Sites with Free Therapy Worksheets & Handouts

(Updated 5/4/20) A list of sites with free printable resources for mental health clinicians and consumers

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

If you’re a counselor or therapist, you’re probably familiar with Therapist Aid, one of the most well-known sites providing free printable worksheets. PsychPoint and Get Self Help UK are also great resources for cost-free handouts, tools, etc. that can be used with clients or for self-help.

When I started blogging, I realized just how much the Internet has to offer when it comes to FREE! That being said, I’ve learned the term free is often misleading. There are gimmicky sites that require you to join an email list in order to receive a free e-book, PDF printables, etc.; I don’t consider that free since you’re making an exchange. I also dislike and generally avoid sites that bombard with ads. A third “free-resource” site that’s deceiving is the site with no gimmicks or ads, but turns out to be nothing more than a ploy to get you to buy something.

For this post, I avoided misleading sites and instead focused on government agencies, educational institutions, and nonprofits. I found some sites that offered a variety of broad-topic PDF resources and others that had fewer, but provided specialized tools. See below for links to over 50 sites with free therapy worksheets and handouts for both clinicians and consumers.

(Click here for free worksheets, handouts, and guides posted on this site.)

Please check back frequently; I update regularly.

Mental Health & Addiction (Sites with Worksheets/Handouts on a Variety of Topics)

91 Free Counseling Handouts | Handouts on self-esteem, emotions, recovery, stress, and more

A Change in Thinking: Self-Help Library | A large collection of worksheets and handouts on communication, relationships, depression, and more

A Good Way to Think: Resources | Worksheets and handouts on happiness, well-being, values, etc.

Articles by Dr. Paul David | Clinical handouts on depression, relationships, substance use disorders, family issues, etc.

ASI-MV Worksheets & Handouts | Addiction and recovery handouts

Belmont Wellness: Psychoeducational Handouts, Quizzes, and Group Activities | Printable handouts on assertiveness, emotional wellness, stress management, and more

Black Dog Institute: Clinical Resources | Download fact sheets, handouts, mood trackers, and more on a variety of mental health topics

Brene Brown: Downloads and Guides | Resources for work, parenting, the classroom, and daily life

Bryan Konik | Therapist & Social Worker: Free Therapy Worksheets | A collection of worksheets on stress management, anxiety, relationships, goal setting, and trauma

Cairn Center: Resources | A modest collection of printable assessments, handouts, and worksheets on DBT, anxiety, depression, etc.

Client Worksheets from Treatment for Stimulant Use Disorders (Treatment Improvement Protocols Services) | 44 client worksheets on addiction and recovery

Cornell Health: Fact Sheet Library | A variety of handouts and tracking sheet on various health topics; only a few relate to mental health and addiction

Daniel J. Fox, Ph.D.: Forms, Presentation Slides, and Worksheets | Topics include anger, emotions, borderline personality disorder, etc.

DOWNLOADS from Get Self Help | Free therapy worksheets and handouts on a variety of topics

Dr. Danny Gagnon, Ph.D., Montreal Psychologist: Self-Help Toolkits | Articles and handouts on worry, depression, assertiveness, etc.

EchoHawk Counseling: Materials and Resources | Articles, worksheets, and handouts on a variety of topics (boundaries, emotions, grief, stress, trauma, etc.)

Eddin’s Counseling Group: Worksheets | A short list of free worksheets and handouts

Faith Harper: Worksheets and Printables | A small collection of therapy worksheets and handouts, including a gratitude journal

Forward Ethos: Guide Sheets | Worksheets on mindfulness, anxiety, self-care, intimacy, relationships, and more

Free Stuff for Consumers and Professionals | A short list of downloads (Source: Jonathan S. Abramowitz, Ph.D.)

InFocus Resources | Family handouts on addiction

Lynn Martin | A short list of client handouts, including questionnaires

Mark R. Young, LMSW, LCSW (Resolving Concerns): Links & Forms | Links to factsheets, worksheets, assessments, etc.

Mental Health CE | Course content handouts on a variety of mental health topics

Motivational Interviewing Worksheets

My Group Guide: A Collection of Therapy Resources

Oxford Clinical Psychology: Forms and Worksheets | A large collection of therapy worksheets based on evidence-based practices

Peggy L. Ferguson, Ph.D.: Addiction Recovery Worksheets | A modest collection of handouts/worksheets for addiction and recovery

PsychPoint: Therapy Worksheets

Self-Help Exercises from Gambling Therapy

Self-Help Reading Materials | Links to handouts on self-help topics (Source: Truman State University)

Self-Help Tools from Mental Health America | Links to assessments, worksheets, handouts, and more

Sleep and Depression Laboratory: Resources | A small collection of worksheets related to sleep, worry, and depression

SMART Recovery Toolbox | Addiction and recovery resources

The Stages of Change | A 7-page PDF packet (Source: Virginia Tech Continuing and Professional Education)

Step Preparation Worksheets | (Source: treatmentguide4u.com)

Substance Abuse | A 13-page PDF packet

Taking The Escalator: Therapy Tools | Handouts on addiction and recovery

Therapist Aid | Free therapy worksheets

Therapy Worksheets | A therapy blog with links to free worksheets on various mental health topics

Tools for Coping Series | A large collection of handouts on coping skills

Worksheets from A Recovery Story (Blog) | A small collection of addiction and recovery worksheets

Depression, Stress, & Anxiety

Alphabet of Stress Management and Coping Skills | Coping skills for every letter of the alphabet

Anxiety 101 | An 11-page PDF packet (Source: Michigan Medicine | University of Michigan)

Anxiety Canada: Free Downloadable PDF Resources | Anxiety worksheets for parents and self-help

Behavioral Activation for Depression | A 35-page packet

Coping with Anxiety and Panic Attacks: Some Cognitive Behavioural Self-Help Strategies | A 10-page packet

Creating Your Personal Stress Management Plan | A 10-page packet

Dr. Chloe: Worksheets for Anxiety Management | A small collection of worksheets and handouts

Panic Attack Worksheets (Inner Health Studio) | A 9-page PDF packet

Relaxation | A 15-page packet on relaxation skills for anxiety

Stress Management (Inner Health Studio) | A 5-page packet on stress management

UMASS Medical School Department of Psychiatry: Stress Management – Patient Handouts | A collection of handouts on stress management. Some of the other sections, including “General Health and Wellness” and “Nutrition” have links to handouts as well

Trauma & Related Disorders

Center for Sexual Assault & Traumatic Stress: Therapist Resources | More than just worksheets: client handouts, assessments, info sheets, toolkits, training resources, links, etc.

Child and Family Studies: Sex in the Family | An 8-page packet on shame and guilt in relation to child sexual abuse

Common Reactions to Trauma | A 1-page PDF handout

Detaching From Emotional Pain (Grounding) | A 12-page PDF packet (Source: Sunspire Health)

Grounding Exercises | A 2-page PDF handout

Grounding Techniques | A 1-page PDF handout from JMU Counseling Center

Grounding Techniques | A 2-page PDF handout

Healing Private Wounds Booklets | Religious handouts on healing from sexual abuse

Seeking Safety Resources | Printable worksheets on PTSD, substance abuse, and healthy relationships

Selected Handouts and Worksheets from: Mueser, K. T., Rosenberg, S. D., & Rosenberg, H. J. (2009). Treatment of Postraumatic Stress Disorder in Special Populations: A Cognitive Restructuring Program | A 13-page PDF packet

Trauma Research and Treatment: Trauma Toolkit A small collection of trauma handouts

Traumatic Stress: The Effects of Overwhelming Experience on the Mind and Body | A 12-page PDF packet (Source: Dan Metevier, Psy.D., Clinical Psychologist)

Wisconsin Hawthorn Project: Handouts & Worksheets | Handouts in English and Spanish

Psychosis

CBT for Psychosis & Trauma Handouts

Early Psychosis Intervention: Client Worksheets | Scroll down to the “Client Worksheets” section for links. Use with clients who are experiencing psychosis

Goal-Setting Worksheet for Patients with Schizophrenia | A 3-page PDF

List of 60 Coping Strategies for Hallucinations | A 2-page PDF

Treatment for Schizophrenia Worksheet Pack | A 6-page PDF packet

ACT, CBT, & DBT

ACT Mindfully: Worksheets, Book Chapters & ACT Made Simple | ACT worksheets and other free resources

Cognitive Therapy Skills | A 33-page packet

Carolina Integrative Psychotherapy | A small collection of DBT worksheets and handouts

Clinician Worksheets and Handouts: Clinician Treatment Tools | A variety of CBT, DBT, etc. therapy worksheets

CPT Web Resources | A short list of worksheets and handouts

DBT Peer Connections: DBT Handouts and Worksheets | DBT resources

DBT Self-Help | Printable lessons and diary cards

Dr. John Forsyth: Free Resources | Download two free packets of worksheets (ACT and mindfulness)

Living CBT: Free Self-Help | 20+ CBT worksheets

Lozier & Associates: Dialectical Behavior Therapy Printables – DBT Worksheets and DBT Handouts | A small collection of DBT handouts and worksheets

Printable Versions of CPT/CBT Worksheets | English and Spanish worksheets (Source: The F.A.S.T. Lab at Stanford Medicine)

Veronica Walsh’s CBT Blog: Free Downloadable Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Worksheets/Handouts | Print/use these worksheets only with blog author’s permission

Grief & Loss

Activities for Grieving Children | A 7-page PDF

Bereavement Handouts (Hospice & Palliative Care) | A small collection of handouts

The Center for Complicated Grief: Handouts | Assessments, handouts, and guides

A Child’s Understanding of Death | An 11-page packet

Handouts to Download and Print: One Legacy | Handouts on grief and loss

Loss and Grief Handouts

Loss, Grief, and Bereavement | A 35-page PDF packet

Grief Factsheets: My Grief Assist

Printable Grief and Loss Resources | A fairly extensive collection of printable handouts on grief and loss

Anger

Anger Inventory | A 7-page PDF packet

Anger Management | A 13-page PDF packet

Anger Management Techniques | A 4-page PDF

Dealing with Anger (Inner Health Studio) | A 7-page PDF packet

Free Anger Management Worksheets: Letting Go of Anger | A small collection of worksheets for anger management

Getting to Know Your Anger | A 42-page PDF packet

Love To Know: Free Anger Worksheets | 7 downloadable anger management worksheets

Steps for Change: Anger Management Worksheets

Self-Esteem

Confidence Activities | A 25-page PDF packet

Free Self-Esteem Worksheets

Growing Self-Esteem: Self-Esteem Worksheets

Improving Self-Esteem: Healthy Self-Esteem | A 10-page PDF packet

Self-Esteem Activities | A modest collection of handouts/activities for self-esteem

Self-Esteem Experts: Self-Esteem Activities | Printable handouts on self-esteem

Self-Esteem Printable Worksheets

Spiritual Self-Schema Development Worksheets: Yale School of Medicine

Values & Goal-Setting

10 Free Printable Goal-Setting Worksheets (from Parade)

Core Values and Essential Intentions Worksheet | A 2-page PDF worksheet

Core Values Clarification Exercise | A 4-page PDF worksheet

Core Values Worksheet | A 4-page PDF worksheet

Life Values Inventory | A 5-page printable PDF (Source: Brown, Duane and R. Kelly Crace, (1996). Publisher: Life Values Resources, pinnowedna@charter.net)

Personal Values Card Sort | A 9-page printable PDF (Source: W.R. Miller, J. C’de Baca, and D.B.Matthews, P.L., Wilbourne, University of New Mexico, 2001)

Values | A 2-page PDF worksheet

Values and Goals Worksheet | A 1-page PDF worksheet

Values Assessment Worksheet | A 2-page PDF worksheet

Values Exercise | A 2-page PDF worksheet

Values Identification Worksheet | A 6-page PDF worksheet (Source: Synergy Institute Online)

Values Inventory Worksheet | A 2-page PDF worksheet

What Are My Values? | A 4-page PDF worksheet from stephaniefrank.com

Children & Youth

A Child’s Understanding of Death | An 11-page packet

A Collection of Anger Management/Impulse Control Activities & Lesson Plans (PreK-3rd Grade) | A 64-page PDF packet

Activities for Grieving Children | A 7-page PDF

Cope-Cake: Coping Skills Worksheets and Game | A 30-page packet for young children/students

Crossroads Counseling Center: Resources | Handouts on depression, anxiety, ADHD, etc. in children

Curriculum Materials from Pennsylvania Child Welfare Resource Center | Links to handouts

The Helpful Counselor: 10 Awesome Behavior Management Resources | Worksheets to use with children

Myle Marks: Free Downloads | Worksheets for children

Prevention Dimensions: Lesson Plans | Downloadable PDF handouts for children from kindergarten to sixth grade (Source: Utah Education Network)

Printable Worksheets | Worksheets for children on physical activity, substance abuse, nutrition, and more (Source: BJC School Outreach and Youth Development)

Social Emotional Activities Workbook | A 74-page PDF packet

Social Skills Worksheets | A packet of worksheets to use with children/youth

Stress Reduction Activities for Students | Link to a 20-page packet (PDF)

Adolescents & Young Adults

Change To Chill | Worksheets and handouts for reducing stress in teens and young adults

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

Handouts: Eppler-Wolff Counseling Center (Union College) | Handouts for college students

Healthy Living (Concordia University) | Handouts and articles for college students

Just for Teens: A Personal Plan for Managing Stress | A 7-page PDF handout

Oregon State University: Learning Corner | Student worksheets on time management, wellness, organization skills, etc.

The Relaxation Room (Andrews University) | Self-care and stress management handouts for college students

Resilience Toolkit from Winona State University | PDF handouts for college students on resiliency

Self-Help Resources from Metropolitan Community College Counseling Services | Links to articles for college students on a variety of topics (not in PDF form)

Self-Help (Western Carolina University) | Handouts for college students

Step UP! Program Worksheets and Handouts | Worksheets/handouts for students on prosocial behavior and bystander intervention

Teens Finding Hope: Worksheets and Information to Download | Spanish and English PDFs available

Tip Sheets from Meredith College Counseling Center | Student tip sheets on anger, body image, relationships, and other topics

Tools & Checklists from Campus Mind Works | Handouts and worksheets for students

UC Berkeley University Health Services Resources | Links to handouts, articles, and self-help tools for students

UMatter | Tools for college students on wellness, communication, healthy relationships, and more (Source: Princeton University)

Western Carolina University Counseling and Psychological Services: Self-Help | A modest collection of student wellness handouts along with a printable self-help workbook

Your Life Your Voice (from Boys Town): Tips and Tools | Links to articles and PDF printables on a variety of topics for teens and young adults

Marriage/Relationships & Family

21 Couples Therapy Worksheets, Techniques, & Activities | From Positive Psychology

Articles for Parenting from MomMD | Links to various articles/handouts (not in PDF form)

Drawing Effective Personal Boundaries | A 2-page PDF handout (Source: liveandworkonpurpose.com)

Emotionally Focused Therapy: Forms for Couples | A list of forms to use in EFT couples counseling

Exercises for Forgiveness | A 7-page PDF for recovering from an emotional affair

Healthy Boundaries by Larry L. Winckles | A 3-page PDF handout

Healthy Boundaries Program | A 15-page PDF packet (Source: The University of Toledo Police Department)

Healthy Boundaries vs. Unhealthy Boundaries | A 6-page PDF handout (Source: kimsaeed.com)

Hope Couple: Counseling Resources | Assessments and worksheets from a Christian counseling site

Joy2MeU | A collection of articles by Robert Burney on relationships, codependency, and related topics (not in PDF form)

New Beginnings Family Counseling: Handouts | Click on “Resources” to view and download handouts on relationships, anxiety, and depression. You can also download relationship assessment tools

Pasadena Marriage Counseling: Free Marriage Counseling Resources | A small collection of worksheets for couples therapy

Relationship Counseling Forms | PDF forms for couples therapy (Source: Dan Metevier, Psy.D., Clinical Psychologist)

Signs of Unhealthy Boundaries | A 6-page PDF handout (Source: Healing Private Wounds)

Additional Worksheets & Handouts

8 Helpful “Letting Go of Resentment” Worksheets | Links to PDF worksheets

90-Day Health Challenge | Several health worksheets for download (Source: HealthyCampbell)

Acorns to Oaktrees: Eating Disorder Worksheets/Eating Disorder Forms | A small collection of handouts for eating disorders

Activity eBooks from Rec Therapy Today | A collection of downloadable workbooks on self-esteem, social skills, emotions, etc.

Alzheimer’s Association: Downloadable Resources | Handouts on Alzheimer’s

Attitudes and Behaviour | A 9-page PDF packet on criminal thinking

Commonly Prescribed Psychotropic Medications | A-page PDF (Source: NAMI Minnesota)

Conflict Resolution Skills | A 6-page PDF packet

Coping Skills | A 2-page PDF worksheet (Source: Temple University)

EDA Step Worksheets | From Eating Disorders Anonymous

Experiential Group Exercises for Shame-Resilience | A 4-page PDF packet with questions for discussion and group activities

Free Mindfulness Worksheets (Mindfulness Exercises) | A large collection of mindfulness handouts

Go Your Own Way | Downloads for veterans on various topics

Guilt vs. Shame Infographic: National Institute for the Clinical Application of Behavioral Medicine | Printable infographic to illustrate the differences

Handouts and Worksheets | A 21-page PDF packet with handouts and worksheets on selfe-care topics

Homework and Handouts for Clients: ACT With Compassion | Handouts and worksheets related to self-compassion

Integrated Health and Mental Health Care Tools | Downloadable resources from UIC Center

International OCD Foundation: Assessments & Worksheets | Handouts for use with individuals with OCD

Learning to Forgive: The 5 Steps to Forgiveness | A 6-page PDF handout from Thriveworks

Managing Emotional Intelligence | A 7-page PDF packet (Source: inclusiv.org)

Motivation To Change | A 16-page PDF packet on motivation to change criminal behavior

Peers & Relationships | A 12-page PDF packet on how associates impact criminal behavior

Personal Development: Workplace Strategies for Mental Health | Handouts on resilience, communication, etc.

Prochaska and DiClemente’s Stages of Change Model | A 4-page PDF handout

Quick Reference to Psychotropic Medication | Downloadable PDF chart from John Preston, Psy.D.

Radical Forgiveness: Free Tools | A small collection of worksheets on forgiveness

Reducing Self-Harm | A 5-page PDF

Self-Care and Wellness Resources | Printable handouts and tools (Source: irenegreene.com)

Self-Care Starter Kit from University at Buffalo School of Social Work | Handouts on self-care topics

Self-Directed Recovery | Downloadable resources from UIC Center

Shame Psychoeducation Handout | A 5-page PDF handout

Stages of Change: Primary Tasks | A 2-page PDF handout

Therapy Worksheets: ADHD ReWired | Thought records, behavior charts, and other tools

Understanding and Coping with Guilt and Shame | A 4-page PDF handout

Wellness Toolkits | Printable toolkits from NIH


Please contact me if a link is no longer valid or if you’d like to recommend a site!

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)

Self-Care Strategies When Your Loved One Has an Addiction

Self-care is not a luxury; it’s necessary for survival when your loved one has a substance use disorder. By taking care of yourself, you gain the energy and patience to cope with your problems. Self-care promotes wellness and emotional intelligence; it puts you in a better space to interact with your loved one. Strategies include developing/building resilience, practicing distress tolerance, keeping perspective, and recognizing/managing your triggers.

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

When your loved one has a substance use disorder (SUD), it can be overwhelming, distressing, and all-consuming. When we’re stressed, we forget to practice basic self-care, which in turn makes us even less equipped to cope with the emotional chaos addiction generates.  

In the book Beyond Addiction: A Guide for Families, the authors discuss the importance of self-care. This post reviews suggested strategies. (Side note: I strongly recommend reading Beyond Addiction if your loved one has an SUD or if you work in the field. This book will increase your understanding of addiction and teach you how to cope with and positively impact your loved one’s SUD by using a motivational approach. This is one of the best resources I’ve come across, especially for family members/significant others.)

Image by Pexels from Pixabay

Based on the premise that your actions affect your loved one’s motivation, taking care of yourself is not only modeling healthy behaviors, it’s putting you in a better space to interact with your loved one. Chronic stress and worry make it difficult to practice self-care. Self-care may even seem selfish. However, by taking care of yourself and thus reducing suffering, you gain the energy and patience to cope with your problems (and feel better too). Furthermore, you reduce the level of pain and tension in your relationships with others, including your loved one with a SUD. Self-care strategies include developing/building resilience, practicing distress tolerance, keeping perspective, and recognizing/managing your triggers. Therapy and/or support groups are additional options.

“An empty lantern provides no light. Self-care is the fuel that allows your light to shine brightly.”

Unknown

Resilience

The definition of resilience is “the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties” (Oxford Dictionary). Doctors Foote, Wilkens, and Kosanke wrote that having resilience is a way to “systematically reduce your vulnerability to bad moods, lost tempers, and meltdowns.” While you cannot “mood-proof” yourself entirely, resilience helps when facing life’s challenges, setbacks, and disappointments. To maintain resilience, one must practice at least the most basic self care practices, which are as follows:

  1. Eat well
  2. Sleep well
  3. Exercise enough
  4. Avoid mood-altering drugs (including alcohol)
  5. Treat illness (with prescribed medications, adequate rest, etc.)
Image by Irina L from Pixabay

Self-care is not something you can push in to the future. Don’t wait until you have more time or fewer obligations. Self-care is not a luxury; it’s a necessity. The authors of Beyond Addiction pointed out that self-care is something you have control over when other parts of your life are out of control. If you find it challenging to implement self-care practices, tap into your motivations, problem-solve, get support, and most of all, be patient and kind with yourself.

“Taking care of yourself is the most powerful way to begin to take care of others.”

Bryant McGill

Distress Tolerance

On tolerance, Doctors Foote, Wilkens, and Kosanke suggested that it is “acceptance over time, and it is a cornerstone of self-care.” Tolerance is not an inherent characteristic; it is a skill. And like most skills, it requires practice. However, it’s wholly worth the effort as it reduces suffering. By not tolerating the things you cannot change (such as a loved one’s SUD), you’re fighting reality and adding to the anguish.

Techniques for distress tolerance include distracting yourself, relaxing, self-soothing, taking a break, and creating positive experiences. (The following skills are also taught in dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), an evidence-based practice that combines cognitive behavioral therapy techniques and mindfulness. For additional resources, visit The Linehan Institute or Behavioral Tech.)    

Distract Yourself

  1. Switch the focus of your thoughts. The possibilities are endless; for you, this could mean reading a magazine, calling a friend, walking the dog, etc. The authors of Beyond Addiction suggested making a list of ideas for changing your thoughts (and keeping it handy).
  2. Switch the focus of your emotions. Steer your emotions in a happier direction by watching corgi puppies on YouTube, reading an inspirational poem, or viewing funny Facebook memes. The writers of Beyond Addiction suggested bookmarking sites in your Internet browser that you know will cheer you up.
  3. Switch the focus of your senses. This could mean taking a hot shower, jumping into a cold pool, holding an ice cube in your hand, walking from a dark room to one that’s brightly lit, looking at bright colors, listening to loud rock music, etc. Also, simply walking away from a distressing situation may help.
  4. Do something generous. Donate to your favorite charity, pass out sandwiches to the homeless, visit a nursing home and spend time with the residents, express genuine thanks to cashier or server, etc. By redirecting attention away from yourself (and directing energy toward positive goals), you’ll feel better. In Beyond Addiction, it’s noted that this skill is especially helpful for individuals who tend to ruminate. Also, it’s important to brainstorm activities that are accessible in the moment (i.e. texting a friend to let them know you’re thinking about them) that don’t take multiple steps (such as volunteering).
Image by congerdesign from Pixabay

Relax

“Body tells mind tells body…” Relaxing your body helps to relax your mind. It also focuses your thoughts on relaxing (instead of your loved one’s addiction). What helps you to relax? Yoga? A hot bath? Mindful meditation? (I recommend doing a mindful body scan; it’s simple and effective, even for the tensest of the tense, i.e. me.)

Soothe Yourself

In Beyond Addiction, self-soothing is described as “making a gentle, comforting appeal to any of your five senses.” A hot beverage. Nature sounds. A cozy blanket. A scenic painting. Essential oils. A cool breeze. A warm compress. A massage. Your favorite song. Find what works for you, make a list, and utilize as needed. Seemingly small techniques can make a big difference in your life by creating comfort and reducing out-of-control emotions.

Take A Break

“Taking a break” doesn’t mean giving up; it’s a timeout for when you’re emotionally exhausted. Learn to recognize when you need to step away from a situation or from your own thoughts. Find a way to shift your focus to something pleasant (i.e. a romantic movie, a nature walk, a day trip to the beach, playing golf for a few hours, traveling to a different country, etc.)

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

Create a Positive Experience

Doctors Foote, Wilkens, and Kosanke refer to this as “making it better,” not in the sense that you’re fixing the problem (or your loved one), but that you’re making the moment better by transforming a negative moment into a positive one. Suggested techniques include the following:

  1. Half-smile. Another mind-body technique, half-smiling tricks your brain into feeling happier.
  2. Meditate or pray. As explained in Beyond Addiction, “meditation or pray is another word for – and effective channel to – awareness and acceptance. Either one can open doors to different states of mind and act as an emotional or spiritual salve in trying moments.”
  3. Move. By moving, you’re shifting your focus and releasing energy. Stretch, run, play volleyball, chop wood, move furniture, etc.
  4. Find meaning. The authors of Beyond Addiction wrote, “Suffering can make people more compassionate toward others. Having lived through pain, sometimes people are better able to appreciate moments of peace and joy.” Suffering can also inspire meaningful action. What can you do to find meaning?
  5. Borrow some perspective. How do your problems look from a different viewpoint? Ask a trusted friend. You may find that your perspective is causing more harm than good.

Perspective

Perspective is “an understanding of a situation and your reactions to it that allows you to step back and keep your options open… [it’s] seeing patterns, options, and a path forward” (Beyond Addiction).

When Trish married Dave nearly 20 years ago, he rarely drank: maybe an occasional beer over the weekend or a glass of wine at dinner. After their fist daughter was born, his drinking increased to a few beers most nights. Dave said it helped him relax and manage the stress of being a new parent. By the time their second daughter was born several years later, his drinking had progressed to a six-pack of beer every evening (and more on weekends). Currently, Dave drinks at least a 12-pack of beer on weeknights; if it’s the weekend, his drinking starts Friday after work and doesn’t stop until late Sunday night.

Dave no longer helps Trish with household chores or yardwork as he did early in their marriage. He rarely dines with the family and won’t assist with the cooking/cleanup; he typically eats in front of the TV. Dave occasionally engages with his daughters, but Trish can’t recall the last time they went on a family outing, and it’s been years since they went on a date. Dave struggles to get out of bed in the mornings and is frequently late to work; Trish is worried he’ll get fired. They frequently argue about this. Dave is irritable much of the time, or angry. Most nights, he doesn’t move from his armchair (except to get another beer) until he passes out with the television blaring.

Trish is frustrated; she believes Dave is lazy and lacks self-control. When she nags about his drinking, he promises he’ll cut back, but never follows through. Trish thinks he’s not trying hard enough. She can’t understand why he’d choose booze over her and the kids; sometimes she wonders if it’s because she’s not good enough… maybe he would stop if she was thinner or funnier or more interesting?  At times she feels helpless and hopeless and others, mad and resentful; she frequently yells at Dave. She wonders if things are ever going to change.  

Image by Luis Wilker Perelo WilkerNet from Pixabay

A different perspective would be to recognize that Dave has an alcohol use disorder. He feels ill most of the time, which affects his mood, energy level, and motivation. He wants to cut back, but fails when he tries, which leads to guilt and shame. To feel better, he drinks. It’s a self-destructive cycle. If Trish understood this, she could learn to not take his drinking personally or question herself. Her current reactions, nagging and yelling, only increase defensiveness and harm Dave’s sense of self-worth. Alternative options for Trish might include learning more about addiction and the reasons Dave drinks, bolstering his confidence, and/or creating a supportive and loving environment to enhance motivation.

Triggers

In recovery language, a “trigger” is anything (person, place, or thing) that prompts a person with SUD to drink or use; it activates certain parts of the brain associated with use. For instance, seeing a commercial for beer could be triggering for a person with an alcohol use disorder.

You have triggers too. For example, if your loved one is in recovery for heroin, and you notice that a bottle of opioid painkillers is missing from the medicine cabinet, it could trigger a flood of emotions: fear, that your loved one relapsed; sadness, when you remember the agony addiction brings; hopelessness, that they’ll never recover. It’s crucial to recognize what triggers you and have a plan to cope when it happens.

Therapy and Support Groups

Lastly, therapy and/or support groups can be a valuable addition to your self-care regime. Seeing a therapist can strengthen your resilience and distress tolerance skills. Therapy may provide an additional avenue for perspective. (Side note: A good therapist is supportive and will provide you with tools for effective problem-solving and communication, coping with grief and loss, building self-esteem, making difficult choices, managing stress, overcoming obstacles, improving social skills/emotional intelligence, and better understanding yourself. A good therapist empowers you. A bad therapist, on the other hand, will offer advice and/or tell you what to do, disempowering you.)

Image by HannahJoe7 from Pixabay

Regarding support groups, there are many options for family members, friends, and significant others with a loved one who has a SUD, including Al-Anon, Nar-Anon, and Families Anonymous. Support groups provide the opportunity to share in a safe space and to receive feedback, suggestions, and/or encouragement from others who relate.


“I have come to believe that caring for myself is not self indulgent. Caring for myself is an act of survival.”

Audre Lorde

In sum, self-care is not optional; it’s essential for surviving the addiction of a loved one. Self-care enhances both overall wellness and your ability to help your loved one; in order words, take responsibility for your health and happiness by taking care of yourself.

For more information on how you can help your loved one, visit The Center for Motivation and Change.

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!

Helping Vs. Enabling: How to Tell the Difference

If you’re unfamiliar with the term “enable,” it means “to provide with the means or opportunity.” When applied to substance use, it means a person in active addiction is provided with the means to continue to use. With substance use disorders, how can you know the difference between helping and enabling? This post explains how to tell the difference and provides 7 tips for helping a loved one who struggles with addiction.

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

With substance use disorders, how can you know the difference between helping and enabling? I’ve worked with family members who inadvertently fueled their loved one’s addiction. They “helped” by bailing them out of jail, giving them money, etc., which only permitted the individual to continue to get high. It’s hard for family members to differentiate between behaviors that help versus enable.

If you’re unfamiliar with the term “enable,” it means “to provide with the means or opportunity” or “to make possible, practical, or easy” (according to Merriam-Webster). When applied to substance use, it means a person in active addiction is provided with the means to continue to use.

When I worked at a substance use treatment center, I taught families and loved ones that helping a person in active addiction means supporting their basic needs, such as food, water, shelter, and clothing. (If someone is in jail or treatment, their basic needs are met; therefore, bailing them out would be enabling.) Thinking in terms of “needs vs. wants” helps you to recognize enabling.

Recently, I answered a woman’s question on Quora about how to distance herself from her heroin-addicted daughter. The following paragraph is from my response:

Distancing yourself (or setting a boundary) with your daughter will be difficult because you want to help. In the past, by “helping” her, you’ve enabled her addiction (which hurts her in the long run) and leaves you emotionally depleted. There’s a very fine line between helping and enabling; it’s not clear-cut. (Plus, it can be counterintuitive for a parent whose job has always been to protect your child.)

When a parent has a son or daughter who struggles with addiction, it’s especially difficult to make the distinction between helping and enabling. A parent’s natural inclination is to nurture and protect from harm. It’s heart-wrenching to see your child in pain. But if a parent doesn’t set (and adhere to) healthy boundaries, they will quickly become emotionally drained (as they enable their child’s addiction).

Here are some suggestions for helping (instead of enabling) a loved one who’s actively using:

  1. Never (ever) offer money.

If asked for cash for food, for example, buy groceries instead (or offer to take them to lunch). I worked with a father who bought a bag of groceries for his son, who struggled with severe alcoholism and was homeless, on a weekly basis. This is an excellent example of helping a loved one versus enabling their addiction.

  1. If asked for help paying bills, say no. 

If your loved one doesn’t have to pay the electric bill, they’ll spend the money on drugs or alcohol. Furthermore, if you protect them from the consequences of not paying bills (i.e. having the power shut off), your loved one is less likely to see a need for change. (People don’t change when they’re comfortable.)

  1. If your loved one is addicted to opioids (heroin, morphine, hydrocodone, etc.), attend a training or take an online course on opioid overdose reversal (Narcan [naloxone] administration).

If you’re unsure where local trainings are offered, a Google search for “Narcan training” or “opioid reversal training” will link you to resources in your area. Most trainings are free. Keep a Narcan kit on your person at all times. Provide your loved one with a kit (or two) as well. This is not enabling. This is potentially saving a life and offering an opportunity for recovery. (A dead opioid-user will never recover.)

  1. Offer to help them get into treatment.

Become familiar with the different treatment options in your area. Don’t give ultimatums (i.e. “If you don’t get treatment, I’ll divorce you”) or make threats (especially if you’re not willing to follow through). Be supportive, not judgmental. Be patient; when your loved one is emotionally and physically drained from addiction’s painful consequences (or when they hit “rock bottom”), they may decide it’s time to get help. And you’ll be ready.

  1. Recognize that your loved one is not the same person they were before addiction.

Substance use disorder is a debilitating disease that damages the brain; it changes how a person feels and thinks. With addiction, the brain’s reward center is rewired, resulting in a biological “need” for drugs/alcohol. (Compare this to your need for food or water or air.) Your loved one’s addiction will lie to you; they will do whatever it takes to get their “needs” met. Your loved one’s addiction will steal from you. (Lock up your valuables if they have access to your home… and even if they don’t. I’ve worked with more than a few individuals who have broken into their parents’ home for either money for drugs or valuables to pawn for money for drugs.) Your loved one’s addiction will betray you. Accepting the nature of addiction allows you to set healthy boundaries.

  1. Attend Al-Anon or Nar-Anon meetings.

By engaging with others with similar struggles, you’ll learn more about supporting your loved one (without enabling their addiction). You’ll also build a supportive network by connecting with others, strengthening your emotional health.

  1. When in doubt, try asking yourself one (or all) of the following questions:

Will my actions allow my loved one to continue to drink or use? Is this a “want” versus a basic need? Will my actions prevent them from experiencing a natural consequence? If the answer is yes, it’s probably enabling.

Addiction is a devastating, but treatable, disease. The road to recovery is difficult and long (with many detours). If your loved one has a substance use disorder, be kind and compassionate; they’re in an unthinkable amount of pain. They didn’t choose addiction. The best way to support them is by setting healthy boundaries to ensure you’re not enabling continued use. Boundaries allow you to help them without furthering their addiction. Boundaries also serve as protection for you and your emotional health; you’re in no position to help if you’re emotionally, financially, and spiritually depleted.


Please share in a comment your suggestions for helping a loved one who is struggling with addiction.

Where Can I Find Help?

Where can you find the help you need? While there are plenty of resources out there for mental health and recovery, they’re not always easy to find… or affordable. (Plus, the Internet is full of scams!) This article is a starting point for getting help when you aren’t sure where to turn. This post offers practical guidelines; all of the resources in this article are trustworthy and reliable… and will point you in the right direction.

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

This post is not comprehensive; rather, it’s a starting point for getting the help you need. There are plenty of resources out there for mental health and recovery, but they’re not always easy to find (or affordable). The resources in this post are trustworthy and reliable… and will point you in the right direction.

If you need treatment for mental health or substance use, but aren’t sure how to find it…

If you have insurance, check your insurer’s website.

For substance use and mental health disorders, you can access the SAMHSA treatment locator. You can find buprenorphine treatment (medication-assisted treatment for opioid addiction) through SAMHSA as well.

Consider using Mental Health America’s interactive tool, Where to Get Help. NeedyMeds.org also has a locator to help you find low-cost mental health and substance abuse clinics.

Additionally, you could contact your local Mental Health America Affiliate for advice and/or referrals.

If you can’t afford therapy…

EAP (employee assistance programs) frequently offer free (time-limited) counseling sessions.

At campus counseling centers, grad students sometimes offer free or low-cost services.

You could look into community mental health centers or local churches (pastoral counseling).

In some areas, you may be able to find pro bono counseling services. (Google “pro bono counseling” or “free therapy.”) You may also be able to connect with a peer specialist or counselor (for free) instead of seeing a licensed therapist.

As an alternative to individual counseling, you could attend a support group (self-help) or therapy group; check hospitals, churches, and community centers. The DBSA peer-lead support group locator tool will help you find local support groups. Meetup.com may also have support group options.

Additional alternatives: Consider online forums or communities. Watch or read self-help materials. Buy a workbook (such as The Cognitive Behavioral Workbook for Depression: A Step-By-Step Program) from amazon.com. Download a therapy app.

Lastly, you could attend a free workshop or class at a local church, the library, a college or university, a community agency, or a hospital.

If you’re under 18 and need help, but your parents won’t let you see a counselor (or “don’t believe in therapy”)…

Some, but not all, states require parental consent for adolescents to participate in therapy. Start by looking up the laws in your state. You may be able to see a treatment provider without consent from a legal guardian. If your state is one that mandates consent, consider scheduling an appointment with your school counselor. In many schools, school counseling is considered a regular educational service and does not require parental consent.

Self-help groups, while not a substitute for mental health treatment, provide a venue for sharing your problems in a supportive environment. (If you suffer from a mental health condition, use NAMI to locate a support group in your state. If you struggle with addiction, consider AA or NA.)

Alternatively, you could join an online forum or group. (Mental Health America offers an online community with over 1 million users and NAMI offers OK2Talk, an online community for adolescents and young adults.)

You could also contact a Mental Health America Affiliate who would be able to tell you about local resources and additional options.

If you’re in crisis, call the Boys Town Hotline at 1-800-448-3000 or the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK. Alternatively, you can text HOME to 741741 to text with a trained crisis counselor.

Lastly, consider talking with your pastor or a trusted teacher, reading self-help materials, downloading a therapy app, journaling, meditation or relaxation techniques, exercising, or therapy podcasts/videos.

If a loved one or friend says they’re going to kill themselves, but refuses help…

Call 911. If you’re with that person, stay with them until help arrives.

If you are thinking about or planning suicide…

Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline or Veterans Crisis Line. Alternatively, you can text HOME to 741741 to text with a trained crisis counselor. Call 911 if you think you might act. 

If you are grieving…

Check local hospitals and churches for grief support groups; some areas may have nonprofits that offer free services, such as Let Haven Help or Community Grief and Loss Center in Northern Virginia.

Additionally, a funeral home or hospice center may be able to provide resources.

If you are a veteran, you and your family should be able to access free counseling through the VA.

The Compassionate Friends offers support after the loss of a child. Call for a customized package of bereavement materials (at no charge) or find a support group (in-person or online).

GRASP is a grief and recovery support network for those who have lost a loved one through substance use. You can find suicide support groups using the American Association of Suicidology’s directory or the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s support group locator.

Hello Grief provides resources and education for children and adolescents who are grieving.

There are also online communities, forums, and support groups, including groups for suicide survivors such as Alliance of Hope and Parents of Suicides – Friends and Families of Suicides.

If you are a victim of sexual assault or domestic violence…

If you are sexually assaulted, call 911 or the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-4673 (or live chat). Find help and resources at National Sexual Violence Resource Center.

For male survivors of sexual abuse: MaleSurvivors.org

For domestic violence: The National Domestic Violence Hotline

For gender-based violence: VAWnet

For teen dating abuse: LoveIsRespect or Break The Cycle

LGBTQ: National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs for LGBT Communities

If you’re a victim of sex trafficking…

Access Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking or call National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888 (or text 233733).

 

If you’re a victim of or stalking…

If you believe you are in immediate danger, call 911. Find help and info at Stalking Resource Center and Stalking Awareness Month.

 

If you can’t stop gambling…

Call or text the National Problem Gambling Helpline at 1-800-522-4700. Access screening tools and treatment at National Council on Problem Gambling. Attend a Gamblers Anonymous Group or other support group for problem gambling.

If you or a loved one has an eating disorder…

If you want to approach a loved one about his or her eating disorder, start by reading some guidelines (such as Helping Someone with an Eating Disorder from HelpGuide.org).

Contact the National Eating Disorders Helpline at 1-800-931-2237. (Alternatively, there’s a “live chat” option.) For support, resources, screening tools, and treatment options, explore the National Eating Disorder Association site.

Find support groups, recovery tools, and local treatment centers at Eating Disorder Hope.

Attend an Eating Disorders Anonymous meeting (in-person or online). You may also want to consider an Overeaters Anonymous meeting.

 

If you are engaging in self-harm and can’t stop…

Call 1-800-DONT-CUT or attend an online support group, such as Self Mutilators Anonymous.

Read personal stories, learn coping skills, and access resources at Self-injury Outreach and Support.

Join an online community like RecoverYourLife.com.

Try one of these 146 things to do instead of engaging in self-harm from the Adolescent Self Injury Foundation.

 

If you’re concerned about the drinking or drug use of a friend or family member, but they don’t want help…

If you’re considering staging an intervention, know that there’s little to no evidence to support the effectiveness of this tactic. 

Instead, read guidelines for approaching the issue (like What to Do If Your Adult Friend or Loved One Has a Problem with Drugs or How to Talk about Addiction). Learn everything that you can about addiction. Explore treatment centers in the area; if your loved one changes their mind, you’ll be prepared to help.

Explore Learn to Cope, a peer-led support network for families coping with the addiction of a loved one. Alternatively, you could attend Al-Anon or Nar-Anon.

Keep in mind that it’s almost impossible to help someone who doesn’t want it. You can’t control your loved one or force them into treatment. Instead, find a way to accept that there’s no logic to addiction; it’s a complex brain disorder and no amount of pleading, arguing, or “guilting” will change that.

If a friend or family member overdoses on heroin or other opioid…

Call 911 immediately.

How to recognize the signs of opiate overdose: Recognizing Opiate Overdose from Harm Reduction Coalition

You can receive free training to administer naloxone, which reverses an opioid overdose. Take an online training course at Get Naloxone Now. You can purchase naloxone OTC in most states at CVS or Walgreens.

For more information about how to respond to an opioid overdose, access SAMHSA’s Opioid Overdose Prevention Toolkit (for free).

 

If you want to quit smoking…

In addition to talking to your doctor about medication, the patch, and/or nicotine gum, visit Smoke FreeBe Tobacco Free, or Quit.com for resources, tools, and tips.

Call a smoking cessation hotline (like 1-800-QUIT-NOW) or live chat with a specialist, such as LiveHelp (National Cancer Institute).

Download a free app (like QuitNow! or Smoke Free) or sign up for a free texting program, like SmokefreeTXT, for extra support.

Attend an online workshop or participate in a smoking cessation course; your insurance provider may offer one or you may find classes at a local hospital or community center. You could also contact your EAP for additional resources.

If you or a loved one have a hoarding problem…

Read guidelines for approaching a hoarding issue with someone such as Hoarding: How to Help a Friend.

Learn more about hoarding and find help (support groups, treatment, etc.) at Hoarding: Help for Hoarding.

 

If your therapist is making unwanted sexual remarks/advances…

Contact the licensing board to file a complaint. Each state has a different licensing board. Additionally, contact the therapist’s professional association (i.e. American Counseling AssociationAmerican Psychological Association, etc.) Provide your name, address, and telephone number (unless filing anonymously). Identify the practitioner you are reporting by his or her full name and license type. Provide a detailed summary of your concerns. Attach copies (not originals) of documents relating to your concerns, if applicable.

Read NAMI’s How Do I File a Complaint against a Mental Health Care Facility or Professional?

 

If you want to take a confidential online assessment for mental health or substance use disorders…

Free and anonymous screenings: Screening for Mental Health, Inc. or Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance Mental Health Screening

For additional sites, self-help guides, literature, etc., check out the resource page.

If you know of a great resource, post in the comments below!