78 Professional Membership Organizations for Mental Health Workers

A list of membership associations for mental health counselors, psychotherapists, social workers, psychologists, psychiatrists, specialists, etc., including ACA/APA divisions and international organizations

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This is a list of 78+ professional membership organizations for mental health clinicians and specialists. It includes the divisions of the American Counseling Association (ACA) and the American Psychological Association (APA).

For additional resources for mental health professionals on this site, see Must-Read Books for Therapists and Resources for Mental Health Professionals.


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Professional Membership Organizations for Mental Health Professionals

National (United States)

  1. American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry
  2. American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry
  3. American Academy of Clinical Psychology
  4. American Academy of Forensic Psychology
  5. American Academy of Psychodynamic Psychiatry and Psychoanalysis
  6. American Art Therapy Association
  7. American Association for Community Psychiatry
  8. American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy
  9. American Association of Christian Counselors
  10. American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists
  11. American Association of Suicidology
  12. American Board of Forensic Psychology
  13. American Board of Professional Psychology
  14. American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology
  15. American Clinical Social Work Association
  16. American Counseling Association
  17. American Dance Therapy Association
  18. American Group Psychotherapy Association
  19. American Institute of Stress (AIS)
  20. American Mental Health Counselors Association
  21. American Music Therapy Association
  22. American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children
  23. American Psychiatric Association
  24. American Psychoanalytical Association
  25. American Psychological Association
  26. American School Counselor Association
  27. American Society of Addiction Medicine
  28. American Society of Clinical Hypnosis
  29. American Society of Clinical Psychopharmacology
  30. American Society of Group Psychotherapy and Psychodrama
  31. American Sociological Association
  32. Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies
  33. Association for Comprehensive Energy Psychology
  34. Association for Contextual Behavioral Science
  35. Association for Death Education and Counseling
  36. Association for Family Therapy and Systemic Practice
  37. Association for Play Therapy
  38. Association for Psychological Science
  39. Association for Transpersonal Psychology
  40. Association for Women in Psychology
  41. Association of Black Psychologists
  42. Association of Humanistic Psychology
  43. B.F. Skinner Foundation
  44. Christian Association for Psychological Studies
  45. Cognitive Neuroscience Society
  46. Cognitive Science Society
  47. Comparative Cognition Society
  48. Experimental Psychology Society
  49. Federation of Associations in Behavioral & Brain Sciences
  50. Group for the Advancement of Psychiatry
  51. National Association for Addiction Professionals
  52. National Association for Children’s Behavioral Health
  53. National Association for Poetry Therapy
  54. National Psychological Association for Psychoanalysis
  55. National Association for Rural Mental Health
  56. National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers
  57. National Association of Christian Counselors
  58. National Association of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapists
  59. National Association of Forensic Social Work
  60. National Association of Social Workers
  61. National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors
  62. National Board for Certified Counselors
  63. National Council on Family Relations
  64. National Education Association
  65. National Hypnotherapy Society
  66. National Latinx Psychological Association
  67. North American Drama Therapy Association
  68. North American Society of Adlerian Psychology
  69. North American Society for the Psychology of Sport and Physical Activity
  70. Professional Association of Christian Counselors and Psychotherapists
  71. Psychometric Society
  72. Society for Neuroscience
  73. Society for Personality Assessment
  74. Society for Police and Criminal Psychology
  75. Society for the Improvement of Psychological Science
  76. Society of Experimental Psychologists
  77. Society of Experimental Social Psychology
  78. Society of Multivariate Experimental Psychology
American Counseling Association (ACA) Divisions
American Psychological Association (APA) Divisions

Canada

UK & Ireland

Australia & New Zealand

European Organizations

International Organizations & Associations


100+ Resources for Suicide Prevention & Recovery

A resource list with links to useful sites, free assessment tools, low-cost trainings, printable PDF toolkits/guides, and more

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This is a resource guide for suicide prevention and recovery. There are links to educational sites, assessment/screening tools, trainings courses, recommended books, online support communities, mobile apps, and more.


Suicide Prevention & Recovery: 100+ Resources for Mental Health Professionals & Consumers

Education & Advocacy Sites

At-Risk Youth

Assessment & Screening for Suicide Prevention

Low-Cost & Free Trainings

Toolkits & Guides

6 Recommended Books

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

Dying to Be Free: A Healing Guide for Families After a Suicide by Beverly Cobain & Jean Larch

I Wasn’t Ready to Say Goodbye: Surviving, Coping and Healing After the Sudden Death of a Loved One by Brook Noel & Pamela D. Blair, Ph.D.

No Time For Goodbyes: Coping with Sorrow, Anger, and Injustice After a Tragic Death, 7th Edition by Janice Harris Lord

Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

When Bad Things Happen to Good People by Harold S. Kushner

Suicide Survivors

Image by Roman Hörtner from Pixabay

13 Crisis & Chat Lines for Suicide Prevention

  1. Befrienders Worldwide | Find a helpline by country
  2. Boys Town National Hotline | 1-800-448-3000 or text 20121
  3. Crisis Services Canada: Suicide Prevention & Support | 1-833-456-4566 or text 45645
  4. Crisis Text Line | 741741 (Find local chapters here)
  5. TheHopeLine | Chat with a HopeCoach (not available 24/7)
  6. International Suicide Prevention Wiki | Worldwide directory of suicide prevention hotlines  
  7. LGBT National Online Peer-Support CHAT
  8. Nacional de Prevención del Suicidio | 1-888-628-9454
  9. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline | 1-800-273-8255
  10. Remedy Live Chat | Chat with a “soulmedic”
  11. Trans Lifeline | 1-877-565-8860
  12. Trevor Lifeline | 1-866-488-7386
  13. Veterans Crisis Line | 1-800-273-8255 (Press 1) or text 838255

Online Support

7 Mobile Apps

  1. Be Safe
  2. BeyondNow Suicide Safety Plan
  3. TheHopeLine
  4. MY3 | Free safety planning app
  5. Samaritans Self-Help
  6. Suicide Safe by SAMHSA
  7. The Virtual Hope Box

75 Must-Read Books for Therapists

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This is a recommended list of 75+ “must-read” books for therapists and other mental health professionals.

The first section includes recommendations for both professionals and consumers. The next section includes suggested workbooks for therapy and/or self-help. The “Textbooks” section is comprised of required reading that I found valuable as a counseling grad student. In the “PracticePlanners Series” section, I included the planners I’ve relied on the most. The last section includes additional reads that have been helpful to me in both my professional and personal life.

For additional books and tools for therapists, see Resources for Mental Health Professionals and Group Therapy Resource Guide.


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


Must-Read Books for You & Your Clients


Workbooks


Textbooks


PracticePlanners Series


Additional Reading


Group Therapy: A Comprehensive Resource Guide

A resource guide for group facilitation

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Initially, the idea of group therapy terrified me. What if I couldn’t “control” the group? What if a client challenged me? What if I couldn’t think of anything to say? What if everyone got up and walked out? – which actually happened, once, by the way.

What made group counseling especially intimidating was that if I “messed up,” an entire group of people [as opposed to one person] would witness my failure.

Group facilitation wasn’t always comfortable and I made many (many!) mistakes, but I grew. I realized it’s okay to be counselor and human; at times, humans say dumb stuff, hurt each other’s feelings, and don’t know the answer.

By letting go of the need to be perfect, I became more effective. Group facilitation is now one of my favorite parts of the job.


This resource guide provides practical information and tools for group therapy for mental health practitioners.

Image by StockSnap from Pixabay

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Group Therapy Guidelines

Group therapy is an evidence-based treatment for substance use and mental disorders. An effective group calls for a skilled clinician to meet treatment standards. Professional associations, such as the American Group Psychotherapy Association, develop best practice guidelines based on scientific data and clinical research.

Want to learn more about current best practice in group work?

Association for Specialists in Group Work: Best Practice Guidelines 2007 Revisions

American Group Psychotherapy Association

Are you a therapist, social worker, or peer support specialist who provides group counseling services?

Additionally, SAMHSA promotes research-based protocols and has published several group therapy guides for best practice, including TIP 41: Substance Abuse Treatment: Group Therapy, Substance Abuse Treatment: Group Therapy – Quick Guide for Clinicians, and Substance Abuse Treatment: Group Therapy Inservice Training (a training manual), in addition to group workbooks/facilitator guides for anger management, stimulant use disorder, and serious mental illness.


Book Recommendations

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

The book itself is small in size but packed with helpful information and creative ideas. As a new counselor lacking in clinical skills, I supplemented with activities to engage the clients. Group Exercises for Addiction Counseling never failed me.


A more recent discovery of mine. This guide provides detailed instructions accompanied by thought-provoking discussion questions for each intervention. I was impressed with both the quality and originality; an instant upgrade to “house-tree-person.”

Textbooks

AuthorTitleYear Published
Corey, M, Corey, G., & Corey, C.Groups: Process and Practice
2018
Yalom, I., & Leszcz, M.The Theory and Practice of Group Psychotherapy2015

(For additional book recommendations, see Resources for Mental Health Professionals and Must-Read Books for Therapists.)

Icebreakers & Activities

You only have to Google “icebreakers” and you’ll have a million activities to choose from. I’m not listing many, but they’re ones clients seem to enjoy the most.


Fun Facts

My favorite icebreaker activity involves passing out blank slips of paper to each group member and instructing them to write a “fun fact” about themselves, something no one else in the group would know. I provide them with examples (i.e. “I once had a pet lamb named Bluebell” or “I won a hotdog eating contest when I was 11 and then threw up all over the judges’ shoes”).

Depending on the crowd, you may want to tell clients not to write anything they wouldn’t want their peers to know. (I adopted this guideline after a client wrote about “sharting” himself.) Once everyone has written something, have them fold their papers and place in a container of some sort (a gift box, paper bag, plastic bowl, etc.) Group members take turns passing around the container (one-at-a-time) and picking a slip to read aloud. They must then guess who wrote it. (I give three guesses; after that, I turn it over to the group.)


Icebreaker Question Cards

A similar but more structured activity is to write out questions ahead of time and have clients take turns drawing and answering the questions. Questions can be silly, thought-provoking, or intending to illicit a strong emotional response (depending on the audience and goals for the group).


People Search

“People Search” involves a list of traits, feats, talents, or experiences. Each client receives the list and is given x amount of time to find someone in the group who is a match; that individual will then sign off. The first person to have their list completely signed sits down; they win. I typically let clients continue to collect signatures until two additional people sit down.

(Prizes optional, but always appreciated.) During the debriefing, it’s fun to learn more (and thereby increase understanding and compassion).


First Impressions

“First Impressions” works best with group members who don’t know each other well. It’s important for group members to know each other’s names (or wear name tags). Each group member has a sheet of paper with various “impressions” (i.e. judgments/stereotypes). For example, items on the list might be “Looks like an addict” and “Looks intelligent.” Clients write other group members’ names for each impression. In addition to enhancing a sense of community, this activity provides an avenue for discussing harmful stereotypes and stigma.


Affirmations Group

Affirmations groups can be powerful, generating unity and kindness. The effect seems to be more pronounced in gender-specific groups. There are a variety of ways to facilitate an affirmations group, ranging from each person providing an affirmation to the client on their right to individuals sharing a self-affirmation with the group to creating a self-affirmation painting. Another idea is to give each client a sheet of paper. (Consider using quality, brightly-colored paper/posterboard and providing markers, gel pens, etc.) Clients write their name on it and then all the papers are passed around so each group member has the opportunity to write on everyone else’s sheet. Once their original paper is returned to them, they can read and share with the group. This can lead to a powerful discussion about image, reputation, feeling fake, etc. (Plus, clients get to keep the papers!)


Most Likely & Least Likely to Relapse

“Most Likely to Relapse/Least Likely to Relapse” works best with a well-formed group and may require extra staff support. It’s good for larger groups and can be highly effective in a therapeutic community. Clients receive blank pieces of paper and are tasked to write the names of who they think is most likely and least likely to relapse. After writing their own name on the sheet, they turn it in to staff (effectively allowing staff to maintain a safe and productive environment). Staff then read each sheet aloud (without naming who wrote it). If they choose, clients can share what they wrote and provide additional feedback. (Most do.) Clients selected as “most likely” (in either category) have the opportunity to process with other group members and staff.


Access more group therapy worksheets and handouts here.

Additional Group Activities

Psychoeducation & Process Groups

In need of fresh material? It can be easy to fall into a rut, especially if you’re burnout or working with a particularly challenging group. The following three PDF downloads are lists of ideas for group topics.

Additional Ideas for Psychoeducation & Process Groups

Practical Tips for Psychoeducation & Process Groups

As a group facilitator, consider incorporating some sort of experiential activity, quiz, handout, game, etc. into every session. For example, start with a check-in, review a handout, facilitate a discussion, take a 5-minute bathroom break, facilitate a role-play, and then close the group by summarizing and providing clients with the opportunity to share what they learned.

If an experiential or interactive exercise isn’t feasible, provide coffee or snacks; sitting for 45 minutes is difficult for some, and 90 minutes can be unbearable.

Another idea is to have a “fun” or “free” group in the curriculum. Ideas include going bowling, having a potluck, Starbucks run, game group (i.e. Catchphrase, Pictionary, etc.), escape room, nature walk, etc.

Dealing with Challenges

Clients are not always willing therapy participants; some are court-ordered to attend or there to have privileges restored. Some attendees may be there “voluntarily,” but only to save their marriage or keep a job, not believing they need help. In residential treatment, clients attend mandatory groups as part of the daily schedule — participate or you’re out.

Even when attendance is truly voluntary, a group member may be in a bad space. Maybe they’re stressed about the rent or just got into a fight with their significant other. Or what if the AC is broken and the group room is 80 degrees? What if a client has unpleasant body odor or bad breath or an annoying cough?

Multiple factors combine and it’s suddenly a sh**show. (I’ll never forget the client who climbed onto a chair to “rally the troops” against my tyranny.) Anticipating challenges is the first step to effectively preventing and managing them.


Click here for a helpful article from Counseling Today that addresses the concept of client resistance.

Tips for Dealing with Challenges

1. If possible, co-facilitate. One clinician leads while the other observes. The observer remains attuned to the general “tone” of the group, i.e. facial expressions, body language, etc.

2. Review the expectations at the beginning of every group. Ask clients to share the guidelines with each other (instead of you telling them). This promotes a collaborative spirit.

3. After guidelines are reviewed, explain that while interrupting is discouraged, there may be times when you interject to maintain the overall wellness and safety of the group. (Knowing this, a client is less likely to get angry or feel disrespected when/if it happens.)

4. If you must interrupt, apologize, and explain the rationale.

5. Avoid power struggles at all costs, especially when a client challenges the benefits of treatment. (The unhealthier group members will quickly side with a challenger, leading to a complaint session.) Challenging the efficacy of treatment (or you as a clinician) is often a defense mechanism. Sometimes, the best response is simply “okay,” or none at all… and keep moving. You can also acknowledge the client’s perspective and ask to meet with them after group (and then get back on topic). If the group is relatively healthy, you may want to illicit feedback from other group members.

6. If a client becomes angry or tearful, give them time to vent for a moment or two (don’t “Band-Aid”); they may be able to self-regulate. (If they do self-regulate, share your observations and offer praise.)

7. If a client’s anger escalates to a disruptive level, ask them to take a break. At this point, their behavior is potentially triggering to other group members. Don’t raise your voice or ask them to calm down. Direct them step out and return when they’re ready. You may have to repeat yourself several times, but remain firm and calm, and they will eventually listen.

8. If a client is disrespectful (cursing at you or another client, name-calling, insulting, etc.) while escalated, let them know it’s not okay, but don’t attempt to provide feedback. (A simple, “Hey, that’s not okay,” will suffice.) Bring it up with the client later when they’re able to process.

9. Once the disgruntled client exits the room, acknowledge what happened and let the group know you will follow up with the client. If another client wants to talk about it, ask them to share only how it made them feel, but stress that it’s not okay to talk about an absent group member. (“How would you feel if we talked about you when you weren’t here?”) Strongly suggest that they wait until the person returns (and is open) to have a group discussion.

10. After a major blow-up (and once everyone is calm), it can be beneficial for the group to process it with the person who escalated. Group members can empathize/relate, share their observations and/or how it made them feel, and offer feedback.

11. If other disruptive behaviors occur in group (side conversations, snoring, etc.) address them in the moment (without shaming, of course). Point out the behavior and explain how it’s disruptive to the group. Refer back to the group guidelines. Ask group members to comment as well. If you let a behavior persist, hoping it will eventually stop, you’re sending the message that it’s okay, not only to the person who is disruptive, but to the entire group. This impacts the integrity of the group and opens things up for additional disruptive behaviors.

12. For clients who monopolize, who are constantly joking, or who attempt to intentionally distract by changing the topic, point out your observations and encourage group members to give feedback.

13. If, on the other hand, clients seem disengaged or unmotivated, seek out their feedback, privately or in the group, whichever is clinically appropriate.

14. If there’s a general level of disengagement, bring it up in the group. Remain objective and state your observations.

15. Anticipate that at times, people may not have much to say. (And while yes, there’s always something to talk about, that doesn’t mean someone is ready to or has the emotional energy to.) Maybe they’re distracted or tired or feeling “talked out.” It’s good to have backup plans: watch a psychoeducational film, take a walk in the park, listen to meditations or music, provide worksheets, education reading material, or coloring sheets.

16. Always keep in mind a client’s stage of change, their internal experiences (i.e. hearing voices, social anxiety, paranoia, physical pain, etc.), external circumstances (i.e. recent medication change, loss of housing, conflict with roommates, etc.), and history of trauma. What looks like resistance may be something else entirely.

Professional Group Therapy Organizations

Academic Articles

Online Articles

Additional Links


My Group Guide is a great tool for those who do not have the time to find worksheets/handouts for their clients, group activities, and other resources. 

Helpful resources and links for group psychotherapy from the Sacramento Center for Psychotherapy, including an online forum.

This blog provides some links and book chapters on various topics related to the study of groups. You can also find teaching resources related to group dynamics. 


This site provides free resources for managers, entrepreneurs, and leaders. Much of the content on facilitation and teams is applicable to group facilitation.

The Center provides a unique method of group training. Principles and techniques are based on the theory that the group is a powerful agent of change.

SCTRI is an non-profit organization with members from all around the world that supports training and research in the systems-centered approach. 

200+ Sites with Free Therapy Worksheets & Handouts

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If you’re a counselor or therapist, you’re probably familiar with Therapist Aid, one of the most well-known sites for providing free therapy worksheets. But Therapist Aid isn’t the only resource for free therapy tools! This is a list of additional sites with free therapy worksheets and handouts.

Image by Free stock photos from www.rupixen.com from Pixabay

See below for links to over 200 websites with free therapy worksheets and handouts for both clinicians and consumers.


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


Sites with Free Therapy Worksheets & Handouts

UPDATED October 12, 2021

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

Substance Use Disorders & Addiction

Depression, Stress, & Anxiety

Trauma & Related Disorders

Psychosis

Grief & Loss

Anger

Self-Esteem

Values & Goal-Setting

Wellness & Resiliency

ACT, CBT, & DBT

Children & Youth

Adolescents & Young Adults

Marriage/Relationships & Family

Additional Free Therapy Worksheets & Handouts


Please contact me if a link isn’t working or if you’d like to recommend a site!

50 Free Marriage & Relationship Assessment Tools

Free screening tools for assessing relationship satisfaction/expectations, attachment styles, communication, domestic violence/sex addiction, and more.

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Image by bporbs from Pixabay

This is a list of free marriage and relationship assessment tools to use with couples in marriage and family counseling.

See Free Online Screening & Assessment Tools for additional screening tools.


Marriage & Relationship Assessment Tools

UPDATED October 23, 2021

Relationship Satisfaction & Expectations

Attachment Styles

Communication

Domestic Violence & Sex Addiction

Additional Relationship Assessment Tools


200 Free Printable Workbooks, Manuals, & Self-Help Guides: Children, Adolescents, & Families

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Image by Brad Dorsey from Pixabay

This is a list of over 200 free printable workbooks, manuals, toolkits, and self-help guides for children, adolescents, and families. This post is divided into two sections: resources for providers and resources for families.

Please repost this and/or share with anyone you think could benefit from these free resources!


For additional resources for youth and family, see Sites with Free Therapy Worksheets & Handouts and Social Work Toolbox.


200+ Free Printable Workbooks, Manuals, & Toolkits: Children, Adolescents, & Families

UPDATED October 23, 2021

Disclaimer: Links are provided for informational and educational purposes. I recommend reviewing each resource before using for updated copyright protections that may have changed since it was posted here. When in doubt, contact the author(s).

FOR PROVIDERS

Free Printable Workbooks & Treatment Manuals/Curriculums

Mood & Anxiety Disorders
Substance Use Disorders
Trauma, Personality, & Related Disorders
Anger
Self-Esteem
Communication, Relationships, & Sexuality
LGBTQ+ Youth
Latinix Youth

Group Counseling Resources


Toolkits & Guides


FOR YOUTH & FAMILIES

Workbooks For Children & Adolescents


Toolkits & Guides

For Parents & Caregivers
For Youth & Adolescents

Please contact me if a link isn’t working or if you’d like to suggest a resource!

38 Unconventional Coping Strategies

A list of uncommon strategies for coping with stress, depression, and anxiety. Includes a free PDF version of the list to print and use as a handout.

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Image by Daniel Sampaio Donate if you want (Paypal) from Pixabay

Effective coping skills make it possible to survive life’s stressors, obstacles, and hardships. Without coping strategies, life would be unmanageable. Dr. Constance Scharff described coping mechanisms as “skills we… have that allow us to make sense of our negative experiences and integrate them into a healthy, sustainable perspective of the world.” Healthy coping strategies promote resilience when experiencing minor stressors, such as getting a poor performance review at work, or major ones, such as the loss of a loved one.

Like any skill, coping is important to practice on a regular basis in order to be effective. Do this by maintaining daily self-care (at a minimum: adequate rest, healthy meals, exercise, staying hydrated, and avoiding drugs/alcohol.)

As an expert on you (and how you adapt to stressful situations), you may already know what helps the most when life seems out-of-control. (I like reading paranormal romance/fantasy-type books!) Maybe you meditate or run or rap along to loud rap music or have snuggle time with the cats or binge watch your favorite show on Netflix. Having insight into/awareness of your coping strategies primes you for unforeseeable tragedies in life.

“Life is not what it’s supposed to be. It’s what it is. The way you cope with it is what makes the difference.”

Virginia Satir, Therapist (June 26, 2019-September 10, 1988)

Healthy coping varies greatly from person to person; what matters is that your personal strategies work for you. For example, one person may find prayer helpful, but for someone who isn’t religious, prayer might be ineffective. Instead, they may swim laps at the gym when going through a difficult time. Another person may cope by crying and talking it out with a close friend.

Image by Victor Vote from Pixabay

Note: there are various mental health treatment approaches (i.e. DBT, trauma-focused CBT, etc.) that incorporate specialized, evidence-based coping techniques that are proven to work (by reducing symptoms and improving wellbeing) for certain disorders. The focus of this post is basic coping, not treatment interventions.

On the topic of coping skills, the research literature is vast (and beyond the scope of this post). While many factors influence coping (i.e. personality/temperament, stressors experienced, mental and physical health, etc.), evidence backs the following methods: problem-solving techniques, mindfulness/meditation, exercise, relaxation techniques, reframing, acceptance, humor, seeking support, and religion/spirituality. (Note that venting is not on the list!) Emotional intelligence may also play a role in the efficiency of coping skills.


Current Research

In 2011, researchers found that positive reframes, acceptance, and humor were the most effective copings skills for students dealing with small setbacks. The effect of humor as a positive coping skill has been found in prior studies, several of which focused on coping skills in the workplace.

A sport psychology study indicated that professional golfers who used positive self-talk, blocked negative thoughts, maintained focus, and remained in a relaxed state effectively coped with stress, keeping a positive mindset. Effective copers also sought advice as needed throughout the game. A 2015 study suggested that helping others, even strangers, helps mitigate the impact of stress.


Examples of coping skills include prayer, meditation, deep breathing, exercise, talking to a trusted person, journaling, cleaning, and creating art. However, the purpose of this post is to provide coping alternatives. Maybe meditation isn’t your thing or journaling leaves you feeling like crap. Coping is not one-size-fits-all. The best approach to coping is to find and try lots of different things!

Image by Amanda Oliveira from Pixabay

The inspiration for this post came from Facebook. (Facebook is awesome for networking! I’m a member of several professional groups.) Lauren Mills sought ideas for unconventional strategies via Facebook… With permission, I’m sharing some of them here!    


Unconventional Coping Strategies

  1. Crack pistachio nuts
  2. Fold warm towels
  3. Smell your dog (Fun fact: dog paws smell like corn chips!) or watch them sleep
  4. Peel dried glue off your hands
  5. Break glass at the recycling center
  6. Pop bubble wrap
  7. Lie upside down
  8. Watch slime or pimple popping videos on YouTube
  9. Sort and build Lego’s
  10. Write in cursive
  11. Observe fish in an aquarium
  12. Twirl/spin around
  13. Solve math problems (by hand)
  14. Use a voice-changing app (Snapchat works too) to repeat back your worry/critical thoughts in the voice of a silly character OR sing your worries/thoughts aloud to the tune of “Happy Birthday”
  15. Listen to the radio in foreign languages
  16. Chop vegetables
  17. Go for a joy ride (Windows down!)
  18. Watch YouTube videos of cute animals and/or giggling babies
  19. Blow bubbles
  20. Walk barefoot outside
  21. Draw/paint on your skin
  22. Play with (dry) rice
  23. Do (secret) “random acts of kindness”
  24. Play with warm (not hot) candle wax
  25. Watch AMSR videos on YouTube
  26. Shuffle cards
  27. Recite family recipes
  28. Find the nicest smelling flowers at a grocery store
  29. Count things
  30. Use an app to try different hairstyles and/or makeup
  31. People-watch with a good friend and make up stories about everyone you see (Take it to the next level with voiceovers!)
  32. Wash your face mindfully
  33. Buy a karaoke machine and sing your heart out when you’re home alone
  34. On Instagram, watch videos of a hydraulic press smash things, cake decorating, pottery/ceramics throwing, hand lettering, and/or woodwork
  35. Shine tarnished silver
  36. Create a glitter jar and enjoy
  37. Tend to plants
  38. Color in a vulgar coloring book for adults

Image by A_Different_Perspective from Pixabay

Click below for a PDF version of “Unconventional Coping Strategies.” This handout can be printed, copied, and shared without the author’s permission, providing it’s not used for monetary gain.

Unconventional Coping Strategies


  • Cassie Jewell, M.Ed., LPC, LSATP
  • With Lauren Mills, MA, LPC-Intern (Contributor)
  • Lauren Mills, MA, LPC-Intern (Supervised by Mary Ann Satori, LPC-S) is a therapist in Texas and a current resident in counseling.     

I’d like to acknowledge all members of Therapist Toolbox – Resources & Support for Therapists who submitted ideas!


If you have an uncommon coping skill, post in a comment!

15 Sites with Helpful Resource Lists

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

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This is a list of links to resource pages for wellness, mental illness, addiction, and self-help. (For resources posted on Mind ReMake Project, click here.)


15 Sites with Helpful Resource Lists

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

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

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

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

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

Links (Sidran Institute) | From the Sidran Institute

Links to Other Empowering Websites | From the National Empowerment Center

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

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

Mental Health Resources List | A fairly comprehensive list. Updated 2018.

Resources | Resources for child sexual abuse

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

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

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

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


Post your suggestions for resource links in a comment!

60 Awesome Resources for Therapists

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This is a list of over 60 resources for therapists. Please share with mental health professionals who could benefit!

Please check back as I update regularly with new resources for therapists and other mental health professionals.

If you have a suggestion, use the contact form on this site.


60 Resources for Therapists

UPDATED October 23, 2021

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

Suggested Books

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


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


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


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




Websites & Blogs


Handouts & Worksheets



Social Media Groups & Forums