying various plants
  • Mushroom hunting
  • Nature walks
  • Adopt a pet
  • Pet fostering
  • Pet sitting
  • Plant a flower bed
  • Go on a swamp tour
  • Tend to a vegetable garden
  • Topiary
  • Visit a farm
  • Visit an aquarium
  • Go to zoos and/or nature centers
  • Watch wildlife on Animal Planet
  • Go whale watching

Arts & Crafts

  • Drawing
  • Candle making
  • Collages – Use whatever materials you desire!
  • Coloring
  • Crocheting
  • Design your own greeting cards or stationary
  • Flower arranging
  • Glassblowing
  • Jewelry making
  • Knitting
  • Lettering/calligraphy
  • Mixed media art
  • Mosaic making
  • Origami
  • Painting (watercolor, oils, acrylics, etc.)
  • Paper crafts (including paper mache)
  • Photography
  • Pressed flower craft
  • Pottery
  • Quilting
  • Scrapbooking
  • Sculpting
  • Sewing
  • Sketching
  • Soap making
  • Weaving
  • Wood carving

Collections

  • Action figures
  • Antiques
  • Autographs
  • Barbies
  • Books (classics, signed copies, etc.)
  • Christmas tree ornaments
  • Comics
  • Fun socks
  • Hot sauce from around the world
  • Movie or music memorabilia
  • Obsolete tech (i.e. outdated cell phones, tape players, etc.)
  • Original artwork
  • Plates
  • Purses, shoes, and other accessories
  • Recipes
  • Records
  • Retro video games
  • Rocks and/or crystals
  • Shells
  • Souvenirs
  • Sports memorabilia
  • Stickers
  • Ticket stubs
  • Toys
  • Vases
  • Vintage items

Cooking & Baking

  • Braising
  • Bread making
  • Cake decorating
  • Canning
  • Cheese making
  • Coffee roasting
  • Cookie decorating
  • Grilling and BBQ
  • Hosting dinner parties
  • Kombucha brewing
  • Learn ethnic and regional recipes
  • Learn recipes from cooking shows
  • Make “fun foods” for kids
  • Make homemade ice cream
  • Make jam or jelly
  • Make your own beef (or vegan!) jerky
  • Participate in competitive food festivals (or just go and enjoy the food!)
  • Pasta making
  • Pastry and confection making
  • Pickling
  • Pie making
  • Raw diet meals
  • Recreate menu items from your favorite restaurants
  • Reduced fat cooking
  • Sautéing
  • Slow cooker meals
  • Smoothie making
  • Soup, sauce, and stock making
  • Sushi making
  • Take a cooking class
  • Tea brewing
  • Try new recipes on a regular basis
  • Use an air fryer
  • Use a dehydrator
  • Use Pinterest for inspiration
  • Vegan cooking
  • Watch Food Network for inspiration

Entertainment

  • Attend movies, operas, plays, and musicals
  • Bingo
  • Board games and/or party games
  • Card games
  • Chess
  • Strategy games
  • Dine out at new restaurants
  • Escape rooms
  • Gaming
  • Go to museums
  • Go to poetry slams or open mic nights
  • Jigsaw puzzles
  • Karaoke
  • Murder mystery shows
  • Read entertainment/celebrity magazines
  • See your favorite bands/artists perform live
  • Standup comedy
  • Theme parks
  • Watch your favorite Netflix series, but make sure you become overly invested (borderline obsessed) with the story line and characters in order for this to qualify as a legit hobby

Home Improvement & DIY

  • Add a backsplash to your kitchen
  • Bathroom remodel
  • Build a shed
  • Build furniture
  • Design a meditation room, home office, “man cave,” or “she shed”
  • DIY headboard
  • Fireplace makeover
  • Hanging shelves
  • Home organization
  • Install smart home technology
  • Kitchen remodel
  • Paint an accent wall or update your entire home
  • Paint old cabinets
  • Redecorate a room
  • Stencil or wallpaper
  • Update a closet
  • Update furniture
  • Update lighting
  • Use chalk paint or metallic spray paint

Literature, Music, & Dance

  • Acting
  • Attend art galleries
  • Attend literary fests
  • Ballroom dancing
  • Belly dancing
  • Blogging/guest blogging
  • Break dancing
  • Editing
  • Go to book signings
  • Go to the library
  • Join a book club (either in-person or online, i.e. Goodreads)
  • Listen to music
  • Play/learn an instrument
  • Puppeteering
  • Rapping
  • Reading
  • Sell your art on etsy.com
  • Singing
  • Song-writing
  • Submit articles/opinion pieces/essays to magazines and newspapers
  • Swing dancing
  • Take a dance class (swing, hip hop, ballroom, etc.)
  • Take a drama or improv class
  • Take voice lessons
  • Wikipedia editing
  • Write a book
  • Write poetry
  • Write short stories

Outdoor & Adventure

  • Backpacking
  • Boating
  • Bungee jumping
  • Camping
  • Canoeing
  • Caving
  • Fishing
  • Geocaching
  • Go-Karting
  • Hiking
  • Hot air ballooning
  • Kayaking
  • Laser tag
  • Mountain biking
  • Mountain climbing
  • Paintball
  • Parasailing
  • Rocking climbing
  • Sailing
  • Scuba diving
  • Skiing
  • Skydiving
  • Snowboarding
  • Snorkeling
  • Waterskiing
  • White water rafting
  • Wilderness survival

Self-Improvement & Social

  • Advocate
  • Attend support groups/meetings
  • Attend workshops
  • Bullet journaling
  • Daily positive affirmations and/or self-reflection
  • Join a club
  • Join a gym
  • Join a Meetup group
  • Join a political campaign
  • Journaling
  • Keep a gratitude journal
  • Listen to podcasts
  • Make a vision board and update it regularly
  • Meditation
  • Read research
  • Read self-improvement books
  • Social media
  • Stretching
  • Take a class (i.e. self-defense, a foreign language, etc.)
  • Use a habit tracker app
  • Volunteer
  • Watch documentaries
  • Watch inspirational Ted Talks
  • Wear a fitness tracker
  • Yoga

Sports

  • Archery
  • Badminton 
  • Baseball
  • Basketball
  • Biking
  • Body building
  • Bowling
  • Boxing
  • Cricket
  • Darts
  • Disc golf/frisbee
  • Fencing
  • Football/flag football
  • Golf
  • Gymnastics
  • Hockey
  • Ice skating
  • Jogging/running
  • Knife throwing
  • Lacrosse
  • Martial arts
  • Poker
  • Racquetball
  • Racing
  • Riding a unicycle
  • Roller derby
  • Rugby
  • Skateboarding
  • Soccer
  • Surfing/body boarding
  • Swimming
  • Table football
  • Table tennis
  • Tennis
  • Thai Chi
  • Volleyball
  • Weight training
  • Wrestling

Travel

  • Alaskan cruise
  • All-inclusive resorts
  • Beach vacations
  • Caribbean cruise
  • Cross country train trip
  • Explore your home town and other nearby place as though you’re a tourist
  • Guided group tours
  • Mediterranean cruise
  • Road trip
  • See the Northern Lights
  • Travel to all the continents in the world
  • Travel to all the states in America
  • Trip to Las Vegas
  • Visit the Grand Canyon
  • Visit the New Seven Wonders of the World
  • Visit the Seven Ancient Wonders of the World
  • Go on city walking tours

Miscellaneous Hobbies

  • Astrology/astronomy
  • Billiards
  • Couponing
  • Creating DIY home products
  • Fantasy sports
  • Genealogy
  • Ghost hunting
  • Hair styling/braiding
  • Hula hooping
  • Juggling
  • Keeping up with the latest fashions
  • Kite flying
  • Learning magic tricks
  • Makeup application
  • Metal detecting
  • Model building
  • People watching
  • Storage unit auctions
  • Sunbathing
  • Yard sale shopping/thrifting

Note: The Wikipedia webpage, “List of Hobbies” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_hobbies), was utilized as a reference for this list.

From Survival to Endurance to Fulfillment: How I Found Meaning in Life

“I gave up on having a future. And I was strangely okay with it.”

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

Without delving too deep into my past, I will tell you that my late teens and early to mid 20’s were not the best of times. They were dark. Lonely. Depressing. I was living a life of chaos and hopelessness. At one point, I didn’t think I was going to survive; I gave up on having a future. And I was strangely okay with it.

My turning point was a spiritual awakening of sorts. A near-death experience led to a realization that I didn’t want to die; and it was either die or change my life. I picked change.

What helped me to live again (and ultimately find fulfillment)? You might guess family or a relationship or God. But at the time, I wasn’t close with my family, I didn’t have any significant relationships/friendships, and God wasn’t a part of my life. It was the following that helped me become the person I am today:

A Therapist

Having not a single shred of self-esteem, I went to see a counselor. She created a safe space and then uplifted me, making me feel worthwhile. She normalized what I was going through; I felt less alone. She affirmed me for positive choices I made. She initiated the mending of my fragile self. I gradually gained confidence, not only in myself, but in the idea that I could live a better life.

My Dog

She loved me unconditionally… and she depended on me fully. If I died, she would think I purposely left her. I couldn’t bear the idea; I wouldn’t do that to her. She played a huge role in my recovery. I sometimes think she saved me.

My Potential

I’ve always known I have potential. I’m smart and creative. I’m motivated and driven. But that potential died somewhere along the way in young adulthood. In moments of clarity, I mourned my lost potential. I wanted to be better and to do better with my life. I was meant, maybe not for great things, but for better things than living out of my car, broke and friendless. When I decided to live, my potential reawakened; it became a driving force – a bright, glowing beacon that revitalized and inspired me.

“You have to forgive yourself.”

Self-Forgiveness

I couldn’t bear to tell my therapist about some of the things I’d done. I was ashamed; late at night, lying in bed, I would think about past events. I’d feel sick to my stomach – then, an unpleasant head rush heart racing not able to get enough air… (That’s the feeling of shame seeping from your mind into your being.) My therapist didn’t push me to share; instead, she said, “You have to forgive yourself.” It became my mantra, quietly uttered in the dark. I would repeat, “I forgive myself, I forgive myself, I forgive myself…” until I internalized it. (That being said, it didn’t happen overnight… it took weeks, months, years. But all was set in motion with that one simple statement.)

Education

I went back to school and was able to fully immerse myself in my studies. As a naturally curious person, learning is a sort of fuel for me. The more I learn, the thirstier I become. My classes provided me with not only knowledge, but with a spark that generated purpose.

Passion

While in school, I discovered a new passion; I fell in love with research. (#nerd) I thrived in my research/statistics class; my undergraduate study was even published in a national journal. It felt good to be passionate about something again; it stirred up (from the dust) long-forgotten loves, like reading and writing – passions I thought I’d left behind in childhood.

A Meaningful Career

After finishing college and starting graduate school, I became a counselor… and found meaning in helping others. My first job in the field was tough, heart-breaking at times, and deeply fulfilling. It solidified what my education had started to shape – I no longer needed to survive or endure life; I found my purpose for living.

Professional Development for Mental Health Practitioners

20 professional development ideas for counselors, social workers, and other mental health clinicians

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

Professional development encompasses all activities that provide or strengthen professional knowledge/skills. Ongoing professional development is a requirement for mental health practitioners in order to maintain competency and for keeping up-to-date on the latest research and evidence-based practices in an ever-changing field.

Listed below are several ideas for counselor professional development.

1 Find a mentor (and meet with them at least once a month).

2 Sign up for relevant e-mail lists. A few I find the most helpful/informative: Brain & Behavior Foundation, National Institute of Mental Health, and SAMHSA.

3 Become a member of a professional organization (i.e. American Counseling Association).

4 Keep up-to-date on the latest research. If you are a member of a professional organization, take advantage of your member benefits; you likely have access to a professional journal. You can also browse sites like ScienceDaily or use an app like Researcher.

5 Facilitate professional trainings or manage a booth at a conference.

6 Read counseling and psychology books (such as On Being a Therapist by Kottler or Mindsight by Siegel).

7 Practice awareness. Know your values, limitations, and personal biases.

8 Become familiar with local resources in your community.

9 Volunteer.

10 Join a professional counseling forum and participate in discussions. The ACA has several. You could also go the reddit route (i.e. r/psychotherapy).

11 Review your professional code of ethics on a regular basis. (Link to the ACA Code.)

12 Attend webinars, trainings, and conferences. Stay informed by subscribing to email lists, participating in professional forums, and searching Eventbrite for local events; search “mental health.” PESI is another source, but the seminars can be costly.

13 Network/consult.

14 Subscribe to psychology magazines like Psychology Today or Psychotherapy Networker.

15 Further your education by taking classes or earning a certificate.

16 Pick a different counseling skill to strengthen each week. (You can even use flashcards to pick a new skill or simply review!)

17 Write an article or book (or book review!)

18 Take free online courses.

19 Listen to podcasts (like Therapy Chat or Counselor Toolbox).

20 Practice self-care on a regular basis to prevent burnout. Why is self-care included in a post on professional development? Because self-care is crucial for counselor wellness; a counselor experiencing burnout puts his/her clients at risk.

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!

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!

Mental Health, Wellness, & Personal Development Blogs to Follow

(Updated 4/9/19) A list of 30+ mental health, wellness, and personal development blogs

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

Creating Mind ReMake Project opened my eyes to a whole world of blogs! There are tons of informative and thought-provoking sites out there that share my “niche.” This post lists a variety of blogs related to mental health, wellness, and personal development.

  1. ACA Counseling Corner Blog

“Thoughtful ideas, suggestions, and strategies for helping you to live a happier and healthier life”

  1. Aim Hypnotherapy Blog

Therapist and blogger Aigin Larki blogs about anxiety, addiction, stress, and other mental health topics

  1. Anxiety Free World

A blog about coping with anxiety

  1. Beyond Meds

Award-winning blog written by ex-patient and mental health professional, Monica Cassani, on topics related to psychotropic meds and mental health

  1. Blue Light Blue

Amy McDowell Marlow, a 22-year survivor of suicide loss who lives with mental illness (bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and generalized anxiety disorder), blogs about living with mental illness

  1. Brave Over Perfect

Dr. Christine Carter and Susie Rinehart write about personal growth topics

  1. Brené Brown Blog

Personal growth and development blog

  1. David’s Blog

Dr. David Healy is a psychiatrist, psychopharmacologist, scientist, and author who blogs about pharmacology and mental health

  1. Dr. David Susman Blog

A clinical psychologist, mental health advocate, professor, and writer shares resources and inspiration for better mental health

  1. Dr. Melissa Welby Blog

Psychiatry and well-being 

  1. Dr. Sarah Ravin Blog

A clinical psychologist blogs about psychological issues and evidence-based treatments

  1. Fairfax-Falls Church Community Services Board News

If you live in Fairfax County, VA, sign up for CSB news to receive updates and links to helpful resources

  1. The Fractured Light

Living with borderline personality disorder

  1. Gardening Love

A unique wellness and lifestyle blog about enhancing mental health and well-being through gardening

  1. Healthy Place Blogs

A collection of mental health blogs

  1. Heather LeGuilloux Blog

A therapist blogs about mental health topics

  1. Info Counselling – Evidence based therapy techniques

Learn about the latest evidence-based treatments and download free therapy worksheets

  1. Kim’s Counseling Corner

Kim Peterson, a licensed professional counselor, created Kim’s Counseling Corner, a site with a variety of free downloadable resources for clinicians

  1. Love and Life Toolbox

Award-winning blog founded by Lisa Brookes Kift, marriage and family therapist, about marriages, relationships, and emotional health

  1. Mindcology

Mental health and self-help posts written by psychologists, counselors, and other mental health practitioners

  1. The Mighty

“A digital health community created to empower and connect people facing health challenges and disabilities”

  1. Momentus Institute Blog

A blog dedicated to building and repairing the social emotional health of children

  1. MQ Blog

A blog about transforming mental health care through research

  1. My Brain’s Not Broken

Living with mental illness

  1. NAMI Blog

Advocacy blog

  1. On Being Patient

Personal accounts of living with mental illness

  1. Our Parent Place

A place for parents with mental illness to connect and learn 

  1. PsychCentral Mental Health and Psychology Blogs

Blog posts by experts, professionals, and ordinary people who share their insights on a variety of mental health topics

  1. Psychology Today Blogs

A large collection of blogs on psychology-related topics, including creativity, intelligence, memory, parenting, and more

  1. SAMHSA Blog

“A place where up-to-date information including articles from SAMHSA staff, announcements of new programs, links to reports, grant opportunities, and ways to connect to other resources are located”

  1. A Splintered Mind

Douglas Scootey blogs about “overcoming ADHD and depression with lots of humor and attitude”

  1. Survival Is a Talent

“A digital platform for individuals to share their Stories of Survival relating to health and wellness”

  1. Thriving While Disabled

A blog about living with a disability

  1. Your Brain Health 

Dr. Sarah McKay, neuroscientist and blogger, writes about topics related to neurology and mental health


Also consider:

Janaburson’s Blog

A blog created to help people better understand the medication-assisted treatment of opioid addiction using either buprenorphine (Suboxone) or methadone from a physician, board-certified in Internal Medicine and Addiction Medicine

Pete Earley

Advocacy blog for mental health reform


Know of a great blog? Post in a comment!

4 Strategies for Better Decision-Making

Individuals with “big picture” styles of reasoning make better decisions. Learn four strategies for “big picture” thinking to get optimal results.

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

A recent study found that individuals with a “big picture” style of thinking made better decisions. (“Better” decisions were defined as those resulting in maximum benefits.)

If you took the Myers-Briggs (a personality assessment), and fell on the “Intuition” side of the spectrum (like me!), it’s likely you’re already a “big picture” thinker. If you’re on the “Sensing” side, you’re more apt to examine individual facts before considering the sum of all parts.

“Big picture” thinking is a practical and balanced method of reasoning. It suggests taking a step back (zoom out!)… and looking to see how all pieces fit together.

The following strategies promote “big picture” thinking:

1. Get a good night’s rest

Researchers from the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center found that sleep is essential for “relational memory” (or the ability to make inferences, i.e. “big picture” thinking).

Before making a tough decision, sleep on it; you’ll wake up with a new perspective! In addition to healthy sleep hygiene, the following strategies have been found to improve sleep:

2. Don’t deliberate for long

Research indicates that when weighing out options, it’s ideal to take small breaks. Don’t deliberate for long periods of time or you’ll start to lose focus. If things become fuzzy, you won’t see the big picture.

3. Bay day = bad decision

One study found that a positive mood is related to a “big picture” thinking style. Good moods are associated with broader and more flexible thinking. A positive mood enables someone to step back emotionally, psychologically distancing themselves from the decision at hand.

If you’re feeling salty, hold off on making that decision. Instead, try one (or all!) of the following research-based techniques for boosting your mood:

4. Get a second opinion

Ask around to learn how others’ view your situation. Every perspective you collect is another piece of the “big picture” puzzle.

Seek opinions from those you trust (only those who have your best interests in mind). Make sure you ask a variety of people (especially those with whom you typically disagree). The end result is a broader and more comprehensive awareness of what you’re facing.

Employ all four strategies to optimize your thinking style and decision-making skills!


References

American Academy of Sleep Medicine. (2010, April 4). Maintaining regular daily routines is associated with better sleep quality in older adults. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 18, 2018 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100401085336.htm

American Academy of Sleep Medicine. (2008, June 12). Moderate Exercise Can Improve Sleep Quality Of Insomnia Patients. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 18, 2018 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/06/080611071129.htm

American Chemical Society (ACS). (2012, August 19). Good mood foods: Some flavors in some foods resemble a prescription mood stabilizer. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 10, 2018 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120819153457.htm

American Psychological Association. (2018, April 23). Let it go: Mental breaks after work improve sleep: Repetitive thoughts on rude behavior at work results in insomnia. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 18, 2018 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/04/180423110828.htm

Baycrest Centre for Geriatric Care. (2012, May 14). A walk in the park gives mental boost to people with depression. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 18, 2018 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120514134303.htm

Berman, M. G., Kross, E., Krpan, K. M., Askren, M. K., Burson, A., Deldin, P. J., Kaplan, S., Sherdell, L., Gotlib, I. H., & Jonides, J. (2012). Interacting with nature improves cognition and affect for individuals with depression. Journal of Affective Disorders, DOI: 10.1016/j.jad.2012.03.012

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. (2007, April 21). To Understand The Big Picture, Give It Time – And Sleep. ScienceDaily. Retrieved June 17, 2018 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/04/070420104732.htm

Black, D. S., O’Reilly, G. A., Olmstead, R., Breen, E. C., & Irwin, M. R. (2015). Mindfulness meditation and improvement in sleep quality and daytime impairment among older adults with sleep disturbances. JAMA Internal Medicine, DOI: 10.1001/jamainternmed.2014.8081

Curry, O., Rowland, L., Zlotowitz, S., McAlaney, J., & Whitehouse, H. (2016). Happy to help? A systematic review and meta-analysis of the effects of performing acts of kindness on the well-being of the actor. Open Science Framework

Demsky, C. A. et al. (2018). Workplace incivility and employee sleep: The role of rumination and recovery experiences. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, DOI: 10.1037/ocp0000116

The JAMA Network Journals. (2015, February 16). Mindfulness meditation appears to help improve sleep quality. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 18, 2018 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/02/150216131115.htm

Labroo, A., Patrick, V., & Deighton, J. served as editor and Luce, M. F. served as associate editor for this article. (2009). Psychological distancing: Why happiness helps you see the big picture. Journal of Consumer Research, 35(5), 800-809. doi:10.1086/593683

Northwestern University. (2017, July 10). Purpose in life by day linked to better sleep at night: Older adults whose lives have meaning enjoy better sleep quality, less sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 18, 2018 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/07/170710091734.htm

Ohio State University. (2018, July 13). How looking at the big picture can lead to better decisions. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 18, 2018 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/07/180713111931.htm

Spira, A. P. (2015). Being mindful of later-life sleep quality and its potential role in prevention. JAMA Internal Medicine, DOI: 10.1001/jamainternmed.2014.8093

Stillman, P. E., Fujita, K., Sheldon, O., & Trope, Y. (2018). From “me” to “we”: The role of construal level in promoting maximized joint outcomes. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 147(16), DOI: 10.1016/j.obhdp.2018.05.004

Turner, A. D., Smith, C. E., & Ong, J. C. (2017). Is purpose in life associated with less sleep disturbance in older adults? Sleep Science and Practice, 1(1), DOI: 10.1186/s41606-017-0015-6

University of Michigan. (2009, June 3). Feeling Close To a Friend Increases Progesterone, Boosts Well-being and Reduces Anxiety and Stress. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 18, 2018 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090602171941.htm

University of Oxford. (2016, October 5). Being kind to others does make you ‘slightly happier’. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 18, 2018 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/10/161005102254.htm

Zisberg, A., Gur-Yaish, N., & Shochat, T. (2010). Contribution of routine to sleep quality in community elderly. Sleep, 33(4), 509-514.

11 Self-Care Ideas You May Not Have Considered

(Updated 1/13/20) Self-care is a vital piece of the wellness puzzle. This post is intended for the well-informed “self-carer,” who already knows about (and maybe even practices) deep breathing, massage, aromatherapy, etc. and wants to expand their horizons. This is also for people (like me) who don’t get much from your typical self-care practices (i.e. lighting a scented candle).

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

Self-care is a vital piece of the wellness puzzle. As a mental health professional, I practice self-care to prevent burnout. (Once a counselor reaches burnout, he/she is no longer able to fully meet a client’s needs; if you’re not taking care of yourself, how are you going to help someone else?)

To illustrate the importance of self-care, consider a vehicle; it requires ongoing maintenance for optimal performance and safety. Similarly, we require self-care. It’s a concept that encompasses a variety of needs, including health, solitude, human connection, self-love, spiritualty, and more.

I’ve read many articles, posts, and books on self-care; there’s a wealth of information out there. Commonplace self-care tips, such as taking a bubble bath or meditating, make up the majority of posts on the topic; but unoriginal content has no place here. And to be honest, some (okay, a lot!) of the ideas make me want to roll my eyes. (Lighting a scented candle? Nope, not gonna do it for me.)

This post is intended for the well-informed “self-carer,” who already knows about (and maybe even practices) deep breathing, massage, aromatherapy, etc. and wants to expand their horizons. This is also for people (like me) who don’t get much from your typical self-care practices.

Here are 11 unique ideas:

1. Create an inspirational scrapbook or a “bliss book” 

Any time you happen upon something that makes you smile, inspires you, or motivates you, add it to your scrapbook (or journal or binder). Maybe it’s a photo, a happy thought you jot down, or a magazine article. Alternatively, you could create a “bliss board” on Pinterest.

Creating a bliss book (or board) has the potential to generate positivity and compassion. Whenever you need an emotional pick-me-up, flip through your scrapbook. Share it with others to generate a double dose of cheer!

2. Plan a trip 

If you can’t take a vacation, you can at least plan! Preparation is half the fun (for me, at least)! Look up places you’d like to travel and research things to do there. Create an itinerary. Set a tentative travel date (even if it’s years from now) so you have something to look forward to.

3. Poop in public bathrooms (without shame)! 

If you’re one of those people who avoid going number 2 in public bathrooms, stop. Holding in your poop is uncomfortable and may result in constipation. If you’re embarrassed about the smell, carry a travel-sized container of Poo-Pourri. If it’s the sound that makes you anxious, run the water or flush as you go. When your body tells you it’s time to go, listen! 

4. Treat yourself to a monthly subscription box 

I love getting mystery packages in the mail! It’s akin to receiving a care package when you’re a kid at summer camp. And when it comes to subscription boxes, there are many to choose from. Currently, I subscribe to four: Ispy (5 makeup samples in a cute makeup bag for $10), PLAY! by Sephora (5-6 makeup samples for $10), Trendsend (5-8 clothing items and no styling fee!), and StitchFix (a mix of 5 clothing items, shoes, and accessories with a $20 styling fee – fee is deducted from total).

Subscription boxes are fun and a great way for me to build a professional wardrobe and to try new makeup products. (Disclaimer: I receive a referral bonus if you sign up for a subscription service via one of my links.)

5. Sort through childhood toys or photos

Allow yourself time to reminisce. My sister and I recently went through a box of old dolls and stuffed animals; it was the most fun I’ve had in a long time. It released a flood of happy memories and it felt great to laugh. (We chuckled over my Barbie dolls, which all had short, spiky hair; I was a very literal child, so when my sister declared “Barbie haircut day,” I took it to heart. My sister, on the other hand, only pretended to snip her Barbies’ hair. I cried rivers that day.)

I also enjoy looking at old family photos. See below for a pic from the year my mom went on a mission to create the perfect Christmas photo letter (the kind moms send out to impress relatives and old friends). “Fred the Christmas Goose” didn’t make the cut.

6. Create something

Practicing holistic self-care means stretching your mind; you benefit from the challenge. Avoid stagnation by stepping outside your comfort zone. Feed your creative side by building a chair, writing a song, painting a picture, knitting a scarf, or putting together a model.

Personally, I enjoy creating art; while not entirely lacking in talent, I’m no Picasso. Most of my projects are equivalent to the work one would accredit to a moderately talented 8-year old. Every once in awhile, I’m pleasantly surprised. (See below for a sketch I posted on Instagram.) Drawing or painting elicits a sense of accomplishment; it’s something I feel good about. Acknowledging your contributions builds self-esteem and confidence.

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@levgrossman

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7. Engage with a stranger, an acquaintance, a friend, or a family member

Establishing meaningful human connection is essential for wellness. To make the most of this tip, try something you normally wouldn’t. (For example, chatting with a stranger is not my norm. To practice this tip, I’d strike up a conversation with my seatmate on a plane [providing, of course, that they’re open to friendly conversation.) Practicing self-care means building (or strengthening) connections. 

8. Go exploring 

As a child, nothing thrilled my soul quite like adventure; I explored by trampling through the woods behind my house, traversing streams and following hidden trails. My adventures often involved the discovery of “treasure,” an odd rock or ruins of some sort. Today, I’m just as adventurous; however, I spend less time crashing through woods and more time traveling the world.

Exploration promotes curiosity, which is essential for growth. If you’re not a fan of outdoor activities like hiking or backpacking, try exploring a city or neighborhood. Consider driving through unfamiliar developments. Explore restaurants or shops in your town. Whatever you decide, pursue it with the enthusiasm of the 6-year old adventurer you once were.

9. Redecorate your office or a room in your home to make it soothing, energizing, or inspiring

Every time you’re in the room, you’ll experience positive vibes. Paint the walls, add plants, declutter, hang a portrait, change the curtains, create a rock garden, etc. – whatever promotes positivity.

10. Change something about yourself

There’s a lot to be said for loving yourself, flaws and all. On the flip side, if there’s something you’re extremely unhappy with, consider changing it. If you’re overweight and have tried every sort of diet, but still can’t shed those pounds, talk to a doctor about weight loss surgery or schedule an appointment with a plastic surgeon. If you’re tired of feeling sluggish and lacking energy, adjust your sleep schedule, diet, and exercise routine (and make sure you see a doctor to rule out a medical issue). If you’re constantly broke, get a second job or find another way to bring in income; enroll in financial courses or schedule an appointment with a financial advisor.

Sometimes, self-care involves drastic change. If you’re deeply troubled over some aspect of your life, and it’s something you’re unable to accept, change it (while recognizing it will require work!) This is your life; take action.

Note: This tip is only for things you have control over; recognize what you can and cannot change. For example, I don’t like my flabby arms; if this bothered me enough, I could lift weights to develop muscle tone. I also dislike my neck; it’s not long enough. Unfortunately, short of brass neck coils (which border on self-harm), there’s nothing I can do. It’s not worth brooding over. (That being said, when contemplating any major change, especially ones involving surgery or substantial amounts of money, ask, “Is this change for me alone or am I seeking outside approval?” The essence of self-care is the self; it’s for you and you alone.)

11. Adopt a healthy habit (or quit a bad one) 

This idea embodies delayed-gratification self-care vs. instant-gratification self-care (i.e. sipping a mug of tea or gazing at the stars). And while both types of self-care are important, the rewards associated with a healthy habit are life-changing (vs. “mildly pleasant”).

According to research, there are five lifestyle habits associated with a low risk of illness and longer life expectancy. If you’re serious about self-care (and want more bang for your buck), adopt one (or all) of the following practices:

Eat a healthy diet

Exercise regularly

Maintain a healthy body weight

Drink alcohol in moderation (or not at all)

Don’t smoke

A healthy lifestyle is the foundation of self-care!

Share your favorite strategies for self-care in a comment!