Professional Development for Mental Health Practitioners

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

By Cassie Jewell, 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.

Sites with Helpful Resource Lists

A list with links to other sites’ resource pages

By Cassie Jewell, 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 and Resources for Therapists

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, LPC, LSATP

Updated June 14, 2019

This is a list of books and websites for mental health professionals. Please check back as I update regularly. If you have a suggestion, use the contact form on this site to send me a message.


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

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

Finley, J., & Lenz, B. (2014). Addiction Treatment Homework Planner, 5th ed. Provides you with an array of ready-to-use, between-session assignments designed to fit virtually every therapeutic mode.


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.

Centre for Clinical Interventions

Free downloadable workbooks on anxiety, self-esteem, eating disorders, panic, perfectionism, and more

Evidence-Based Behavioral Practice

Information on evidence-based behavioral practices; includes tools, assessments, videos, and free online training modules

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.

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.)

National Center for PTSD for Professionals

Free handouts, toolkits, online trainings, and more

Oxford Clinical Psychology: Forms and Worksheets

A vast collection of forms, handouts, and assessments on anxiety, OCD, depression, parenting, substance use, 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.

Psychology Tools

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

PsychPoint

Articles and worksheets

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.

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

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.

TherapyAdvisor.org

A searchable database of empirically supported treatments for SUD and MH

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.

12-Step Recovery Groups

An extensive list of support groups for recovery

Compiled by Cassie Jewell, LPC, LSATP

There are a variety of 12-step (and similar) 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 organizations. (Note: This post does not include online-only communities.)

Alcoholics Anonymous (AA)

Narcotics Anonymous (NA)

Cocaine Anonymous (CA)

Marijuana Anonymous (MA)

Crystal Meth Anonymous (CMA)

Nicotine Anonymous (NicA)

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

Nar-Anon (For Family and Friends of Addicts)

Families Anonymous (FA)

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

Adult Children of Alcoholics (ACA)/Dysfunctional Families

Adult Survivors of Child Abuse Anonymous (ASCAA)

Survivors of Incest Anonymous

SMART Recovery (Self-Management and Recovery Training)

Women for Sobriety

Secular Organizations for Sobriety (SOS)

LifeRing Secular Recovery

Celebrate Recovery (A Christ-Centered 12-Step Program)

Co-dependents Anonymous (CoDa)

Emotions Anonymous

Sex Addicts Anonymous (SAA)

Sexaholics Anonymous

Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous (SLAA)

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

Dual Recovery Anonymous

Depressed Anonymous

Self Mutilators Anonymous

PTSD Anonymous

Overeaters Anonymous (OA)

Food Addicts Anonymous (FAA)

Food Addicts in Recovery Anonymous

Recovery from Food Addiction

Eating Disorders Anonymous (EDA)

Clutters Anonymous (CLA)

Debtors Anonymous (DA)

Underearners Anonymous (UA)

Workaholics Anonymous

Gamblers Anonymous

Online Gamers Anonymous (OLGA)


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

Worksheets, Activities, & Guides for Individual or Group Therapy

A list of free PDF printable worksheets and activities to use with clients in individual or group sessions

By Cassie Jewell, LPC, LSATP

Updated April 16, 2019

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


A list of ideas for group facilitation. Perfect for substance use treatment.

A list of check-in prompts to use with each group member at the beginning of a group

Each group writes a mini-autobiography that can be read in 3-5 minutes. Group members take turns presenting. A good icebreaker activity.

Icebreaker activity – good for newly formed groups. Each group member writes down other clients’ names. The facilitator then reads each “impression” and group members have the opportunity to share their answers. Group facilitator can link this activity to how addiction and mental illness are “invisible” (optional).

Another group icebreaker activity! Print/cut the cards, fold, and place in a bag or box. Group members take turns drawing the cards and answering the questions.

More icebreaker questions

Give group members 15-20 minutes to find signatures. The first person to collect 20 signatures sits down. (I usually give prizes.) The group facilitator then reviews the questions. (If short on time, use the short version.)

Cut up the cards and place in some sort of container to pass around. This activity is more appropriate for group members who feel comfortable around each other.

Print/cut these cards, fold, and place in a bag or box. In group, have clients take turns drawing cards and answering the questions.

A recovery worksheet for clients to explore what makes their drug/alcohol use possible and how to eliminate those things from their life

A recovery worksheet for clients to explore how they will find pleasure and fulfillment in recovery from addiction

A goal-development worksheet

A worksheet for developing goals for different life areas, such as emotional, spiritual, intellectual, etc.

A relapse prevention writing assignment

A tool for developing a relapse prevention plan

A writing assignment for an individual who is in treatment and has relapsed on drugs or alcohol

A worksheet for developing self-esteem

A guide for clients to explore their true selves

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

A resource list for mental health professionals and consumers. Free PDF manuals/workbooks for group and individual therapy or self-help purposes.

Compiled by Cassie Jewell, LPC, LSATP

Updated June 14, 2019

free printables

The following list is comprised of links to over 100 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.

12 Step Workbooks
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for PTSD: Group Manual
Adult Coloring Book for Mindfulness and Relaxation 
After an Attempt: A Guide for Taking Care of Yourself After Your Treatment in the Emergency Department (Spanish Version)
After an Attempt A Guide for Taking Care of Your Family Member after Treatment in the Emergency Department (Spanish Version)
Anger Management for Substance Abuse and Mental Health Clients: Participant Workbook (Spanish Version) (Provider Manual)
Anger Management Workbook
Anxiety Toolbox: Student Workbook
Back To Life: Your Personal Guidebook to Grief Recovery
Basic Anxiety Management Skills
Brief Counseling for Marijuana Dependence: A Manual for Treating Adults
CBT Worksheet Packet, 2017 Edition (Beck Cognitive Behavioral Therapy)
Client Workbook (from the Substance Use | Brain Injury Bridging Project)
A Cognitive Behavioral Approach: Treating Cocaine Addiction
Cognitive Behavioural Interpersonal Skills Manual
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Depression: Activities and Your Mood (Individual Treatment Version) Provider’s Guidebook
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Depression in Veterans and Military Servicemembers: Therapist Manual 
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia (CBTi): Treatment Manual
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Psychotic Symptoms: A Therapist’s Manual
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Skills Training Workbook
Cognitive Processing Therapy Veteran/Military Version: THERAPIST AND PATIENT MATERIALS MANUAL
Cognitive Psychotherapy Workbook
The Complete Set of Client Handouts and Worksheets from ACT books by Russ Harris
Comprehensive Cognitive Behavior Therapy for Social Phobia: A Treatment Manual
Co-occurring Disorders Problem Gambling Integrated Treatment Workbook
Co-occurring Disorders Treatment Workbook
Coping With Anxiety
Creating a Healthier Life: A Step-by-Step Guide to Wellness (Spanish Version)
Dealing With Distress
Dealing With Trauma: A TF-CBT Workbook for Teens
Depression Self-Management Toolkit
Determine Your Destiny (Self-Determination Series)
Eating Disorders Anonymous Step Workbook
Family Psychoeducation Workboook
Favorite Therapeutic Activities for Children, Adolescents, and Families: Practitioners Share Their Most Effective Interventions
Forgiveness Workbook: A Step by Step Guide
Generalized Anxiety Disorder: Patient Treatment Manual
Grief Counseling Resource Guide: A Field Manual (from NY State Office of Mental Health)
Group Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Depression: Thoughts and Your Mood
Guidebook on Vicarious Trauma: Recommended Solutions for Anti-Violence Workers
Happiness 101 Workbook
Happy for No Reason Workbook
Healthy Relationships Toolkit
HERO: Healthy Emotions and Improving Health Behavior Outcomes (Veteran Workbook)
Hope Focused Self-Help Workbook
The ‘Hurt Yourself Less’ Workbook
Illness Management and Recovery: Practitioner Guides and Handbooks
Individual Resiliency Training
Interpersonal Psychotherapy for Depression in Veterans: Therapist Guide
ISLAMIC INTEGRATED COGNITIVE BEHAVIOR THERAPY: 10 Sessions Treatment Manual for Depression in Clients with Chronic Physical Illness (Therapist Manual Workbook)
Johari Window Workbook
A Journey Toward Health and Hope: Your Handbook for Recovery After a Suicide Attempt
Just as I Am Workbook: A Guided Journal to Free Yourself from Self-Criticism and Feelings of Low Self-Worth
Lemons or Lemonade? An Anger Workbook for Teens
Life With Hope: 12 Step Workbook from Marijuana Anonymous
Manage Stress Workbook
Mapping Your Recovery
Matrix Series (Intensive Outpatient Treatment for People with Stimulant Use Disorders): Client’s Handbook
Matrix Series (Intensive Outpatient Treatment for People with Stimulant Use Disorders): Client’s Treatment Companion
Matrix Series (Intensive Outpatient Treatment for People with Stimulant Use Disorders): Counselor’s Family Education Manual
Matrix Series (Intensive Outpatient Treatment for People with Stimulant Use Disorder): Counselor’s Treatment Manual
Matrix Series: Using Matrix with Women Clients
Mindfulness and Acceptance-Based Group Therapy for Social Anxiety Disorder: A Treatment Manual
Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR): Authorized Curriculum Guide
The Mindful Path through Shyness
Motivational Enhancement Therapy Manual: A Clinical Research Guide for Therapists Treating Individuals With Alcohol Abuse and Dependence
My Wellness Action and Recovery Plan (WRAP)
My Action Plan for Relapse Prevention
On the Wings of Grief: A Bereavement Journal for Adults
Open-Minded Thinking (DBT Workbook)
Opioid Overdose Prevention Toolkit
Personal Brand Workbook
PREPARE/ENRICH Workbook for Couples
A Provider’s Introduction to Substance Abuse Treatment for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Individuals
Reaching out to a Hurting World: Christ-Centered Workbook on Recovery and Coordinating Twelve-Step Meetings
REBT Depression Manual: Managing Depression Using  Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy
Refine Your Life Workbook
Relapse Prevention Workbook
The Relaxation and Stress Reduction Workbook
Remembering For Good: Wholehearted Living after Loss
Self-Care Depression Program: Antidepressant Skills Workbook
Self-Help Manual for Bulimia Nervosa
Self-Help Workbook: Calming Tools to Manage Anxiety
Simple CBT Worksheets (from Autism Teaching Strategies)
SMART Recovery Worksheets
Social Anxiety in Schizophrenia: A Cognitive Behavioural Group Programme
Social Emotional Activities Workbook
Social Skills Training for Severe Mental Disorders: A Therapist Manual
The Stages of Divorce
STEP AHEAD Workbook: Career Planning for People with Criminal Convictions
Steps by the Big Book
Substance Misuse Workbook
Survivor To Thriver: Manual and Workbook for Adult Survivors of Child Abuse Who Want to Move On with Life
A Therapist’s Guide to Brief Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
The Think CBT Workbook
Think Good – Feel Good
Tobacco Cessation: An Abbreviated Mini-Workbook (A Resource for Veterans)
Treatment of Individuals with Prolonged and Complicated Grief and Traumatic Bereavement
Trauma and Resilience: An Adolescent Provider Toolkit
The Trauma-Informed Supervisor
Understanding Depression
Wellness Action Recovery Plan (WRAP): Personal Workbook
Wellness Self-Management Personal Workbook
Wellness Worksheets, 12th Edition
What Do You Want to Do with Your Life? Your Life Plan to Find Your Answer
Women Healing from Trauma: A Facilitator’s Guide
Working Through Self-Harm: A Workbook
Working Toward Wellness
Your Best You: Improving Your Mood

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

Mental Health, Wellness, and Personal Development Blogs to Follow

A list of 30+ mental health, wellness, and personal development blogs

Compiled by Cassie Jewell, LPC, LSATP

Updated April 9, 2019

blogs to follow

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

meditation-1287207_1920

  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!