17 Therapy Worksheets for Teens, Adults, and Couples (+PDFs)

28 Therapy Worksheets for Teens, Adults, and Couples (+PDFs)

We have mostly covered some of the biggest and most mainstream forms of therapy, including Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy, and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy.

In this piece, our goal is to provide a look at some other available alternative forms of therapy. For each type of therapy, we’ll give a brief description and provide some exercises and activities that can be found in each.

We will cover reality therapy, couples and family therapy , occupational therapy, therapy for oppositional defiant disorder, therapy focusing on negative schemas, rational emotive behavior therapy, Imago therapy, and interpersonal therapy.

Before you continue, we thought you might like to download our three Positive Psychology Exercises for free . These science-based exercises will explore fundamental aspects of positive psychology, including strengths, values, and self-compassion, and will give you the tools to enhance the wellbeing of your clients, students, or employees.

This Article Contains:

2 reality therapy worksheets for adults, 3 couples, group, and family therapy worksheets, 3 occupational therapy handwriting worksheets, 3 therapy worksheets for oppositional defiant disorder, schema therapy, 3 rebt worksheets (pdf), 2 imago therapy worksheets, interpersonal therapy, most suitable therapies for teens and kids, a take-home message.

Rather than focusing on acceptance and finding meaning in storytelling, reality therapy is focused on problem-solving and finding practical solutions for specific goals. The foundation of this type of therapy is the idea that our problems stem from disconnection from people in our lives, and that creating or mending these connections will help to solve them (William Glasser Institute, 2010).

The most important question in reality therapy is one that should be constantly asked:

“Is what I am doing getting me closer to the people I need?”

If this type of therapy sounds like one that could be useful to you or your clients, read on to learn about two worksheets that can help.

1. WDEP Questions Worksheet

“WDEP” stands for Wants, Doing, Evaluate, and Plan. These four components are integral to reality therapy, and this system is used by reality therapists everywhere. This approach helps clients discover what they want and what they are doing to obtain or achieve what they want, evaluate whether what they are doing will contribute to their goals or not, and plan ways to achieve their goals and change problematic behaviors or aspects of their life.

The worksheet is divided into these four sections with space to answer the questions listed for each component. The questions are as follows:

  • What do you want rather than this issue?
  • What does your ideal career, family life, relationship, etc. look like?
  • What do your loved ones/friends want for you?
  • What do you want to achieve from this therapy?
  • What actions have you tried taking?
  • When you behave this way, what thoughts are occurring in your head?
  • What do you feel when you think these thoughts?
  • How do these thoughts/actions impact your wellbeing?
  • Are these actions taking you in your desired direction?
  • Are you content with how things are?
  • Is what you want attainable?
  • Is viewing things this way helpful?
  • What will you willingly change about your thoughts or actions to achieve this?
  • When? How frequently? Where?
  • Are you clear about what you will do? Is it realistic?
  • How will you know you have achieved it?
  • Can you start now? Is it in your control?
  • How committed are you doing it?

For each component, the reader should seriously consider each question and write a description of how they are doing in each area.

Going through this worksheet can help the client identify what it is they really want, assess how they are progressing toward achieving what they want, and draft a plan to achieve their goals. This worksheet is specifically created for reality therapy, but it has wide-ranging applications. Anyone who is hoping to make a positive change will find valuable information by completing this worksheet.

If you’d like to give this exercise a try, click to download the WDEP Questions Worksheet .

2. Finding Discrepancies

This worksheet is designed to help people who are struggling with problematic behaviors, and as such it is useful in therapy for addictions. The goal of this exercise is to assist your client in finding discrepancies between the potential outcomes of both stopping and continuing.

A two-page worksheet, it is divided into several sections to be filled out by the client. Each section compares the impacts on the client’s life if they continue with the behavior, to their life if they stopped using. For each section, the client can note multiple aspects of their life in each scenario.

  • The first section is “ Impacts on my future goals ”. Below this, there are two columns labeled “Impacts if I continue…” and “Impacts f I stop…” that are to be completed by the client.
  • Next, the client is instructed to imagine the differences in their life with or without the behavior in terms of their physical or mental health.
  • The third section is on how the problematic behavior affects their relationships with friends.
  • The fourth section is dedicated to comparing the effects on their closest relationships with or without that behavior; these may be with family or with a significant other.
  • In the fifth section, clients are instructed to compare the effects on their financial situation if they stop using vs. if they continue. For some people, this section alone can provoke a positive change!
  • Finally, the worksheet ends with a look at the potential outcomes on your client’s education, personal, and professional development.

Filling out these different domains will give your clients insight into their current and ideal lives – without the problematic behavior.

Click here to see this worksheet for yourself or your clients.

Relationship Growth Activity therapy worksheets

These worksheets are specifically designed for use within couples, groups, and families.

1. About Your Partner

This worksheet can be an excellent icebreaker for two people in a relationship who are looking to make changes and solve relationship problems. It fosters lighthearted conversation, while reaffirms the couple’s connection and invites them to discover more about both themselves and the other person.

Use this worksheet to guide some relaxed ‘interviewing’ where each will take turns asking a question from each section below.

There are six types of category:

  • Fun and Games – this looks at enjoyable things in your partner’s life, including what brings them happiness and brings about positive emotions;
  • The Future – these questions help couples discover their partner’s dreams, hopes, and ambitions;
  • You and Me – looking at their relationship together can encourage a couple to bond;
  • Other People – some general discovery questions about the other person’s relationships besides the two of you;
  • Careers – their professional aspirations, personal development, hopes for personal growth, and a little about their day-to-day; and
  • Feelings – these items explore your partner’s deeper emotions, thoughts, and psychological experiences.

Discussing these topics can bring a feeling of closeness between partners. They can discover more about one another and share their hopes for a shared, positive future.

Download this worksheet here .

2. Good Qualities

One nice exercise for couples in therapy is to reflect on their significant other’s good qualities; particularly if they are struggling with conflict or similar difficulties.

This is a simple exercise that can motivate partners to work on those difficulties, as well as reconnect with the reasons they love one another. Each partner fills out four sections:

  • The good qualities which first drew me to my significant other were …
  • The most cherished memories of our time together include …
  • I appreciate my partner because …
  • My partner shows me they care by …

When helping clients with this sheet, encourage them to think of 3 items for each category. What are three reasons they appreciate their partner? Three ways they demonstrate show caring or affectionate behavior?

You’ll find this sheet here as a free PDF .

3. Inside and Outside

Inside and Outside is designed for families in therapy. Developed for children, it is a starting point for discussion of the results. Kids can use it to understand, in turn, how their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are related – useful insight for dealing with family problems.

On this sheet, you’ll find a silhouette of a child. The six boxes surrounding the figure are easy for kids to fill in, with three per side to be filled separately. Ask the child to complete the sentence stem “ When I feel… ” with an emotion you would like to discuss.

The child then recalls a specific context where they felt this emotion and completes the left column of three boxes:

  • I feel like this in my body…
  • I behave this way …

After the child has completed these left-hand boxes, the worksheet invites them to imagine that the situation is the same, but their thoughts change.

With this new thought instead, they should work their way down the right-hand side boxes – thoughts, feelings, and behavior.

This aims to help children compare their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors when they are struggling with an emotion, and when they change their thoughts. As well as providing the talking point described above, it offers insight into how changed – ideally positive – thinking can impact on their emotions.

In this way, Inside and Outside enables parents and others to understand what a child is experiencing.

You’ll find more group therapy resources in our article Group Therapy: 32 Activities, Worksheets and Discussion Topics for Adults and Teens .

therapy group worksheets

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While we tend to think of therapy in terms of counseling, psychiatry, and clinical psychology, there is also a whole separate realm of therapy: occupational therapy.

This type of therapy is intended to help people with more physical problems than psychological problems—although the two can often go hand in hand. Occupational therapy can help people dealing with illness, injury, or disability to improve their health and promote a greater quality of life .

Handwriting is one area where many people with physical difficulties may face many challenges. Handwriting requires several fine motor skills as well as visual perception skills (Therapy Fun Zone, 2017).

Read on to discover three worksheets that can help children improve their handwriting.

1. Decorating Cookies

This worksheet is intended for kids around the K3 or 5-year-old level, although it will be helpful to child who wants to improve their handwriting. Completing this worksheet is as simple as putting pencil to paper and decorating the cookies.

It might seem overly simplistic, but pre-handwriting movement practice involves following paths with a pencil. Done on a regular basis, it can have a large, positive impact on handwriting ability.

In this Decorating Cookies worksheet, you begin with some example dotted lines, which kids can follow to practice creating circles and waves. There are guide lines and a prompt for children to write about their favorite cookies, then the second page provides basic ‘cookie’ outlines that they can decorate freehand.

Children will likely find this worksheet fun and engaging as well as useful. If you’d like to download it and give it to your child or client, click here .

2. Snowman Hangman

This worksheet takes the original “hangman” game and adapts it for children. The rules are the same, but the picture to be drawn is a snowman rather than a hanging man (which might be a bit morbid for children).

Player One chooses a word, and player Two tries to guess the letters in the word before player One has a chance to draw and dress the whole snowman.

Below the instructions for drawing each section of the snowman and the space for the drawing is a small writing exercise, inviting kids to write three more words related to winter.

Snowman Hangman  will help the child to practice their writing and drawing skills while staying engaged and having fun.

3. What Does It Look Like Under the Sea?

This worksheet is a fun way for kids to practice both drawing and handwriting. It’s always easier to get kids to practice when they’re writing about something fun and using their imagination!

The worksheet asks a simple question: What does it look like under the sea?

Below this question, there are instructions for the child to imagine what the underwater world might look like and a space to draw what they imagine.

Below the drawing space, there is another instruction: for the child to write about their idea. They can write about what they think the ocean bed or marine life might look like, what animals or features it might include that would be difficult to draw, or anything else they are thinking about the topic.

You can view or download the worksheet here .

Oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) is a disorder found in children that involves an ongoing pattern of “uncooperative, defiant, and hostile behavior toward authority figures” that interferes with daily functioning (American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 2013).

This disorder can include symptoms like:

  • Frequent tantrums
  • Excessive arguing
  • Deliberately upsetting or irritating others
  • Being touchy or easily annoyed by others
  • Mean and hateful talk when upset

If your child or client is suffering from ODD, these three worksheets may be able to help.

1. Making Good Decisions

This worksheet will help a child with ODD understand the importance of making good decisions, as well as the benefits and advantages that come with making good decisions.

This worksheet has seven sections for the child to fill in:

  • Write down 3 decisions you’ve made in the past 24 hours.
  • Here, write the best decision you believe you’ve ever made.
  • In what ways did this ‘best decision’ impact you?
  • Here, write the worst decision you believe you’ve ever made.
  • In what ways did this ‘worst decision’ impact you?
  • Write down 3 key decisions you’ll need to make as you get older.
  • What decision are you most excited for as you grow up?

Completing this activity can help children work through their thoughts on making decisions, and hopefully, lead them to make good decisions that will benefit them.

Click to download this Making Good Decisions PDF .

2. Responsibility

It is important for all children to develop a foundation of responsibility, but it can be especially important and especially difficult for children with ODD. This worksheet can help teach them about responsibility and show them that responsibility is an important part of life.

There are seven sections to this worksheet with a question or instruction to list examples for each one.

The questions are:

  • What does ‘being responsible’ mean?
  • What kind of responsibilities do you have in school?
  • What are some responsibilities you have at home?
  • List some responsibilities you have in your neighborhood?
  • Name some ways you show responsibility?
  • List some situations where you do not show responsibility.
  • What are some things you can do to show more responsibility?

Work through this Showing Responsibility activity with your child or client if they are struggling to answer the questions or having trouble focusing on them.

3. Something About Me

Sometimes children struggle with low self-esteem —causing them to lash out and behave in problematic ways. This worksheet can help them realize that they have good qualities and help them begin to appreciate them.

The worksheet includes seven boxes to fill in:

  • My friends think I’m awesome because…
  • My classmates say I’m great at…
  • I feel very happy when I…
  • Something that I’m really proud of is…
  • I make my family happy when I…
  • One unique thing about me is…

You can download and use the Something About Me with your own kids, students, or clients.

What is schema therapy? – Kati Morton

Schema-focused cognitive therapy, or schema therapy, is a kind of therapy that combines aspects of cognitive-behavioral , experiential, interpersonal, and psychoanalytic therapies into one comprehensive treatment approach (Pearl, n.d.). It is intended to help people who are struggling with negative patterns of thought, behavior, or both.

The name comes from the idea that through living our lives, we develop schemas, or patterns, that guide our thinking and feeling. We rarely even notice that we have these specific schemas, but we all do. The problem stems not from following a pattern, but from following a negative or maladaptive pattern.

Some of the most harmful schemas or patterns of belief revolve around one’s negative feelings towards or about the self (e.g., “I’m a bad person,” “I will never be happy,” or “I am not good enough.”).

This type of therapy is conducted in three phases:

  • Assessment of the schemas
  • Working on bringing emotional awareness to the schemas
  • Making behavioral changes (Pearl, n.d.)

The Schema Therapy worksheet described below can help in one or all of these three phases, and can be used individually or with a therapist—it will likely be more effective when completed with a therapist.

Thought Record Worksheet

This worksheet can also help clients to identify some of the problematic thoughts they are having. There is space on this sheet for clients to write down thoughts that are troubling them. They can note when these occurred, and unpack them further in further detail in the next column.

It can be helpful when filling out this sheet to rate the perceived credibility of each thought as you record them, as well as the emotions that were associated with each.

The second column from the end is provided as a space where your client can come up with alternative thoughts, challenging the negative automatic thinking and the schemas they represent. You may find this list of cognitive distortions helpful when introducing your client to the exercise.

Lastly, your client is invited to reassess the perceived credibility of their original negative thought out of 100%. Ideally, coming up with an alternative will have helped to reduce this figure.

This exercise requires regular practice, but it is essential to help identify negative automatic thoughts you would like to stop.

Download and fill in this Thought Record Worksheet , or use it as a handout.

For further insights into Schema Therapy, these articles are recommended:

  • Schema Therapy in Practice : 12 Worksheets & Techniques
  • Schema Therapy For Practitioners : 7 Questionnaires and Tests

Dysfunctional Thought Record therapy worksheets

This type of therapy focuses on solving emotional and behavioral problems to help people improve their quality of life.

It grew out of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy and encourages a more action-oriented approach to addressing cognitive, emotional, and behavioral problems (Albert Ellis Institute, 2014).

As such, the worksheets for this type of therapy are often not exclusive to REBT, but can also be used for clients in CBT and other similar forms of therapy.

See the worksheets below to get some ideas about REBT exercises and activities.

1. Dysfunctional Thought Record

This worksheet is one that should be filled out over the course of a few days or even weeks, depending on how “wordy” the client is!

It is a structured journal in which the client can note their dysfunctional thoughts and spot a pattern.

It is divided into seven columns with space for writing about multiple events.

  • In the first column, the client is to write down the date and time.
  • In the second column, client describes the situation they were in.
  • The third column is for writing down the automatic thought that arose.
  • In column four, clients should note the associated emotions they felt.
  • Column five is where the client should list any cognitive distortions that came up during this situation and automatic thoughts.
  • In the next column, the client should brainstorm effective alternative thoughts that can fight the dysfunctional automatic thoughts.
  • Finally, the seventh column is for writing down the outcome of the situation.

Keeping a record of these thoughts can help the client to organize their thoughts, make sense of the reaction they have in certain situations, and detect a pattern for the automatic negative thoughts.

Click to download the Dysfunctional Thought Record .

2. REBT Formulation

This is another worksheet that takes a rational approach—connecting a situation to the following response and comparing the outcome to the outcome if a more positive response occurred. REBT focuses on solving emotional problems before moving on to thought or behavior problems.

The worksheet differentiates between two types of emotional responses: unhealthy (or problematic) responses and healthy (or desired) responses.

In the first section, the client is instructed to describe an activating event. This is an event that provokes an emotional response. Four subsections are to be completed here:

  • Describe the situation.
  • Isolate the critical factor (what it was about the event that affected you).
  • Notice and accept bodily sensations.
  • Invent a symbol/metaphor for the experience (one that explains how it felt).

Next, the client will describe the problematic response.

The client is instructed to name the emotion, then list the thoughts and images associated with it, (i.e., what was happening in your mind during the event?) and the actions and intentions that followed (i.e., how you reacted or wanted to react).

Finally, the client should describe what a healthy response would look like.

First, there is space to name the emotion. Next, there is space to list the cognitive objectives (i.e., how you would need to think in order to feel this way) and the behavioral objectives (i.e., what you would need to do in order to feel this way).

This worksheet can help guide clients through a comparison of two distinct types of responses and help them see that the healthy response is the better one. It can also help to develop a plan to react in a healthy way more often.

Download this REBT Formulation Worksheet .

3. Logging Positive Beliefs

The Logging Positive Beliefs worksheet facilitates the confrontation of negative beliefs and automatic thoughts by using reason to replace old, self-critical beliefs with new, positive beliefs.

At the top of the worksheet, there are two bubbles. In the first, write down the problematic, old belief, and in the right-hand box, create a new belief to replace it.

Underneath the two beliefs is space to write down 10 pieces of evidence that support the new belief or is inconsistent with the old belief. These can be experiences you have had, something someone else has said to you, or anything else you can think of that supports the new belief or sheds doubt on the old belief.

Use this link to download the Logging Positive Beliefs worksheet.

mirroring imago therapy worksheets

It was developed as an alternative to more traditional methods of couples therapy and is based on facilitating effective dialogue.

Childhood experiences are important in this form of therapy, as imago therapy assumes a link between childhood relationships and adult relationships (Imago Relationships, 2016).

The main activity in Imago therapy is called the Dialogue, and combines three essential elements:

  • Mirroring, or repeating your partner’s words back to them.
  • Summarizing and expressing understanding of your partner’s words.
  • Empathizing with your partner.

If this type of therapy intrigues you, check out the information sheet and worksheet described below to give it a try.

The Imago Dialogue 101

This resource is not a worksheet, but a guide on how to implement the Imago Dialogue into your relationship.

This guide will provide background on the Imago Dialogue, describe the difference between dialogue and discussion, and walk the reader through the three phases described above.

It also includes directions and some suggestions for specific phrases you can use in each phase.

Click  here to view or download this informational guide to the Imago Dialogue exercise.

The Imago Workup

This exercise is based on an Imago Workup exercise by therapist Dr. Pat Love, author of Imago Theory and the Psychology of Attraction (Love & Shulkin, 2001). It is a great way to prepare clients for thinking about how their childhood experiences have affected their adult relationships.

Part A requires the client to answer five questions or prompts:

  • List three negative qualities of the people who brought you up.
  • Now, think of three positive qualities of the same people.
  • As a child, what was your greatest unmet desire from your caregivers?
  • How did you want to feel as a child?
  • How did you behave in response to frustration?

Next, the client is instructed to copy these answers into Part B, using them to complete the following statements:

  • I am drawn to somebody who is…
  • But I desire them to be…
  • So I can receive…
  • And so I can feel…
  • However, I sometimes prevent myself from receiving the love I desire by…

Many clients may be surprised at how neatly their responses fit into the five unfinished statements. It’s no secret that our childhood has an effect on who we become and how we live and love as adults, but it can be surprising to see how big this effect can be.

Here’s the Imago Workup for download.

Unlike some of the other therapies we have described, interpersonal therapy (IPT) is a brief form of therapy that focuses on resolving interpersonal problems rather than individual problems and follows a very structured approach (Weissman, 2017).

IPT is based on the idea that attachments are integral to human development and flourishing, and that humans are happiest when they know there are trusted people they can turn to in times of trouble.

This type of therapy has been shown to be effective for depression, relationship problems, anxiety, eating disorders, and other problems in a variety of scenarios. It is a time-limited therapy (usually 12 to 16 weeks) that focuses on the issues the client is having connecting with others rather than on strictly internal problems. The goals are to eliminate or decrease the severity of symptoms, improve interpersonal functioning, and increase social support (Interpersonal Psychology Institute, 2017).

There are few worksheets for this type of therapy, but if you’d like to learn more about IPT you read our own article on Interpersonal Therapy .

Interpersonal Therapy therapy worksheets

For example, CBT is excellent for treating depression and anxiety, while DBT has been found to be effective for bipolar disorder, and a specific type of CBT called Exposure and Response Prevention is the best tool for treating OCD.

The best type of therapy is often dependent on the diagnosis, but there are some types of therapy that have proven especially effective for children.

According to the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry , the following types of therapies can be used in the specified situations:

  • Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT): Can be applied to children dealing with mood problems, anxiety, or distorted thinking.
  • Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT): Can be used with older adolescents with suicidal thoughts, self-harm, or borderline personality disorder.
  • Family Therapy: Can be applied to whole families, including children or adolescents, parents, siblings, and grandparents.
  • Play Therapy: Can be used with children to help them recognize, identify, and verbalize their feelings.
  • Psychotherapy : Can apply to children to help understand what is driving their behavior and discover patterns of behavior.

I hope this piece has given you a useful overview of the many different types of therapy available to you. Remember, if you try one and it doesn’t seem to help, there are many more that may better suit you!

Whether you are struggling with a DSM diagnosis, a new source of stress, or just the difficulties of everyday life, there is likely a type of therapy out there that will work for you.

Have you tried any of these types of therapy before? How did it go? Would you consider or reconsider any of them?

Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

Thank you for reading!

We hope you enjoyed reading this article. Don’t forget to download our three Positive Psychology Exercises for free .

  • Albert Ellis Institute. (2014). Rational emotive & cognitive-behavior therapy . The Albert Ellis Institute. Retrieved from http://albertellis.org/rebt-cbt-therapy/
  • American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry. (2013). Oppositional defiant disorder . AACAP. Retrieved from http://www.aacap.org/aacap/Families_and_Youth/Facts_for_Families/Facts_for_Families_Pages/Children_With_Oppositional_Defiant_Disorder_72.aspx
  • Imago Relationships. (2016). What is Imago? Imago Relationships International. Retrieved from http://imagorelationships.org/pub/about-imago-therapy/what-is-imago/
  • Interpersonal Psychology Institute. (2017). About IPT . IPT Institute. Retrieved from https://iptinstitute.com/about-ipt/
  • Love, P., & Shulkin, S. (2001). Imago theory and the psychology of attraction. The Family Journal, 9 (3), 246-249.
  • Pearl, M. (n.d.). What is schema therapy? Schema Therapy Center of New Orleans. Retrieved from http://www.schematherapy-nola.com/what-is-schema-therapy
  • Therapy Fun Zone. (2017). Fine Motor Requirements For Handwriting . Retrieved from https://therapyfunzone.net/blog/fine-motor-requirements-for-handwriting/
  • Weissman, M. (2017). A history of IPT . IPT Institute. Retrieved from https://iptinstitute.com/about-ipt/
  • William Glasser Institute. (2010). Reality therapy . WGI US. Retrieved from http://www.wglasser.com/the-glasser-approach/reality-therapy

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Dear Courtney,

What a wealth of helpful information– so empowering and hopeful! Thank you so much!!!


Unquestionably believe that which you stated. Your favorite reason seemed to be on the web the easiest thing to be aware of. I say to you, I definitely get annoyed while people consider worries that they plainly don’t know about. You managed to hit the nail upon the top and also defined out the whole thing without having side effect , people could take a signal. Will likely be back to get more. Thanks

Leslie Kille; LCSW

I’ve copied your worksheets, those are so useful for me and my class. Thanks

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Anxiety Hierarchy and Exposure Worksheet

Trauma Story | Trauma Narrative Worksheet | PTSD Memories

Trauma Story | Trauma Narrative Worksheet | PTSD Memories

Making Meaning While Healing from PTSD

Making Meaning While Healing from PTSD

Book: Finding Peace from PTSD

Book: Finding Peace from PTSD

Therapy Sessions Journal Pages for Clients | Therapy Journal PDF | Safety Plan

Therapy Sessions Journal Pages for Clients | Therapy Journal PDF | Safety Plan

Self-Care Journal Kit | Download Self-Care Prompts, Stickers, & Coloring Pages

Self-Care Journal Kit | Download Self-Care Prompts, Stickers, & Coloring Pages

mind remake project

A therapy and mental health resource site

mind remake project

200+ Sites with Free Therapy Worksheets & Handouts

Sites with free therapy worksheets and handouts for mental health clinicians and self-help

(Updated 10/16/22) If you’re a counselor or therapist, you’re probably familiar with Therapist Aid , one of the most well-known sites for providing no-cost therapy worksheets. But Therapist Aid isn’t the only resource for free clinical tools! This is a list of over 200 sites with free therapy worksheets and handouts.

free therapy worksheets

See below for links to websites with free therapy worksheets and handouts for clinical use and self-help.

Click here for therapy worksheets, handouts, and guides posted on this site. Access additional free printables by joining Mind Remake Project’s Facebook group, Resources for Mental Health Counselors & Social Workers. 🆕

Sites with Free Therapy Worksheets & Handouts

Therapy worksheets for mental health.

  • 91 Free Counseling Handouts | Handouts on self-esteem, emotions, recovery, stress, and more (Source: Kevin Everett FitzMaurice)
  • A Good Way to Think: Resources | Therapy worksheets and handouts on happiness, well-being, values, etc. (Source: A Good Way to Think by David)
  • Articles by Dr. Paul David | Clinical handouts on depression, relationships, substance use disorders, family issues, etc. (Source: Dr. Paul David, PhD)
  • Belmont Wellness: Psychoeducational Handouts, Quizzes, and Group Activities | Printable handouts on assertiveness, emotional wellness, stress management, and more (Source: Judith Belmont of Belmont Wellness)
  • Black Dog Institute: Resources & Support | Downloadable fact sheets, handouts, mood trackers, and more on a variety of mental health topics (Source: Black Dog Institute Australia)
  • Brené Brown Downloads and Guides | Resources for work, parenting, the classroom, and daily life (Source: Brené Brown, LLC)
  • Bryan Konik: Free Therapy Worksheets | A collection of therapy worksheets on stress management, anxiety, relationships, goal setting, and trauma (Source: Bryan Konik, Therapist & Social Worker)
  • Cairn Center: Resources | A modest collection of printable assessments, handouts, and worksheets on DBT, anxiety, depression, etc. (Source: Cairn Center)
  • Coping.us | Printable tools for coping (Source: James J. Messina, PhD & Constance Messina, PhD) 
  • 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 (Source: Cornell University)
  • Counseling Library Handouts | A collection of handouts on depression, trauma, personality, and more (Source: Morning Light Counseling, Carrie M. Wrigley, LCSW)
  • Counselors Associated: Free PDFs | A small collection of PDF downloads (Source: Counselors Associated, Inc.)
  • Downloads | A small collection of therapy worksheets/workbooks on boundaries, anger, anxiety/mindfulness, relationships, and more (Source: Christina Bell, Registered Psychologist)
  • DOWNLOADS from Get Self Help | Free therapy worksheets and handouts on a variety of topics (Source: Getselfhelp.co.uk)
  • Dr. D. Fox: Forms, Presentation Slides, & Worksheets | Topics include anger, emotions, borderline personality disorder, etc. (Source: Daniel J. Fox, PhD, Applied Psychological Services, PLLC)
  • Dr. John Barletta: Tip Sheets | Downloadable tip sheets on a variety of topics (Source: Dr. John Barletta)
  • EchoHawk Counseling: Materials and Resources | Articles, worksheets, and handouts on a variety of topics, including boundaries, emotions, grief, stress, trauma, etc. (Source: Lance Echo-Hawk)
  • Eddins Counseling Group: Worksheets | A short list of free worksheets and handouts (Source: Eddins Counseling Group)
  • Faith Harper: Worksheets and Printables | A small collection of therapy worksheets and handouts, including a gratitude journal (Source: Faith G. Harper, PhD, LPC-S, ACS, ACN)
  • Free Social Work Tools and Resources | Worksheets, workbooks, assessments, and other resources for adults and children (Source: SocialWorkersToolbox.com)
  • How Therapy Works: Free Downloads | A few free resources from Jeffery Smith, MD (Source: http://www.howtherapyworks.com )
  • James Drew Psychotherapy: Forms | A small collection of worksheets/handouts on feelings, communication, values, goals, etc. (Source: James Drew, LPC)
  • Jane Rekas: Downloads | A large collection of downloads (Source: Jane Rekas, MSW)
  • Mark Purcell, PsyD: Professional Resources | Links to PowerPoint slides, DBT worksheets, assessments for suicide risk and compassion fatigue, and more
  • Mark R. Young, LMSW, LCSW: Links & Forms | Links to factsheets, worksheets, assessments, etc. (Source: Mark R. Young, LMSW, LCSW)
  • Mental Health America DIY Tools | A collection of free downloads from MHA
  • Mental Health America Self-Help Tools | Links to assessments, worksheets, handouts, and more (Source: Mental Health America)
  • Mental Health CE Course Articles | Course content handouts on a variety of mental health topics (Source: MentalHealthCE.com)
  • Mind My Peelings: Worksheets & Infographics | A small collection of downloadable tools (Source: Mind My Peelings)
  • My Group Guide: Therapy Resources | Source: My Group Guide
  • Nancy L. Johnston: Downloads | A small collection of downloads on codependency, enabling, etc. (Source: Nancy L. Johnston, LPC, LSATP)
  • Oxford Clinical Psychology: Forms and Worksheets | A large collection of therapy worksheets based on evidence-based practices (Source: Oxford Clinical Psychology)
  • Patient Handouts | A large collection of handouts for mental health and addiction (Source: Redemption Psychiatry)
  • Peggy L. Ferguson, Ph.D.: Addiction Recovery Worksheets | A modest collection of handouts/worksheets for addiction and recovery (Source: Peggy L. Ferguson, PhD)
  • PsychPoint: Therapy Worksheets
  • Self-Help Library | Multiple handouts on topics including communication, relationships, anxiety, ADHD, anger, depression, and more (Source: Present Centered Therapy)
  • Self-Help Toolkits | Articles and handouts on worry, depression, assertiveness, etc. (Source: Dr. Danny Gagnon, PhD, Montreal Psychologist)
  • Sleep and Depression Laboratory: Resources | A small collection of worksheets related to sleep, worry, and depression (Source: Dr. Colleen E. Carney, PhD, CPsych)
  • Sober Eastbourne | A UK-based resource site with links to organizations that post free tools for mental health and recovery
  • The Stages of Change | 7-page PDF packet (Source: Virginia Tech Continuing and Professional Education)
  • St. Louis Counseling & Wellness Handouts | Downloadable tools on various topics including addiction, CBT, communication, stress, and positive psychology
  • Talk, Trust and Feel Therapeutics | Articles/handouts on anger, abandonment, narcissism, and relationships (Source: Lynne Namka, EdD)
  • Therapist Aid | Free therapy worksheets
  • Therapy Worksheets | A resource blog with links to free therapy worksheets on various mental health topics (Source: Therapy Worksheets by Will Baum, LCSW)
  • Tim’s Resource Notebook | A small collection of handouts on various topics such as relationships, emotions, and values (Source: Tim’s Resource Notebook)

Therapy Worksheets for Substance Use Disorders & Addiction

  • 12-Step Worksheets | Source: 12step.org
  • Addiction Recovery Worksheets | A modest collection of worksheets (Source: Bowen Center)
  • ASI-MV Worksheets & Handouts | Addiction and recovery handouts (Source: IBH)
  • Client Worksheets from Treatment for Stimulant Use Disorders (Treatment Improvement Protocols Services) | 44 therapy worksheets on addiction and recovery (Source: Treatment for Stimulant Use Disorders, SAMHSA/NIH)
  • Integrity Counseling Handouts | A short list of client handouts on addiction (Source: Integrity Counseling, Inc.)
  • InFocus Helpful Resources | Family handouts on addiction (Source: SHARC Australia)
  • Motivational Interviewing Worksheets | Source: MINT
  • Refuge Recovery | Download and print the truth inventory worksheets (Source: Refuge Recovery)
  • Relapse Autopsy | 12-page PDF packet (Source: Willow Tree Counseling)
  • Self-Help Exercises | Source: Gambling Therapy
  • SMART Recovery Toolbox | Addiction and recovery resources (Source: SMART Recovery)
  • Substance Abuse | 12-page PDF packet (Source: Carleton University, Criminal Justice Decision Making Laboratory & Ontario Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services)
  • Taking the Escalator: Therapy Tools | Handouts on addiction and recovery (Source: Taking the Escalator)
  • Worksheets | A small collection of addiction and recovery worksheets (Source: A Recovery Story)

Depression, Stress, & Anxiety

  • Alphabet of Stress Management and Coping Skills | Coping skills for every letter of the alphabet (Source: Ramapo College of New Jersey)
  • Anxiety Canada: Free Downloadable PDF Resources | Anxiety worksheets for parents and self-help (Source: Anxiety Canada)
  • Behavioral Activation for Depression | 35-page packet (Source: Michigan Medicine)
  • Counseling Library: Handouts on Depression | Source: Morning Light Counseling
  • Creating Your Personal Stress Management Plan | 10-page packet (Source: Fostering Resilience)
  • Downloads (Patient Resources) | Downloadable PDF resources for anxiety and depression (Source: Michigan Medicine)
  • Dr. Chloe: Worksheets for Anxiety Management | A small collection of worksheets and handouts (Source: Dr. Chloe)
  • Panic Attack Worksheets | 9-page PDF packet (Source: Inner Health Studio)
  • Relaxation | 15-page packet on relaxation skills for anxiety (Source: Michigan Medicine)
  • Stress Management | 5-page packet on stress management (Source: Inner Health Studio)
  • 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 (Source: UMASS Medical School Department of Psychiatry)
  • Treatment for Mood Disorders Worksheet Packet | 7-page PDF packet (Source: Michael DiPaolo, PhD)

Trauma & Related Disorders

  • Center for Sexual Assault & Traumatic Stress: Therapist Resources | Client handouts, assessments, info sheets, toolkits, training resources, links, etc. (UW Medicine Harborview Medical Center)
  • Child and Family Studies: Sex in the Family | 8-page packet on shame and guilt in relation to child sexual abuse (Source: Carol Morgaine, PhD)
  • Counseling Library: Handouts on Abuse/Trauma | Source: Morning Light Counseling
  • Crisis and Trauma Resource Center (CTRC) Printable Handouts | Several handouts and worksheets to download for free (Source: CTRC)
  • Detaching From Emotional Pain (Grounding) | 12-page PDF packet (Source: Sunspire Health)
  • Disaster Mental Health Handouts | Source: David Baldwin’s Trauma Information Pages
  • Grounding Exercises | 2-page PDF handout (Source: Truman State University)
  • Grounding Techniques | 1-page PDF handout (Source: JMU Counseling Center)
  • Healing Private Wounds Booklets | Religious handouts on healing from sexual abuse (Source: Healing Private Wounds)
  • MN Trauma Project: Downloadable Resources to Use in Therapy | A short list of links to trauma worksheets
  • Prince Edward Island Rape and Sexual Assault Centre Resources | PDF handouts (Source PEIRSAC)
  • Selected Handouts and Worksheets from Treatment of Postraumatic Stress Disorder in Special Populations: A Cognitive Restructuring Program | 13-page PDF packet (Source: Mueser, K. T., Rosenberg, S. D., & Rosenberg, H. J., 2009)
  • Trauma Research and Treatment: Trauma Toolkit | A small collection of trauma handouts (Source: Trauma Research and Treatment)
  • Wisconsin Hawthorn Project: Handouts & Worksheets | Handouts in English and Spanish (Source: Wisconsin Hawthorn Project)
  • CBT for Psychosis & Trauma Handouts | Source: Recovery from Schizophrenia and other Psychotic Disorders
  • Early Psychosis Intervention: Downloads | Source: EPI
  • Goal-Setting Worksheet for Patients with Schizophrenia | 3-page PDF (Source: Med-IQ
  • List of 60 Coping Strategies for Hallucinations | 2-page PDF (Source: South Bay Project Resource)
  • Treatment for Schizophrenia Worksheet Pack | 6-page PDF packet (Source: Dr. Michael DiPaolo, PhD)

Grief & Loss

  • Activities for Grieving Children | 7-page PDF packet (Source: Youth Light)
  • Bereavement Handouts | A small collection of handouts (Source: Hospice & Palliative Care)
  • The Center for Complicated Grief: Handouts | Assessments, handouts, and guides (Source: The Center for Complicated Grief)
  • A Child’s Understanding of Death | 11-page packet (Source: Pikes Peak Hospice)
  • Grief Recovery Pyramid | 7-page PDF packet (Source: Arlene Taylor, PhD)
  • Loss, Grief, Bereavement Supplemental Teaching Materials/Training Session Activities Contents | 35-page PDF packet (Source: Hospice Education Network)
  • MyGriefAssist: Grief Factsheets | Source: MyGriefAssist
  • OneLegacy: Handouts to Download and Print | Handouts on grief and loss (Source: OneLegacy)
  • Printable Grief and Loss Resources | A fairly extensive collection of printable handouts on grief and loss (Source: Hamilton’s Funeral & After Life Services)
  • Worksheets to Help Those Coping with Grief | A collection of handouts/worksheets for download (Source: Peacefully)
  • Anger: Causes and Coping Strategies | 14-page PDF packet (Source: Indian Railway Psycho-Technical Directorate)
  • Anger Management | 13-page PDF packet (Source: Carleton University, Criminal Justice Decision Making Laboratory & Ontario Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services)
  • Anger Management Techniques | 4-page PDF (Source: Hellenic College Holy Cross)
  • Anger Management Tools | A short list of downloadable resources (Source: Tim’s Resource Notebook)
  • Anger Management Worksheets | A few free therapy worksheets/handouts for anger (Source: Anger Management Resource)
  • Dealing with Anger | 7-page PDF packet (Source: Inner Health Studio)
  • Free Anger Management Worksheets: Letting Go of Anger | A small collection of worksheets for anger management (Source: Gentle Stress Relief)
  • Getting to Know Your Anger | 42-page PDF packet (Source: Wellness Reproductions)
  • LoveToKnow: Free Anger Worksheets | 7 downloadable anger management worksheets (Source: LoveToKnow)
  • Steps for Change: Anger Management Worksheets | Source: Steps for Change


  • Free Self-Esteem Worksheets | Source: Self-Esteem 2 Go
  • Growing Self-Esteem: Self-Esteem Worksheets | Source: Growing-Self-Esteem.com
  • My 101 Accomplishments | 6-page PDF booklet (Source: Rec Therapy Today)
  • Self-Esteem Activities | A modest collection of handouts/activities for self-esteem (Source: Doorways to Self-Esteem)
  • Self-Esteem Experts: Self-Esteem Activities | Printable handouts on self-esteem (Source: Self-Esteem Experts)
  • Spiritual Self-Schema Development Worksheets: Yale School of Medicine
  • Strategies to Build Healthy Self-Esteem | 7-page PDF packet (Source: McGill)

Values & Goal-Setting

  • 10 Free Printable Goal-Setting Worksheets | Source: Parade
  • Core Values and Essential Intentions Worksheet | 2-page PDF worksheet (Source: Life Balance Institute)
  • Core Values Clarification Exercise | 4-page PDF worksheet (Source: University of Wisconsin-Madison Division of Extension)
  • Core Values Worksheet | 4-page PDF (Source: Mike Desjardins)
  • Life Values Inventory | 5-page PDF (Source: Brown, Duane & R. Kelly Crace, 1996, Life Values Resources, [email protected])
  • Personal Values Card Sort | 9-page PDF (Source: Miller, C’de Baca, Matthews, Wilbourne, 2001, University of New Mexico)
  • Values | 2-page PDF worksheet (Source: Miller, C’de Baca, Matthews, 1994, Values Card Sort, University of New Mexico)
  • Values and Goals Worksheet | 1-page PDF worksheet (Source: James Drew, LPC)
  • Values Assessment Worksheet | 2-page PDF worksheet (Source: Carleton University)
  • Values Exercise | 2-page PDF worksheet (Source: TapRooT)
  • Values Identification Worksheet | 6-page PDF worksheet (Source: Synergy Institute Online)
  • What Are My Values? | 4-page PDF worksheet (Source: stephaniefrank.com)

Wellness & Resiliency

  • Assessing Your Life Balance | 3-page PDF (Source: UCI)
  • The Blissful Mind: Wellness Wheel | A 5-page PDF packet
  • Counseling Library: Handouts on Emotional Wellness | Source: Morning Light Counseling
  • Dearborn County CASA: 8 Dimensions of Wellness | 4 wellness downloads
  • Essential Life Skills: Self-Help Worksheets | A collection of free downloadable tools and therapy worksheets on topics related to wellness, balance, and resilience
  • Experiential Group Exercises for Shame-Resilience | 4-page PDF packet with questions for discussion and group activities (Source: Haymarket Center)
  • Free Printable Self-Improvement Worksheets | Source: Holistic Life by Kate
  • Free Tools | Handouts, worksheets, and workbooks including mindful coloring sheets (Source: The Wellness Society)
  • Handouts and Worksheets | 21-page PDF packet with handouts and worksheets on self-care topics (Source: Psychological First Aid for Schools Field Operations Guide)
  • Hoffman Institute Tools | Downloadable tools for change (Source: Hoffman Institute)
  • Homework and Handouts for Clients | Handouts and worksheets related to self-compassion (Source: ACT With Compassion)
  • Managing Emotional Intelligence | 7-page PDF packet (Source: Moxie Consulting, Inc.)
  • Personal Development | Handouts on resilience, communication, etc. (Source: Workplace Strategies for Mental Health)
  • Relaxing Mindfulness Activities for Teens | Change to Chill | Printable worksheets, coloring sheets, and DIY activities (Source: Change to Chill) 🆕
  • Self-Care and Wellness Resources | Printable handouts and tools (Source: irenegreene.com)
  • Self-Care Starter Kit | Handouts on self-care topics (Source: UB School of Social Work)
  • University of Utah Health: Wellness Educational Materials | Downloadable handouts on health topics
  • U.S. Department of Veterans: The Healing Power of Hope and Optimism | A 5-page PDF
  • UW Integrative Health: Clinician and Patient Education | Downloadable tools on health and wellness topics
  • Wellness Toolkits | Printable toolkits (Source: NIH)
  • Realize Your Meaning & Purpose
  • Engage with Others
  • Identify Possibilities
  • Identify Strengths & Values
  • Emotional Management
  • Create a Resilient Mindset
  • Expand Your Perspective

ACT, CBT, & DBT Therapy Worksheets

  • ACT Mindfully: Worksheets, Book Chapters & ACT Made Simple | ACT worksheets and other free resources (Source: ACT Mindfully)
  • Carolina Integrative Psychotherapy: Forms and Worksheets for Clients and Group Participants | A small collection of DBT therapy worksheets and handouts (Source: Carolina Integrative Psychotherapy)
  • Carol Lozier, LCSW: Dialectical Behavior Therapy Printables: Worksheets and Handouts | A small collection of DBT handouts and worksheets (Source: Carol Lozier, LCSW)
  • Cognitive Therapy Skills | 33-page packet (Source: Michigan Medicine)
  • Counseling Library: Handouts on CBT Skills and Strategies | Source: Morning Light Counseling
  • Clinician Worksheets and Handouts: Clinician Treatment Tools | A variety of CBT, DBT, etc. therapy worksheets (Source: Coping.us)
  • DBT Peer Connections: DBT Handouts and Worksheets | DBT resources (Source: DBT Peer Connections)
  • DBT Self-Help | Printable lessons and diary cards (Source: DBT Self-Help)
  • DBT Work Sheets Index | Source: Dialectical Behavioral Skills Training
  • Dr. Grant Blashki: CBT Worksheets | A small collection of downloadable therapy worksheets (Source: Dr. Grant Blashki)
  • Dr. John Forsyth: Free Resources | Two free packets of worksheets (ACT and mindfulness) (Source: Dr. John Forsyth)
  • Dr. Jonathan S. Abramowitz: Free Stuff for Consumers and Professionals
  • Intro to DBT (Handouts & Worksheets) | 8-page PDF (Source: Peer-Guided DBT Lessons)
  • Living CBT: Free Self-Help | 20+ CBT worksheets (Source: Living CBT)
  • Online CBT Resources | Worksheets and questionnaires from Andrew Grimmer, a counselling psychologist and accredited cognitive behavioural psychotherapist in the UK (Source: Online CBT Resources)
  • Printable Versions of CPT/CBT Worksheets | English and Spanish worksheets (Source: F.A.S.T. Lab at Stanford Medicine)
  • Veronica Walsh’s CBT Blog: Free Downloadable Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Worksheets/Handouts | Print/use these therapy worksheets only with blog author’s permission (Source: Veronica Walsh’s CBT Blog Dublin, Ireland)

Therapy Worksheets for Children & Youth

  • A Collection of Anger Management/Impulse Control Activities & Lesson Plans (PreK-3rd Grade) | 64-page PDF packet (Source: Childcare Consultation Staff)
  • Activities for Grieving Children | 7-page PDF (Source: Youth Light)
  • Cope-Cake: Coping Skills Worksheets and Game | 30-page packet for young children/students (Source: Closet Counselor)
  • Crossroads Counseling Center: Resources | Handouts on depression, anxiety, ADHD, etc. in children (Source: Crossroads Counseling Center)
  • Curriculum Materials from Pennsylvania Child Welfare Resource Center | Links to handouts (Source: University of Pittsburgh, School of Social Work)
  • Emotional Intelligence Activities for Children Ages 5-7 | 34-page PDF packet (Source: Ohio National Guard Family Readiness and Warrior Support Program Youth Programs)
  • Emotional Intelligence Activities for Children Ages 8-10 | 33-page PDF packet (Source: Ohio National Guard Family Readiness and Warrior Support Program Youth Programs)
  • Mylemarks: Free Downloads | Therapy worksheets for children (Source: Mylemarks)
  • Oklahoma TF-CBT Therapy Resources | Printable trauma-focused handouts and assessments for therapists to use with children and adolescents (Source: Oklahoma TF-CBT Therapy Resources)
  • 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 | 74-page PDF packet (Source: Los Angeles Unified School District)
  • Social Skills Worksheets | A packet of therapy worksheets to use with children/youth (Source: Julie MacRae & Sara Noble, Minneapolis Public Schools)
  • Stress Reduction Activities for Students | 20-page PDF packet (Source: Student, Family, and Community Support Department)
  • Thriving at Home: Telehealth Play Therapy Activities for Licensed Therapists | 15-page PDF packet with activities for therapists to use with children and families (Source: MindPeace Cincinnati)

Therapy Worksheets for Adolescents & Young Adults

  • 101 Wellness Tips for College Students | A 7-page PDF (Source: Stetson)
  • Brescia University College: Resource Toolbox | Downloadable tools for students
  • Emotional Intelligence Activities for Pre-Teens Ages 11-12 | 33-page PDF packet (Source: Ohio National Guard Family Readiness and Warrior Support Program Youth Programs)
  • Emotional Intelligence Activities for Teens Ages 13-18 | 34-page PDF packet (Source: Ohio National Guard Family Readiness and Warrior Support Program Youth Programs)
  • Eppler-Wolff Counseling Center Handouts | Handouts for college students (Source: Union College)
  • Just for Teens: A Personal Plan for Managing Stress | 7-page PDF handout (Source: American Academy of Pediatrics from Reaching Teens: Strength-Based Communication Strategies to Build Resilience and Support Healthy Adolescent Development )
  • Oregon State University: Learning Corner | Student worksheets on time management, wellness, organization skills, etc. (Source: Oregon State University Academic Success Center)
  • The Relaxation Room | Self-care and stress management handouts for college students (Source: Andrews University)
  • Resilience Toolkit | PDF handouts for college students on resiliency (Source: Winona State University)
  • Self-Help Resources | Links to articles for college students on a variety of topics (not in PDF form) (Source: Metropolitan Community College Counseling Services)
  • Step UP! Resource Library | Worksheets/handouts for students on prosocial behavior and bystander intervention (Source: Step UP!)
  • Teens Finding Hope: Worksheets and Information to Download | Spanish and English PDFs available (Source: Teens Finding Hope)
  • Tip Sheets | Student tip sheets on anger, body image, relationships, and other topics (Source: Meredith College Counseling Center)
  • Tools & Checklists | Therapy worksheets and handouts for students (Source: Campus Mind Works, University of Michigan)
  • UC Berkeley University Health Services Resources | Links to handouts, articles, and self-help tools for students (UC Berkeley)
  • 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 (Source: WCU)
  • Your Life Your Voice: Tips and Tools | Links to articles and PDF printables on a variety of topics for teens and young adults (Source: Your Life Your Voice from Boys Town)

Therapy Worksheets for Marriage/Relationships & Family

  • 12 Types of Intimacy | Source: Tim’s Resource Notebook
  • 21 Couples Therapy Worksheets, Techniques, & Activities | Source: Positive Psychology
  • Articles for Parenting | Links to various articles/handouts (not in PDF form) (Source: MomMD)
  • Counseling Library: Handouts on Gender Differences | Source: Morning Light Counseling
  • Dialogue Question Ideas | Source: Tim’s Resource Notebook
  • Emotionally Focused Therapy: Forms for Couples | A list of forms to use in EFT couples counseling (Source: Training and Research Institute for Emotionally Focused Therapy Alliant)
  • Exercises for Forgiveness | 7-page PDF for recovering from an emotional affair (Source: Emotional Affair Journey)
  • Focus on Feelings | Source: Tim’s Resource Notebook
  • Healthy Boundaries | 3-page PDF handout (Source: Larry L. Winckles)
  • Healthy Boundaries Program | 15-page PDF packet (Source: The University of Toledo Police Department)
  • Healthy Boundaries vs. Unhealthy Boundaries | 6-page PDF handout (Source: kimsaeed.com)
  • Homework Page: Tools for Growth and Communication | Therapy worksheets, handouts, and assessments for couples and families (Source: Present Centered Therapy)
  • How We Love: Freebies | A small collection of free downloads (Source: How We Love)
  • Imago Work-Up Exercise | 2-page PDF (Source: The Mindful Ecotherapy Center)
  • Joy2MeU | A collection of articles by Robert Burney on relationships, codependency, and related topics (not in PDF form) (Source: Joy2MeU.com)
  • Learning to Forgive: The 5 Steps to Forgiveness | 6-page PDF handout (Source: Thriveworks)
  • My Marriage/Relationship: Where Am I Now? | Source: Tim’s Resource Notebook
  • New Beginnings Family Counseling: Handouts | Handouts on communication, attachment styles, emotions, etc. (Source: New Beginnings Family Counseling)
  • Parenting Worksheets | 14-page PDF packet for parents (Source: Sheffield Safeguarding Children Board) 🆕
  • Pasadena Marriage Counseling: Free Marriage Counseling Resources | A small collection of worksheets for couples therapy (Source: Pasadena Marriage Counseling)
  • Radical Forgiveness: Free Tools | A small collection of therapy worksheets on forgiveness (Source: Radical Forgiveness)
  • Relationship Communication | Source: Tim’s Resource Notebook
  • Relationship Worksheet | Source: Tim’s Resource Notebook
  • Resources & Information | A collection of articles, handouts, and assessments for marriage and relationships (Source: The Relationship Institute)
  • Signs of Unhealthy Boundaries | 6-page PDF handout (Source: Healing Private Wounds)
  • Thriving Couples Hierarchy | Source: Tim’s Resource Notebook
  • Worksheets for Couples | Faith-based therapy worksheets/handouts (Source: Hope Couples)

Additional Therapy Worksheets & Handouts

  • 8 Helpful “Letting Go of Resentment” Worksheets | Links to PDF therapy worksheets (Source: Invisible Lioness)
  • Acorns to Oaktrees: Eating Disorder Worksheets/Eating Disorder Forms | A small collection of handouts for eating disorders (Source: Acorns to Oaktrees)
  • Activity eBooks | A collection of downloadable workbooks on self-esteem, social skills, emotions, etc. (Source: Rec Therapy Today)
  • ADHD ReWired: Therapy Worksheets | Thought records, behavior charts, and other tools (Source: ADHD ReWired)
  • Alzheimer’s Association: Downloadable Resources | Handouts on Alzheimer’s (Source: Alzheimer’s Association)
  • Attitudes and Behaviour | 9-page PDF packet on criminal thinking (Source: Carleton University, Criminal Justice Decision Making Laboratory & Ontario Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services)
  • Commonly Prescribed Psychotropic Medications | 4-page PDF (Source: NAMI Minnesota)
  • Conflict Resolution Skills | 6-page PDF packet (Source: Edmonds College)
  • Coping Skills | 2-page PDF worksheet (Source: Temple University)
  • Counseling Library: Handouts on Personality Differences | Source: Morning Light Counseling
  • EDA Step Worksheets | 37-page packet (Source: Eating Disorders Anonymous)
  • Free Mindfulness Worksheets | A large collection of mindfulness handouts (Source: Mindfulness Exercises)
  • Free, Printable Coloring Pages for Adults | Source: The Spruce Crafts
  • GoYourOwnWay Document Downloads | Downloads for veterans on various topics (Source: GoYourOwnWay)
  • Guilt vs. Shame Infographic: National Institute for the Clinical Application of Behavioral Medicine | Printable infographic to illustrate the differences (Source: NICABM)
  • Integrated Health and Mental Health Care Tools | Downloadable resources from UIC Center (Source: University of Illinois at Chicago)
  • International OCD Foundation: Assessments & Worksheets | Handouts for use with individuals with OCD (Source: IOCDF)
  • Managing Your OCD at Home | 7-page PDF packet (Source: Anxiety Canada)
  • Motivation To Change | 16-page PDF packet on motivation to change criminal behavior (Source: Carleton University, Criminal Justice Decision Making Laboratory & Ontario Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services)
  • Multicultural Psychology: Downloadable Worksheets & Documents
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder: Identification and Self-Help Strategies | 10-page PDF packet (Source: University of Alberta)
  • Peers & Relationships | 12-page PDF packet on how associates impact criminal behavior (Source: Carleton University, Criminal Justice Decision Making Laboratory & Ontario Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services)
  • Prochaska and DiClemente’s Stages of Change Model | 4-page PDF handout (Source: Step UP!)
  • Quick Reference to Psychotropic Medication | Downloadable PDF chart (Source: John Preston, PsyD)
  • Reducing Self-Harm | 5-page PDF (Source: Students Against Depression)
  • Self-Directed Recovery | Downloadable resources (Source: UIC Center)
  • Shame Psychoeducation Handout | 5-page PDF handout (Source: Association for Contextual Behavioral Science)
  • Stages of Change: Primary Tasks | 2-page PDF handout (Source: UCLA Integrated Substance Abuse Programs)
  • Telehealth Therapy Resources | A collection of therapy worksheets and resources (Telehealth Therapy Resources)
  • Understanding and Coping with Guilt and Shame | 4-page PDF handout (Source: Taking the Escalator)

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

free therapy worksheets

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Author: Cassie Jewell

Cassie Jewell has a Master's degree in counseling and is a licensed professional counselor (LPC), licensed substance abuse treatment practitioner (LSATP), and board-approved clinical supervisor in Virginia. View all posts by Cassie Jewell

15 thoughts on “200+ Sites with Free Therapy Worksheets & Handouts”

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Any Richard Swartz Internal Family Systems or EMDR material?

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This is a wonderful collection of materials

Patricia Swick Ottawa Ontario

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this is woderful , this kind of writing and site will change the lives of millions of people thanks a lot from Program your Mind for ultimate Success

Thank you for providing these free resources to the public.

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therapy group worksheets

Therapy Resources

To receive access to all of the material on this page, you must be a member..

Click here to join!

•Please email [email protected] with any questions!

For resources for children, click here .

•Handout: Signs of ADHD in Teens & Adults 

•Worksheet: Distractions  • Worksheet: Situation-Difficulties-Response 

•Task Cards: Anger Management

-For adults

•Handout: Anger Management Tips  •Handout: Anger Rules •Handout: Dealing With Another Person’s Anger

• Worksheet: Consequences (printable PDF)

therapy group worksheets

•Worksheet: Criticism  •Worksheet: External & Internal Triggers  •Worksheet: Healthy vs. Unhealthy Anger  •Worksheet: I Struggle To/With… •Worksheet: Levels of Anger •Worksheet: Trigger-Response V. 1 •Worksheet: Trigger-Response V. 2

Guide: Introduction to Anger

•Supplemental material: Worksheet: Anger Coping Skills 

•Supplemental material: Link to Relaxation Scripts

Guide: Journal Topics

Guide: My Anger 

•Supplemental material: Activity: My Anger

Guide: Resentment

•Supplemental material: Handout: Resentment (printable PDF)

•Supplemental material: Worksheet: Resentment

Guide: Riding the Wave

•Supplemental material: Activity: Riding the Wave

Guide: Self-Talk (printable PDF)

•Supplemental material: Handout: Positive vs. Negative Self-Talk

Guide: The A-B-C-D Model 

•Supplemental material: Handout: The A-B-C-D Model

•Supplemental material: Worksheet: Applying The A-B-C-D Model

Guide: The “Umbrella” Emotion

•Supplemental material:  Handout: Anger= “Umbrella” Emotion (printable PDF)  

therapy group worksheets

•Cards: “My Mantra” 

•Handout: Remember to Breathe! 

• Worksheet: Anxiety Feels Like… •Worksheet: Anxiety Tracker •Worksheet: Anxious Thought & How to Challenge/Cope •Worksheet: Are My Anxious Thoughts True? •Worksheet: Breathing Rate (Chart) •Worksheet: Coping Statement

• Worksheet: Handling Anxiety (printable PDF)

•Worksheet: My Anxiety Triggers •Worksheet: My Mantra

• Worksheet: My Stressors (printable PDF)

therapy group worksheets

•Worksheet: Preparing for Anxiety  • Worksheet: Situations That Give me Anxiety •Worksheet: Social Anxiety (My Thoughts)  •Worksheet: Stress Reactions

• Worksheet: The “5 Senses” Exercise (printable PDF)

therapy group worksheets

• Worksheet: The Clutter in my Mind (printable PDF)

•Worksheet: Things I Need To Let Go Of 

Guide: 3 Simple Steps to Manage Anxiety

•Supplemental material: Handout: The 3 Steps 

•Supplemental material: Link to Relaxation Scripts & Breathing Exercises

Guide: Don’t Fear Your Fears!

•Supplemental material: Worksheet: Situations I Fear

Guide: Factors That Lead to Anxiety

Guide: Is This Worry Worth my Time?

•Supplemental material: Handout: Quotes 

•Supplemental material: Worksheet: How to Approach Our Anxious Thoughts 

Guide: Leaving My “Comfort Zone”

•Supplemental material: Handout: Overcoming Your Fear of Leaving “Comfort Zone” 

Guide: Managing Stress

•Supplemental material: Handout: Ways to Manage Stress 

•Supplemental material: Worksheet: How Do You Know When You Are Stressed?

Guide: Managing Triggers

•Supplemental material: Triggers 

Guide: Overthinking

•Supplemental material: Handout: Am I an Overthinker?

Guide: What I Can and Cannot Control

•Supplemental material: Handout: Serenity Prayer

•Supplemental material: Worksheet: What I Can and Cannot Control

• Worksheet: Mood Tracker •Worksheet: My Plan of Action   

• Worksheet: My Warning Signs (printable PDF)

•Worksheet: Symptoms

Guide: Mood Swings

•Supplemental material: Handout: Managing Mood Swings

•Supplemental material: Handout: Manic vs. Depressive State 

♦Cognitive Distortions *has CBT & DBT focused material

• Task Cards: Cognitive Distortions 

•Task Cards: Cognitive Distortions

•Task Cards: Flexible Mindset

•Handout: Is This Thought… 

•Worksheet: Acceptance •Worksheet: CBT Practice V. 1

• Worksheet: CBT Practice V. 2 (printable PDF)

•Worksheet: Challenging Thoughts

• Worksheet: Cognitive Distortions (printable PDF)

therapy group worksheets

•Worksheet: DBT Distress Tolerance Strategy- Self-Soothe •Worksheet: Inner Critic vs. Self-Compassion  •Worksheet: Myths We Hold •Worksheet: New Thought + Evidence •Worksheet: Restructure Thought  •Worksheet: Self-Destructive Cycle •Worksheet: Thought-Core Belief •Worksheet: Thought-Distortion-Response •Worksheet: Thought-Emotion

• Worksheet: Tracking Thoughts (printable PDF)

therapy group worksheets

Guide: Challenging Cognitive Distortions

•Supplemental material: Link to “Cognitive Therapy Techniques to Change Your Thoughts”

Guide: Challenging Cognitive Distortions #2

•Supplemental material: Handout: Questions to Challenge Cognitive Distortions 

Guide: Core Beliefs (printable PDF)

•supplemental material:  worksheet: identifying our core beliefs (printable pdf).

Guide: Definitions & Examples

•Supplemental material: Handout: Definitions 

Guide: Overreacting

•Supplemental material: Worksheet: Catastrophizing 

Guide: Perfectionism (printable PDF)

•supplemental material:  worksheet: my high standards (printable pdf).

Guide: Replacing Automatic Thoughts

•Supplemental material: Link to “Automatic Thoughts”

Guide: The A-B-C-D Model

•Also under “Anger”

Guide: The Dangers of Labeling

•Supplemental material: Worksheet: Labeling

Guide: The Judgmental Mind

•Supplemental material: Handout: Quote

•Supplemental material: Handout: Tackling Distorted Thoughts (About Ourselves)

Guide: The Wise Mind 

•Supplemental material: Handout: The Wise Mind

•Supplemental material:  Worksheet: The Wise Mind

•Supplemental material: Link to Meditation Scripts

Guide: Using Mindfulness

•Supplemental material: Worksheet: Observing Our Thoughts  


• Task Cards: Communication Skills

•Handout: “You” Statements vs “I” Statements (Examples) 

• Worksheet: Aggressive vs. Passive vs. Passive-Aggressive vs. Assertive Response (printable PDF)

therapy group worksheets

•Worksheet: I Struggle To Communicate With… •Worksheet: Practicing “I” Statements •Worksheet: Saying “No”  •Worksheet: What Is Said vs. What I Hear 

Guide: Communication Styles

•Supplemental material: Link to “The Four Basic Styles of Communication”

Guide: The 5 Love Languages

•Supplemental material: Link to “Five Love Languages Summary” & “Love Language Quiz”

Guide: The Drawing Game


• Task Cards: Conflict-Resolution (printable PDF)

therapy group worksheets

•Task Cards: Cyber Scenarios 

•Task Cards: Peer Pressure 

•Worksheet: Choice/Solution Pros & Cons  •Worksheet: Conflict & Compromise •Worksheet: De-Escalation V. 1 •Worksheet: De-Escalation V. 2 •Worksheet: Dilemma and Choices  •Worksheet: Fair Fighting Rules •Worksheet: Steps I Can Take to Resolve Conflict  •Worksheet: The Do’s & Don’ts of Conflict

•Activity: Bullying and Peer Pressure

Guide: Conflict-Resolution Tips

•Supplemental material: Handout: Conflict-Resolution Tips 

Guide: Effective vs. Ineffective Responses 

•Supplemental material: Worksheet: Conflict-Response-Consequences (printable PDF)

•Supplemental material: Worksheet: Effective vs. Ineffective Responses (Version for Adults)

•Supplemental material: Worksheet: Effective vs. Ineffective Responses (Version for Teens)

♦Coping Skills

• Task Cards: Mindfulness 

•Cards: Coping Skills

•Cards/Activity: How Can I Help Myself? 

•Cards: Practicing Mindfulness 

•Cards/Activity: Progressive Muscle Relaxation 

•Misc. Journal Prompts 

•Handout: Breathing Exercise (4-7-8) •Handout: Breathing Exercise (Flower) •Handout: Grounding Techniques •Handout: Handling Distractions During Mindful Exercises •Handout: List of Coping Skills •Handout: The “5 Senses” Exercise

•Worksheet: Emotions  •Worksheet: How I Cope •Worksheet: My Go-To Coping Skills  •Worksheet: My Support System V. 1 •Worksheet: My Support System V. 2 •Worksheet: Old vs. New Coping Skills  •Worksheet: Relapse Prevention Plan •Worksheet: Situation & Feeling-Coping Tool-My Response •Worksheet: Trigger-Plan-Obstacles

Guide: Art #2

Guide: Breathing Exercises, PMR, and Guided Imagery

Guide: Master List of Coping Skills

•Supplemental material: Worksheet: My Favorite Coping Skills 

Guide: Music (printable PDF)

•Supplemental material: Worksheet: My Playlist

Guide: Negative Coping Skills

Guide: Using Humor

•Supplemental material: Tongue Twisters

•Supplemental material: Worksheet: What Makes Me Laugh


• Worksheet: Depressed Mood (printable PDF)

•Worksheet: Depression Feels Like…

• Worksheet: Thinking Patterns (printable PDF)

therapy group worksheets

•Worksheet: When I Feel Gloomy, I Can… •Worksheet: When I Feel Low, I Have These Thoughts…

Guide: Fixed Mindset vs. Growth Mindset

•Supplemental material: Handout: Fixed vs. Growth Mindset 

Guide: Hope (printable PDF)

Guide: Risk Factors

Guide: Symptoms of Depression

Guide: What is Holding me Down?

•Supplemental material: Activity: What is Holding me Down?

•Supplemental material: Worksheet: The Importance of “Letting Go” 

♦Eating Disorders + Body Image

•Worksheet: Body Comparisons 

Guide: Secrecy

•Supplemental material: Worksheet: My Secrets

♦Emotional Awareness

• Task Cards: Emotions Card Game (printable PDF)

•Task Cards: Emotions Card Game V. 2 

• Task Cards: I Feel… (printable PDF)  

•Task Cards: Feelings

•Worksheet: Exploring My Emotions  •Worksheet: My First Reaction Is Usually To…  •Worksheet: Other Ways To Say… •Worksheet: The Emotions I Swallow  •Worksheet: Today I Feel… •Worksheet: Trigger-Emotion-Reaction •Worksheet: Uncomfortable Emotions V. 1 •Worksheet: Uncomfortable Emotions V. 2 

•Activity: If My Feelings Were… 

•Also under “Icebreakers”

Guide: Avoiding Emotions

Guide: Guess the Emotion

•Supplemental material: Activity: Guess the Emotion 

Guide: Guilt & Shame

•Supplemental material:  Handout: Guilt vs. Shame (printable PDF)

Guide: Uncomfortable Emotions

•Supplemental material: Icebreaker/Opener 

•Worksheet: 5 Things I Want You To Know About My Family

Guide: “Invisible” Family Rules

•Supplemental material: Worksheet: “Invisible” Family Rules

Guide: Parenting Styles

Guide: The Roles in an Addict’s Family

•Also under “Substance Abuse”

•Worksheet: Action Steps  •Worksheet: Category, Goal, Steps •Worksheet: In 5 Years, I Will… •Worksheet: My Goal V. 1 •Worksheet: My Goal V. 2  •Worksheet: My Goal For… 

Guide: A Balanced Life

•Supplemental material: Activity: A Balanced Life

•Supplemental material: Handout: Tips on Finding & Maintaining Balance 

Guide: Goal-Setting

•Supplemental material: Worksheet: Goals

♦Grief & Loss

•Worksheet: Grief Reactions •Worksheet: Honoring Who I Lost •Worksheet: It’s Okay To… •Worksheet: My Favorite Memories •Worksheet: Stages of Grief

•Activity: Traits of the Person I Lost 

Guide: Chain of Events (printable PDF)

•Supplemental material: Activity: Chain of Events

Guide: Fearing the Future

•Supplemental material: Worksheet: Future Fears

Guide: Feelings

•Supplemental material: Worksheet: My Grieving Process

•Supplemental material: Worksheet: The Emotions I’ve Felt Throughout The Grieving Process

Guide: Introduction to Grief & Loss

•Supplemental material: Link to Poem

Guide: Letter

•Supplemental material: Activity: Letter

Guide: My Guilt

•Supplemental material: Handout: Feeling Guilt While Grieving

•Supplemental material: Worksheet: I Feel Guilty For…

Guide: Myths About Grief (printable PDF)

•Supplemental material: Myths/Misconceptions 

•Supplemental material: Handout Version: Myths/Misconceptions 

Guide: The Ripple Effects of Loss (printable PDF)

•Supplemental material: Activity: The Ripple Effects of Loss

•Supplemental material: Handout: Secondary Losses

♦ LGBTQ & Gender Identity

•Handout: Gender Identity 


•Task Cards: End-Of-The-Week Reflection Questions

•Cards: Hotline Numbers 

•Cards: Inspirational/Feel-Good Quotes

•Cards/Activity: Mindfulness, Spirituality, & Related Topics

•Cards/Activity: What I Take Away From Today/Accomplished/Improved/Struggled With

• Case Note •Intervention Documentation •Questions to Ask + Things to Discuss With Doctor/Psychiatrist •Therapy/Counseling Homework Assignment for Client

•Worksheet: Changes I Want to Make •Worksheet: Change vs. No Change (Pros & Cons)  •Worksheet: I Feel, I Need, I Want •Worksheet: I Forgive Myself For…  

• Worksheet: I May… But… (printable PDF)

•Worksheet: Medication Log •Worksheet: New Medication •Worksheet: Mistakes •Worksheet: Protective Factors •Worksheet: Review of Progress

• Worksheet: Setbacks (printable PDF)

therapy group worksheets

•Worksheet: Sleep •Worksheet: Weekly Activity Schedule •Worksheet: What I’ve Learned & Hope To Learn

•Activity: Values •Activity: We Will Discuss… 

Guide: Challenging Stereotypes

Guide: Courage

•Supplemental material: Handout: Quote on Courage 

•Supplemental material: Worksheet: Courage

Guide: Empathy

•Supplemental material: Scenarios 

Guide: Internal vs. External Motivation

Guide: Self-Sabotage 

•Supplemental material: Worksheet: Self-Sabotage V. 1

•Supplemental material: Worksheet: Self-Sabotage V. 2 

♦ Relationships

•Worksheet: Clarifying My Boundaries •Worksheet: Past Relationships Have Taught Me…

•Activity: Behaviors & Patterns in Relationships (Healthy, Unhealthy, & Abusive) •Activity: Healthy Relationships

Guide: Boundaries 

•Supplemental material: Handout: Boundaries 

•Supplemental material: Worksheet: My Boundaries

Guide: How Songs Shape Our Views

Guide: Regaining Lost Trust

•Supplemental material: Handout: Regaining Trust

•Supplemental material: Worksheet: Regaining Lost Trust

•Supplemental material: Worksheet: What Does It Mean To Trust Someone?

Guide: Should I Stay or Should I Go

•Supplemental material: Handout: Healthy vs. Unhealthy Relationships

• Cards: Self-Care (printable PDF)  

therapy group worksheets

•Handout: Examples of Self-Care

• Worksheet: Hygiene 

• Worksheet: Meeting My Needs (printable PDF)

• Worksheet: My Self-Care Plan •Worksheet: Signs, Strategies, & Changes to Make


•Task Cards: Gratitude

•Task Cards: Self-Esteem

•Cards: My Positive Affirmation

• Cards/Activity: Positive Affirmations (printable PDF)

therapy group worksheets

•Cards: Self-Love Challenge

•Self-Esteem Calendar 

•Worksheet: 5 Things… •Worksheet: Assessing My Strengths  •Worksheet: I’m Grateful For…  •Worksheet: My Top 5 Strengths •Worksheet: Negative Self-Talk  •Worksheet: Practicing Positive Self-Talk •Worksheet: Reframing Thoughts

• Worksheet: Self-Critical Thought & Responses (printable PDF)

therapy group worksheets

•Worksheet: Steps I Can Take to Improve My Self-Esteem 

•Activity: Love Letter to Yourself (Templates)

Guide: Factors that Contribute to Low Self-Esteem

•Supplemental material: Worksheet: My Self-Esteem

Guide: How to Create a Mantra

•Supplemental material: Worksheet: Creating a Mantra

Guide: Inspirational Quotes

•Use this: A Quote To Inspire

Guide: Learning From Failure

•Supplemental material: Worksheet: Lessons Learned From Failure 

Guide: Note to Each Other

•Supplemental material: Templates 

Guide: Positive Traits

•Supplemental material: Worksheet: My Positive Traits 

Guide: Self-Esteem Cards

Guide: Toot Your Horn

•Supplemental material: Link to “Toot Your Horn Worksheet”

Guide: What Animal am I Most Like?

•Worksheet: After Self-Harming… •Worksheet: If I Have The Urge to Self-Harm… •Worksheet: What I Was Trying to Accomplish

Guide: Emotional Turmoil

•Supplemental material: Handout: Healthier Ways to Cope

•Supplemental material: Worksheet: Turmoil vs. Stability

•Supplemental material: Worksheet: The Emotions That Lead Me To Self-Harm

Guide: Timeline

•Supplemental material: Handout: Factors That Lead to Self-Harm

♦Substance Abuse

•Task Cards: Substance Abuse

•Cards: Mantras for Substance Abuse 

• The 12 Steps (printable PDF)

therapy group worksheets

•The 12 Steps (Handout Version) 

•Handout: H.A.L.T •Handout: How Alcohol Can Affect You •Handout: Maintaining Sobriety During COVID- 19 •Handout: Serenity Prayer •Handout: Sobriety Isn’t Owned…

•Worksheet: Addiction & Sobriety Looks Like, Feels Like… • Worksheet: Barrier to Maintaining Sobriety

• Worksheet: Behaviors and Consequences (printable PDF) • Worksheet: Changes to Make at Home (printable PDF)

therapy group worksheets

•Worksheet: Drinking in Moderation •Worksheet: Instant Gratification & Consequences •Worksheet: My Top 5 Relapse Triggers •Worksheet: Negatives vs. Positives •Worksheet: Relapse (A Look Back)

• Worksheet: Relapse Prevention Plan (printable PDF)

therapy group worksheets

•Worksheet: Relapse Warning Signs  •Worksheet: The Hardest Part of Sobriety •Worksheet: Substance Use Triggers •Worksheet: Support System Roles V. 1 •Worksheet: Support System Roles V. 2 •Worksheet: Urges  •Worksheet: What Does Recovery Look Like To You?  •Worksheet: What Motivates You? •Worksheet: When Facing Temptation… •Worksheet: Where I Am In The Recovery Process •Worksheet: Withdrawal Symptoms

Guide: Accountability

•Supplemental material: Worksheet: Accountability

•Supplemental material: Worksheet: What Does Accountability Mean?

Guide: Consequences

•Supplemental material: Handout: Losing Control

•Supplemental material: Handout: My Consequences

Guide: Developing New Skills  

•Supplemental material: Worksheet: Skills

•Supplemental material: Icebreaker/Opener

Guide: Goodbye Letter

•Supplemental material: Activity: Goodbye Letter

Guide: Having Fun Sober

•Supplemental material: Worksheet: Having Fun Sober

•Supplemental material: Worksheet: Activities I’d Enjoy While Sober

Guide: My Environment

•Supplemental material: Worksheet: My Environment

Guide: Refusal Skills (printable PDF)

•Supplemental material: Handout: Drug/Alcohol Refusal Skills

•Supplemental material:  Worksheet: Practicing Drug/Alcohol Refusal Skills (printable PDF)

•Supplemental material: Role-Play Scenarios

Guide: Regaining Lost Trust 

Guide: The Highs and Lows

•Supplemental material: Worksheet: My Highs & Lows

•Also under “Family”

Guide: Unhealthy Thinking

•Supplemental material:  Handout: Unhealthy Thinking (printable PDF)

•Supplemental material: Worksheet: How I Can Respond to Unhealthy Thinking


•Task Cards: Getting to Know You 

•Task Cards: Random Discussion Questions 

•Worksheet: 5 Things I Admire About My Group Members •Worksheet: 5 Things I Want You To Know About Me •Worksheet: Areas Where We Can Improve As a Group  •Worksheet: How I Am Similar To & Different From My Group Members

•Activity: If You Really Knew Me 

Guide: Create a Poem

Guide: Discussion Questions

•Supplemental material: Questions 

Guide: How Can You Relate to…?

Guide: Who in Group?

• Worksheet: Flashbacks (printable PDF)

• worksheet: how i respond to trauma (printable pdf).

therapy group worksheets

•Worksheet: Trauma & Core Beliefs •Worksheet: Triggers and Symptoms + Behaviors •Worksheet: Trigger vs. Original Trauma •Worksheet: Unhelpful Thoughts (How Trauma Affects Thinking)

Guide: Childhood Sexual Trauma

•Supplemental material: Handout: Childhood Sexual Abuse 

Guide: How Trauma Shapes Our Views 

•Supplemental material: Handout: Resiliency

•Supplemental material: Worksheet: Case Study

•Supplemental material: Worksheet: How Trauma Shapes My Views

Guide: Reacting & Responding to Triggers 

•Supplemental material: Handout: How Our Brain is Impacted by Trauma

•Supplemental material: Worksheet: How I React & Respond to Triggers

Guide: Self-Blame

Guide: Symptoms of PTSD

•Supplemental material: Handout: PTSD Symptoms 


Alphabet Game 

Category Game

Celebrity Game

Getting to Know You 

If My Feelings Were… 

If You Could…?

My Music Match (printable PDF)

therapy group worksheets


Random Discussion Questions 

Scavenger Hunt 

Scramble: Countries

What Comes to Mind… 

Would You Rather…? (printable PDF)



Activity: Letter 

Activity: My Maintenance Plan 

Activity: What I Will Take With Me (printable PDF)  

therapy group worksheets

•COVID- 19 Related Journal Prompts

•Handout: Maintaining Sobriety During COVID- 19 •Handout: Wearing a Mask

•Worksheet: Activities I Can Do Outside •Worksheet: COVID- 19 Related Concerns

Therapy Resources: Children

Theme: Illdy . © Copyright 2020 Jessie Drew, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

33 Group Therapy Activities, Exercises & Questions | Free PDF Download

Discover a comprehensive guide to group therapy activities to facilitate growth, bonding, and self-discovery. Download a free PDF!

Group Therapy Activities

Why are Group Therapy Activities Helpful?

Group therapy activities are incredibly beneficial tools for self-discovery, communication, personal growth, and resilience building. The activities foster an environment of trust, understanding, empathy, and support among group members. They encourage individuals to share personal experiences, thoughts, and feelings, often leading to breakthroughs in understanding and coping strategies.

These activities are versatile and can cater to various groups, including adults, teens, children, and specific demographics like people with addiction or grief. Whether fun group therapy activities designed to relieve tension and promote bonding or motivational group therapy activities to inspire change and growth, each has its unique purpose and benefit.

In essence, group therapy activities are a safe platform for individuals to navigate their feelings, confront their fears, and work towards healthier mental and emotional states alongside others in similar situations.

11 Group Therapy Activities

Group therapy activities offer a structured and engaging way to foster openness, encourage healthy communication, and build a strong sense of community within a group. These activities can be tailored to fit the group's needs and vary from light-hearted games to more serious discussions or artistic expressions. The following eleven activities are practical tools therapists commonly use to achieve therapeutic goals.

1. Ice Breaker Activities

These light-hearted activities, like "Two Truths and a Lie" or "Human Bingo," help members to introduce themselves and feel more comfortable within the group.

2. Problem-Solving Exercises

Activities such as "Survival Scenario" can enhance teamwork and demonstrate the benefits of group decision-making.

3. Role-playing

By acting out different scenarios, members gain insights into various perspectives and learn to navigate social situations.

4. Trust-building Exercises

Exercises like the "Trust Fall" foster trust, connectivity, and support within the group.

5. Art Therapy

Creating a group mural allows members to express their feelings creatively and discuss them with others.

6. Music Therapy

By creating group playlists or engaging in group songwriting, members can connect through shared experiences.

7. Guided Imagery

Relaxation and therapeutic mental images can reduce stress and anxiety within the group.

8. Movement Therapy

Yoga or Tai Chi can be helpful in channeling energy and focus, improving mood, and fostering group cohesion.

9. Gratitude Exercises

Group members share what they are grateful for, which can enhance positive feelings and encourage a positive outlook.

10. Goal-Setting Exercises

Group members share personal goals, and the group works together to develop strategies for achieving them.

11. Themed Discussion Groups

Members discuss topics relevant to their circumstances, such as dealing with grief or overcoming addiction.

11 Group Therapy Exercises

Therapeutic exercises in a group setting aim to engage participants physically, emotionally, and cognitively. They often involve active participation, strengthening members' bonds, encouraging empathy, and promoting personal growth. Each exercise provides a safe space for members to explore their feelings and behaviors, understand others' perspectives, and practice new skills. 

Let's delve into eleven proven group therapy exercises.

1. Collaborative Drawing

Group members contribute to a shared drawing, encouraging cooperation and mutual understanding.

2. Empty Chair Exercise

Participants engage in a dialogue with an 'empty chair,' simulating a conversation with themselves or a significant person.

3. Scavenger Hunt

A fun way to improve team bonding and collaborative skills.

4. Tower Building

Group members build a structure using materials like spaghetti and marshmallows, promoting teamwork and problem-solving skills.

5. Feelings Charades

An engaging way to help members express and recognize different emotions.

6. Progressive Muscle Relaxation

Participants learn to relax their muscles , reducing physical tension and promoting mindfulness.

7. Mask-Making

Members create masks representing their perceived and authentic selves, stimulating introspection and self-understanding.

8. Balloon Exercise

Each member writes a negative thought on a balloon, then pops it, symbolizing the release of negative feelings.

9. Sculpture Exercise

Group members mold playdough or clay to represent an emotion or experience, facilitating non-verbal expression.

10. Eco-Therapy

Outdoor activities like gardening or nature walks help connect members to the natural world and provide therapeutic benefits.

11. Affirmation Exchange

Members write positive affirmations for each other, fostering positivity and group cohesion.

11 Group Therapy Questions

Open-ended questions are invaluable in a group therapy context. They guide the therapy process, prompting self-reflection and stimulating in-depth discussions among members. Individuals can gain new insights into their behaviors, emotions, and relationships through these discussions. Here are eleven thought-provoking questions commonly used in group therapy sessions.

1. What brought you to this group therapy session?

This question helps participants identify their reasons for seeking therapy, which can clarify their goals and motivations.

2. How do you typically handle stress or conflict?

Understanding each member's coping mechanisms allows the group to address unhealthy patterns and develop new, healthier strategies.

3. What are some personal strengths you can share with the group?

Members can boost their self-esteem and contribute to a positive group dynamic by identifying and sharing personal strengths.

4. Can you share a recent challenge and how you dealt with it?

This question encourages members to reflect on their problem-solving skills and share their experiences with the group, which can provide valuable insights and shared learning opportunities.

5. What's one thing you want to change about your life?

Asking participants to identify something they'd like to change can help them focus on their therapeutic goals and build motivation.

6. What does self-care look like to you?

This question encourages participants to consider how they take care of their physical and mental health, which can lead to discussions about the importance of self-care and ways to improve it.

7. How do your relationships impact your well-being?

This question can help participants understand how their relationships with others can affect their mental and emotional health, which can be a significant area for therapeutic work.

8. What's a significant event that shaped your life?

Reflecting on impactful life events can help participants understand how past experiences continue to influence their present behaviors and emotions.

9. Can you share a time when you felt proud of yourself?

Recalling and sharing moments of personal success can boost self-esteem and contribute to a positive group dynamic.

10. How has your perspective changed since joining group therapy?

This question encourages participants to reflect on their progress and the benefits gained from the group therapy experience, which can be a source of motivation and hope.

11. What's one goal you hope to achieve through these group therapy sessions?

This question helps participants establish a clear therapeutic goal, providing focus and purpose to their group therapy sessions.

These questions are tools that therapists use to guide discussions, encourage self-reflection, and foster connection among group members. The insights gained from the responses can significantly assist the therapeutic process.

When to Use Group Therapy Tools

Group therapy tools come into play when the therapeutic process needs direction, interaction, or stimulation. They are instrumental at the beginning of therapy to foster trust and rapport. For instance, icebreaker activities are ideal for initial sessions when members get to know each other.

They also have a role during periods of stagnation or high tension. Fun group therapy activities can lighten the mood, while problem-solving or role-playing exercises can provide new ways to address ongoing issues. Additionally, these tools are crucial in sessions focused on specific topics like emotional regulation, communication skills, or self-esteem.

Initial Sessions

Group therapy tools such as ice breakers and get-to-know-you activities can be handy in initial sessions when group members are still unfamiliar with each other. These tools can help break the ice, encourage introductions, and create an environment conducive to sharing and collaboration.

During High-Tension Meetings

If a group session becomes tense or heated, a therapist might employ certain activities to diffuse tension and promote understanding. This could include calming exercises like guided imagery or team-building activities encouraging cooperation and unity.

When Introducing New Topics

Related group therapy activities can help illustrate and explore the concept when introducing a new subject. For example, role-playing exercises can be employed if the focus is on developing empathy.

During Stagnant Periods

If group sessions become stagnant, lack engagement, or if members seem stuck, group therapy tools can be used to reinvigorate the group and stimulate progress. Fun and engaging activities can bring a fresh perspective and energize the group.

To Foster Skill Development

Specific group therapy activities can teach and reinforce emotional regulation, active listening, or assertive communication skills. Practicing these skills in a safe, supportive environment helps individuals integrate these behaviors into their everyday lives.

During Closure or Transition

As the group therapy ends, or when members transition out, reflective activities, such as group discussions or personal letter writing, can provide closure and a chance for members to acknowledge their progress and the relationships they've formed.

Handling Resistance or Defensiveness

If a group member is resistant or defensive, a therapist might use certain group therapy activities to encourage participation and engagement. An example could be a non-threatening creative activity like art or music therapy, where the focus is shifted from the individual to the shared task.

Group Therapy Activities App – How Can Carepatron Help?

In the digital age, leveraging technology to enhance therapeutic processes is essential. That's where Carepatron comes in. It's a groundbreaking healthcare management app designed to streamline therapy processes, including planning and conducting group therapy activities.

With Carepatron, you can create a detailed activity calendar, maintain a secure record of group members' progress, and document observations systematically and organized. Moreover, the app's feature for secure messaging is particularly beneficial for coordinating and conducting virtual group therapy sessions. It provides a platform where group members can communicate safely and confidently.

Carepatron also supports file sharing, enabling therapists to distribute important resources such as worksheets, exercise instructions, and inspirational materials. This can further enrich the group therapy experience for participants, providing them with the necessary tools and guidance even outside of sessions.

But that's not all. Carepatron is built with a user-friendly interface, making it easy to navigate even for those who need to be tech-savvy. This ensures that the focus remains on the therapeutic process rather than figuring out complicated software.

Carepatron serves as a virtual facilitator for group therapy, making it easier and more efficient for therapists to conduct activities, keep track of progress, and communicate with participants. It's an excellent tool for your arsenal if you're a therapist or mental health professional.

Ready to revolutionize your group therapy sessions? Sign up for Carepatron today and discover how technology can enrich your therapeutic process. Join us in pioneering a new, efficient, interactive group therapy method. Sign up now!

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Commonly asked questions

Activities can include role-playing communication scenarios, sharing personal relationship experiences, or participating in trust-building exercises.

Art therapy, music therapy, and movement-based activities are often effective with younger participants. Games and interactive exercises can also engage and encourage younger group members.

Facilitation involves setting clear expectations, providing a safe and respectful environment, and guiding the group through the activities. The therapist's role is crucial in managing dynamics and ensuring each participant benefits from the session.

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20 PTSD and Trauma Group Therapy Activities For Your Clients

When someone is looking into mental health treatment for trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder, there are a variety of factors that should be taken into consideration. This includes cost, frequency of visits, and if it could improve their mental health symptoms. Group therapy is typically more affordable than individual therapy sessions which can be an appealing factor to many. Group therapy sessions can vary in frequency, however, groups for individuals with PTSD can occur on a weekly basis. Groups for PTSD and trauma can focus on a specific treatment modality, such as DBT or CPT , which are empirically supported approaches for these mental health concerns. Keep reading for PTSD and trauma group therapy activities for your clients.

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How does group therapy help individuals with ptsd and trauma.

There are a variety of benefits that clients can experience with PTSD group therapy activities. Here are a few benefits of group therapy for clients struggling with PTSD and trauma:

Sense of Validation

Group therapy can provide group members with a sense of validation, regardless of what brought them together. This benefit can occur in any group setting, when given the right environment. Validation can help individuals see that they are not alone, and give them the opportunity to learn from others who have experienced similar challenges. Counselors can use group therapy activities to normalize trauma and subsequent challenges group members experience.

Learning from Others

Learning from others is another benefit of participating in a PTSD group. The PTSD and trauma group therapy activities listed on this blog can help explore what has worked for group members, and what hasn’t. Helping others with their struggles can also be a rewarding benefit to participating in PTSD group therapy.

Social Support

Group therapy can also provide social support that group members may not be receiving elsewhere. Individuals who are living with PTSD may find themselves withdrawing from social events and their interpersonal relationships. Social support can have a positive impact on our lives, including our overall mental health. As an example, Counselors can use unique group activities for teen trauma groups. Having a customized approach to your group sessions allows you to focus on the needs of your group members. 

List of Group Therapy Activities for Clients with PTSD and Trauma

Group therapy activities can be an effective tool for treating clients with PTSD and trauma. Group activities can provide education and promote group engagement among group members. Below you can find a list of group therapy activities that can be used with clients in a PTSD or trauma group setting.

  • Spend time reviewing the “PAUSE” skill and explore its use as a de-escalation skill.
  • “P”- Paying attention to our body, thoughts, and feelings
  • “A”- Assessing what is activating our responses
  • “U”- Understand the roots of our feelings
  • “S”- Set boundaries, separate, and ensure safety
  • “E”- Empathise with those involved
  • Provide group members with a worksheet that identifies the different ways emotions can impact our bodies. As an example, someone may feel nauseous when they’re disappointed or weak if they’re feeling abandoned. Ask the group to share what they identify with, and review different coping skills that can be used to cope with their emotions.
  • Develop and play a jeopardy game that focuses on helpful topics such as mindfulness, coping skills, social supports, and healthy behaviors.
  • Provide group members with a worksheet that is used to identify a crisis plan . This can include identifying known triggers, useful coping skills, helpful boundaries, healthy distractions, safe supports in their life, emergency hotline numbers, and other resources that can be used in moments of distress.
  • Spend time talking about different healthy and unhealthy coping skills. As an example, healthy coping skills can include talking to a friend, playing a game, or painting. Unhealthy coping skills can include yelling or screaming, threatening others, and engaging in reckless behaviors. Ask group members to identify one unhealthy coping skill that they would be willing to try replacing over the next week. Allow for time to follow up in later group sessions to assess progress.
  • Provide the group with materials needed to create a “ Tree of life ”. Group members can be encouraged to decorate their tree to represent the different areas of their life. Allow for time to explore each member’s tree. Topics within this activity can include:
  • Tree roots: can be used to identify their roots and where they came from
  • Ground: Can include their current life (important loved ones, interests, favorite place to be, etc.)
  • Trunk- Their strengths and skills that help them when they struggle
  • Branches- Their goals and hopes for the future
  • Storm clouds- Challenges they experience
  • Provide the group with the materials needed to create a drawing that shows what a safe space looks like for the group members. This can be a real place, or a fictional location. Direct group members to identify characteristics that are linked to their five senses so that grounding skills can be used to help them envision being in their safe place (sights, smells, sounds, tastes, and touch). Spend time talking about how envisioning their safe space can help cope with emotional distress.
  • When you begin your group, have group members participate in a check-in. This can include rating how they feel on a scale from 1-10 regarding their mental health at that moment, and answering a thoughtful question. Additionally, group members can ask for time to talk in the group session. Examples of questions are:
  • Tell us a healthy risk you took this week
  • Tell us about a time you were happy (at any point)
  • What is the scariest, or hardest, part of being in this group?
  • Describe yourself in three words
  • Spend time discussing cognitive distortions , and normalize their existence in our day-to-day life. Ask the group to identify cognitive distortions they experience, and how it impacts their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.
  • As a follow-up to learning about cognitive distortions, spend time discussing the process of thought challenging. Ask the group for examples of cognitive distortions they experience, and walk through a healthy thought challenge by looking for evidence supporting the thoughts and evaluating their accuracy.
  • Spend time talking about positive reframing. Group members are asked to identify self-sabotaging thoughts, and work together to create a positive reframe.
  • Provide the group members with the materials needed to create a “ self-esteem bucket”. Group members should identify what builds their self-esteem, such as enjoyable activities and self-care practices. Ask the group to identify what drains their bucket; examples include unhealthy relationships , negative self-talk, poor boundaries, etc. Follow up with a discussion about what changes could be made to decrease the number of drains they have.
  • Spend time discussing the differences between thoughts, emotions, behaviors, and events. Educate the group about how they are intertwined and impact each other. Provide the group with a list that includes all four, and spend time differentiating which is which.
  • Spend time discussing the benefits of mindfulness. Focus on meditation practices, and allow time to walk the group through various meditation practices such as a grounding exercise and a progressive muscle relaxation exercise. Spend time processing group members’ experiences and if they see themselves using these practices.
  • Spend time talking about the use of breathing exercises as an emotion regulation skill. Allow time for group members to practice different breathing skills, such as box breathing. Spend time processing group members’ experiences and if they see themselves using these practices.
  • Spend time talking about the use of grounding skills as an emotion regulation skill. After talking about it, ask the group to identify something in their environment that they are experiencing in regard to their senses (sight, touch, hearing, smell, and taste). Explore how this practice can be applied to their own struggles.
  • Provide the group with materials needed to develop a self-care plan that addresses their mental health, physical health, emotional health, and spiritual health needs. Ask the group to identify 2 new behaviors that they can engage in to promote self-care before the next group session. Allow for time to follow up in their next session.
  • Ask the group to think of a song that they relate to for the next group session. Allow time to listen to the song in the group session, followed by the group member sharing how they identify with the song. Time can be spent talking about the use of music as a coping skill for uncomfortable and distressing emotions.
  • Ask the group members to write a letter to themselves when they are struggling. This letter can include encouragement, suggestions for coping skills, or other helpful comments. Members can keep the letters in a safe place to review when they find themselves struggling.
  • Provide the group with a large list of emotion regulation skills, or coping skills. Ask them to identify 5 skills that are helpful, and 5 new behaviors they will try to use before their next session when distressed. Allow for time to review their experience in the next group session. 

Final Thoughts on Selecting Group Therapy Activities for Your Clients with Past Trauma

Group therapy activities for PTSD provide counselors with an opportunity to have an engaging and educational group session. As an example, if you recognize that group members are struggling to cope with distress, establish or maintain healthy boundaries, or engage in self-care practices, you can tailor your group activities to focus on these topics. 

For counselors who prefer to use handouts to guide their group activities, online resources such as our Trauma Worksheets can provide you with informational handouts that can support you while you facilitate your PTSD group therapy activities.

While individual therapy is commonly used for clients who struggle with PTSD, it can be beneficial for clients to engage in group therapy. Together, group members can establish a safe, supportive, and encouraging environment where they can grow together as they work towards living their best life.

TherapyByPro is an online mental health directory that connects mental health pros with clients in need. If you’re a mental health professional, you can Join our community and add your practice listing here . We have assessments, practice forms, and worksheet templates mental health professionals can use to streamline their practice. View all of our mental health forms, worksheet, and assessments here .

Kayla Loibl, MA, LMHC

Author: Kayla Loibl, MA, LMHC

Kayla is a Mental Health Counselor who earned her degree from Niagara University in Lewiston, New York. She has provided psychotherapy in a residential treatment program and an outpatient addiction treatment facility in New York as well as an inpatient addiction rehab in Ontario, Canada. She has experience working with individuals living with a variety of mental health concerns including depression , anxiety , bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder , and trauma.

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What Is Group Therapy?

Kendra Cherry, MS, is a psychosocial rehabilitation specialist, psychology educator, and author of the "Everything Psychology Book."

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Steven Gans, MD is board-certified in psychiatry and is an active supervisor, teacher, and mentor at Massachusetts General Hospital.

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How to Get Started

Group therapy is a form of psychotherapy that involves one or more therapists working with several people at the same time. This type of therapy is widely available at a variety of locations including private therapeutic practices, hospitals, mental health clinics, and community centers.

Group therapy is sometimes used alone, but it is also commonly integrated into a comprehensive treatment plan that also includes individual therapy.

Types of Group Therapy

Group therapy can be categorized into different types depending on the mental health condition it is intended to treat as well as the clinical method used during the therapy. The most common types of group therapy include:

  • Cognitive behavioral groups , which center on identifying and changing inaccurate or  distorted thinking patterns , emotional responses, and behaviors
  • Interpersonal groups , which focus on interpersonal relationships and social interactions, including how much support you have from others and the impact these relationships have on mental health
  • Psychoeducational groups , which focus on educating clients about their disorders and ways of coping; often based on the principles of cognitive behavior therapy (CBT)
  • Skills development groups , which focus on improving social skills in people with mental disorders or developmental disabilities
  • Support groups , which provide a wide range of benefits for people with a variety of mental health conditions as well as their loved ones

Groups can be as small as three or four, but group therapy sessions often involve around eight to 12 people (although it is possible to have more participants). The group typically meets once or twice each week, or more, for an hour or two.

Group therapy meetings may either be open or closed. New participants are welcome to join open sessions at any time. Only a core group of members are invited to participate in closed sessions.

Group Therapy Techniques

What does a typical group therapy session look like? In many cases, the group will meet in a room where the chairs are arranged in a large circle so that members can see every other person in the group.

A session might begin with members of the group introducing themselves and sharing why they are in group therapy. Members might also share their experiences and progress since the last meeting.

The precise manner in which the session is conducted, and any group therapy activities, depend largely on the goals of the group and the therapist's style.

Some therapists might encourage a more free-form style of dialogue, where each member participates as they see fit. Other therapists have a specific plan for each session that might include having participants practice new skills with other members of the group.

Group Therapy Activities

Common group therapy activities can include:

  • Icebreaker activities that help group members get to know one another 
  • Gratitude activities, such as mapping different aspects of their life that they are thankful for
  • Sharing activities, where group members ask one another questions
  • Expressive writing activities to explore experiences and emotions connected to those events
  • Goal visualization activities to help people set goals and make a plan to accomplish them

What Group Therapy Can Help With

Group therapy is used to treat a wide variety of conditions, including:

  • Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • Eating disorders
  • Generalized anxiety disorder
  • Panic disorder
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Substance use disorder

In addition to mental health conditions, CBT-based group therapy has been found to help people cope with:

  • Anger management
  • Chronic pain
  • Chronic illness
  • Chronic stress
  • Domestic violence
  • Grief and loss
  • Weight management

After analyzing self-reports from people who have been involved in the process, Irvin D. Yalom outlines the key therapeutic principles of group therapy in "The Theory and Practice of Group Psychotherapy."

  • Altruism : Group members can share their strengths and help others in the group, which can boost self-esteem and confidence.
  • Catharsis : Sharing feelings and experiences with a group of people can help relieve pain, guilt, or stress.
  • The corrective recapitulation of the primary family group : The therapy group is much like a family in some ways. Within the group, each member can explore how childhood experiences contributed to personality and behaviors. They can also learn to avoid behaviors that are destructive or unhelpful in real life.
  • Development of socialization techniques : The group setting is a great place to practice new behaviors. The setting is safe and supportive, allowing group members to experiment without the fear of failure.
  • Existential factors : While working within a group offers support and guidance, group therapy helps members realize that they are responsible for their own lives, actions, and choices.
  • Group cohesiveness : Because the group is united in a common goal, members gain a sense of belonging and acceptance.
  • Imparting information : Group members can help each other by sharing information.
  • Imitative behavior : Individuals can model the behavior of other members of the group or observe and imitate the behavior of the therapist.
  • Instills hope : The group contains members at different stages of the treatment process. Seeing people who are coping or recovering gives hope to those at the beginning of the process.
  • Interpersonal learning : By interacting with other people and receiving feedback from the group and the therapist, members of the group can gain a greater understanding of themselves.
  • Universality : Being part of a group of people who have the same experiences helps people see that what they are going through is universal and that they are not alone.

Benefits of Group Therapy

There are several advantages of group therapy.

Support, Safety and Encouragement

Group therapy allows people to receive the support and encouragement of the other members of the group. People participating in the group can see that others are going through the same thing, which can help them feel less alone. The setting allows people to practice behaviors and actions within the safety and security of the group.

Role Modeling

Group members can serve as role models for other members of the group. By observing someone successfully coping with a problem, other members of the group can see that there is hope for recovery. As each person progresses, they can, in turn, serve as a role model and support figure for others. This can help foster feelings of success and accomplishment.

Insight on Social Skills

By working with a group, the therapist can see first-hand how each person responds to other people and behaves in social situations. Using this information, the therapist can provide valuable feedback to each client.


Group therapy is often very affordable. Instead of focusing on just one client at a time, the therapist can devote their time to a much larger group of people, which reduces the cost for participants.

While costs vary depending on a variety of factors, estimates suggest that group therapy costs, on average, one-half to one-third less than individual therapy.  

Effectiveness of Group Therapy

Group therapy can be effective for depression. In a study published in 2014, researchers analyzed what happened when individuals with depression received group cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). They found that 44% of the patients reported significant improvements. The dropout rate for group treatment was high, however, as almost one in five patients quit treatment.

An article published in the American Psychological Association's Monitor on Psychology suggests that group therapy also meets efficacy standards established by the Society of Clinical Psychology (Division 12 of the APA) for the following conditions:

  • Bipolar disorder
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • Social phobia

Is Group Therapy for You?

If you or someone you love is thinking about group therapy, there are several things you should consider.

You Need to Be Willing to Share

Especially if you struggle with social anxiety or phobias, sharing in a group might not be right for you. In addition, some types of group therapy involve exercises like role-playing and intense personal discussion, which can be overwhelming for people who are extremely private or uncomfortable around strangers.

You May Need to Try a Few Groups

Just like you might need to shop around to find the right therapist, you may also need to try a few groups before you find the one that fits you best. Think a little about what you want and need, and consider what might be most comfortable or the best match for you.

It’s Not Meant for Crisis

There are limitations to group therapy and not all people are good candidates. If you or someone you love is in crisis or having suicidal thoughts, individual therapy is a better choice than group therapy. In general, group settings are best for individuals who are not currently in crisis.

If you are having suicidal thoughts, contact the  National Suicide Prevention Lifeline  at  988  for support and assistance from a trained counselor. If you or a loved one are in immediate danger, call 911.

For more mental health resources, see our  National Helpline Database .

If you feel that you or someone you love might benefit from group therapy, begin with the following steps:

  • Consult with a physician for a recommendation of the best type of group therapy for your condition.
  • Consider your personal preferences , including whether an open or closed group therapy session is right for you. You may also choose to explore group therapy online .
  • Contact your health insurance  to see if they cover group therapy, and if so, how many sessions they cover per year.

Before joining, think about whether you want to participate in an open or closed group. If you would prefer an open group, you can likely join in at any time. For closed groups, you will likely have to wait until a new session begins.  

It is also important to consider whether group therapy will be sufficient on its own or if you need additional assistance in the form of individual and/or medication. Talk to your doctor or therapist to decide what treatment approach is right for your needs. 

Ezhumalai S, Muralidhar D, Dhanasekarapandian R, Nikketha BS. Group interventions .  Indian J Psychiatry . 2018;60(Suppl 4):S514–S521. doi:10.4103/psychiatry.IndianJPsychiatry_42_18

McDermut W, Miller IW, Brown RA. The efficacy of group psychotherapy for depression: A meta-analysis and review of the empirical research .  Clin Psychol Sci Pract . 2001;8(1):98-116. doi:10.1093/clipsy.8.1.98

Castillo DT, C’de Baca J, Qualls C, Bornovalova MA. Group exposure therapy treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder in female veterans .  Mil Med . 2012;177(12):1486-1491. doi:10.7205/milmed-d-12-00186

Lo Coco G, Melchiori F, Oieni V, et al. Group treatment for substance use disorder in adults: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized-controlled trials .  J Substance Abuse Treat . 2019;99:104-116. doi:10.1016/j.jsat.2019.01.016

Kanas N. Group therapy for patients with chronic trauma–related stress disorders .  Int J Group Psychother . 2005;55(1):161-165. doi:10.1521/ijgp.

Yalom ID, Leszcz M. Inpatient Group Psychotherapy . Basic Books.

Hartgrove Behavioral Health System. When should you consider group therapy? The answer might surprise you .

Thimm JC, Antonsen L. Effectiveness of cognitive behavioral group therapy for depression in routine practice .  BMC Psychiatry . 2014;14:292. doi:10.1186/s12888-014-0292-x

Paturel A. Power in numbers . Monitor on Psychology. American Psychological Association.

American Psychological Association. Psychotherapy: Understanding group therapy .

By Kendra Cherry, MSEd Kendra Cherry, MS, is a psychosocial rehabilitation specialist, psychology educator, and author of the "Everything Psychology Book."

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Thaxton Holistic Wellness Center

Thaxton Holistic Wellness Center

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Practice at a Glance

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Reunification Therapy

Pathways Team April 29, 2021 Family Reunification , Uncategorized

Reunification therapy (RT) is often court-ordered for separated or divorced families, where there is a favored parent and a rejected parent. The goal of reunification therapy is to restore a disrupted parent-child relationship.

While the term is commonly used in the court systems, there are actually no standard therapeutic protocols for “reunification therapy,” so every therapist or counselor is free to use whatever methods they find appropriate. This makes it vitaly important for families to choose a qualified therapist with a background in family systems therapy.

At the outset, many rejected parents seem to be facing an insurmountable disruption, but there is hope. Restoring a disrupted relationship with your child is possible, and there are steps you can take that will help dramatically. Namely, educate yourself on the complexities of the situation and find an experienced family systems therapist.

We’re here to help you do both.

Why Reunification is Important

It’s crucial to understand that reunification is what’s best for your child. It may seem like your child is choosing to sever the relationship, but never let anyone convince you that your attempts at reunification are selfish or hurtful to your child. Children of all ages are the biggest victims of a disrupted parent-child relationship.

Research shows that the long-term impacts on children are severe and long-lasting, including:

Low self-esteem Anxiety Depression, including major depressive disorder Eating disorders Self-harm Sexual promiscuity – Substance and alcohol abuse Inability to form healthy relationships and insecure attachment in adulthood Personality disorders – Lower levels of self-sufficiency in adulthood

Alternately, children who have healthy relationships with both parents during a disrupted marriage handle the separation better and maintain better long-term mental health:

  • The negative effects that pre-teens and teenagers experience from a disrupted marriage are significantly lower if the child maintains a good relationship with both parents.
  • Strong parent-child relationships have been proven to mediate the negative effects of parental separation on children, improving trust and empathy and reducing depression in teenagers.

Even in cases when children had no contact with a non-resident parent after a divorce or separation, a University of London study showed improved emotional well-being and educational performance in children who got consistent information about the estranged parent—demonstrating the value of even a partial relationship.

And, not least of all, reunification is important for your health and wellbeing. It’s more than just wanting to see your child (although that would certainly be reason enough!). Long-term effects on alienated parents include anxiety, depression, substance abuse, suicide, isolation, and CPTSD.

It might feel lonely and overwhelming at first, but fighting to restore your relationship with your child is a vital and heroic path to take.

Note: Of course, the benefits of reunification only apply when the parent in question is safe. In cases where a parent is abusive or negligent, mentally unstable, or given to substance abuse, reunification is not necessarily ideal. Courts do not often order reunification therapy in those circumstances, until the unhealthy parent has made adjustments in their parenting—with the support of therapy and/or rehabilitation—and it is safe to reunite the child.

How Relationships Are Disrupted: From Alienation to Justifiable Estrangement

Where parent-child relationships are disrupted, there is always abuse. The child is either being manipulated by a favored authority figure to reject a parent, or physically or emotionally abused by the parent they are rejecting.

Alienation is manipulation by a favored parent that casts the other parent in such a negative light that the child eventually, unjustly severs the relationship. In cases of separation or divorce, the non-resident parent is often the victim of alienation, but alienation can

occur in almost any family arrangement. We have seen alienation in families where parents share 50/50 parenting time, where the alienated parent is the one doing most of the parenting, or even within intact families.

The effects of alienation can also present on a spectrum—from a mildly disproportionate (but unjust) disdain for the non-favored parent, to complete rejection. No matter how “severe” the effect of alienation seems to be, however, it’s important to remember that it’s always abuse. Using a relationship to manipulate a child into rejecting their own parent is abusive in any degree, and should be addressed as such.

Justifiable estrangement, on the other hand, is the severing of a parent-child relationship when the child has witnessed or experienced abuse, dangerously poor parenting, substance abuse, or untreated mental illness. Reunification therapy is not ordered in these cases, at least until the rejected parent has proven themselves rehabilitated.

The difficulty of disrupted family relationships and reunification therapy is that many cases include an element of both. Oftentimes, some poor parenting has happened, and a favored parent is exaggerating a minor issue to win the favor and/or custody of a child.

Additionally, alienated parents often unwittingly reinforce the disruption. Parenting an alienated child can be counter-intuitive, and some “normal” parenting practices actually reinforce the alienation.

How Reunification Therapy Works

There is no standard process for reunification therapy. Each therapist and family counselor takes a different approach to the work, but there are generally three stages of the process:

1. Assessment 2. Commitment and treatment 3. Integration

As with most therapy, an initial, get-to-know-you period is necessary. It’s especially important for family therapies, because everyone involved has a different view of the situation. The counselor needs to talk with each family member individually in order to understand the nuance of the situation.

During the assessment stage, the therapist should speak with each parent and child separately, and demonstrate a complete lack of bias toward either parent. The therapist should also meet with each parent, plus the children.

Commitment and Treatment

Commitment and treatment is when the therapist facilitates opportunities for each family member to take steps toward reunification. This process can be quick or long, and will look different for every family.

Some therapists will continue with individual sessions, while others will move quickly to joint sessions. Some focus on direct communication first, while others start by creating shared experiences to build trust.

The favored parent should still have some part in the reunification therapy during treatment. He/She needs to understand and accept the restoration of the disrupted parent-child relationship and learn about healthy co-parenting.


More joint sessions are common during integration, although some individual sessions may continue. The focus shifts, during the integration stage, to parents and children working together for long-term reunification.

A successful integration requires an experienced therapist to observe subtleties in behaviors that family members may not understand, and that less experienced counselors often miss. These cues can help parents understand how to better relate to their child, in order to ensure the long-term restoration of the relationship.

How Reunification Therapy Ends: The Good and the Bad

Reunification therapy can culminate in a variety of ways.

  • Reunification — In the best situations, reunification therapy ends with a restored parent-child relationship and healthy, sustained co-parenting.
  • Custody reversal — When alienation is confirmed, and the alienating parent has demonstrated a lack of understanding of how their behavior is impacting their children and no desire to change their behavior, a change in custody is recommended. However, this also requires a court of law to support the change.
  • Failure — Reunification efforts can fail for a variety of reasons. The wrong therapist can make problems much worse and further entrench the alienation. Alienating parents who refuse to cooperate can thwart reunification efforts. Finally, the age of the child can be a factor: It can be very difficult to change the mindset of a teenage (or older) child who has been abused by an alienating parent for years.

How to Make Reunification Therapy Successful

Successful reunification therapy often requires an additional layer of support, in addition to court-ordered therapy, because there are no standard therapeutic protocols. That means two specific steps are required to really do everything you can to restore your parent-child relationship:

1. Find the best therapist. It’s impossible to overstate the importance of finding the right therapists, but that’s extremely hard to do if you’ve never been through this process before. 2. Educate yourself. Your counselor will help, but the more you understand how alienation works, how narcissism works, how to parent and relate to an alienated child, how to manage your relationship with your former partner or spouse, etc., the more successful reunification will be.

The coaches and consultants at Pathways have personal experience and special expertise in reunification, and a passion to help children embroiled in family conflict. We have seen how effective a collaborative approach can be, so we often consult directly with parents to help them find a qualified therapy team and manage the situation well. We integrate with your current therapeutic and/or legal teams, and are available to support you in every stage of reunification.

If you are currently seeking or working through reunification therapy with your family, it can be extremely helpful to have an expert on your side. Our one-on-one online coaching sessions will help you navigate the therapeutic process, provide guidance on how to approach counseling, and better understand and relate to your children.

We also have a variety of online courses available to help you make the most of reunification therapy and maintain strong relationships indefinitely:

  • Ready to Reconnect is specifically designed to prepare you for reunification therapy. You will be empowered to understand your role in reunification and to support your child’s journey by learning how to draw your child in, rather than push them away.
  • If you feel like your ex is using alienation to set your child against you, The Alienation Code can help you understand how it’s happening, so you can better combat it. This program is also now bundled with Trapped in Trauma, which builds on concepts from The Alienation Code. Together, they are the most comprehensive course for parents to understand what is happening, how it’s affecting your child, and how to handle it.
  • Pathways Through Conflict will help you develop the conflict management skills you need to handle your divorce well. It includes additional information on reunification therapy options.

Wherever you are in the process of marriage disruption or reunification therapy, the experienced coaches at Pathways can help. Remember, managing this season well isn’t just for you, it’s for the health and well-being of your child(ren) too.

If you’re not sure where to start, request a free consultation or contact us to learn more.

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  23. Reunification Therapy

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    The focus of this program is to improve relational abilities that will improve family, school, and community life. The format focuses on group activities and skills but includes individual support for the child as well as family therapy and parenting education and support groups. Hours: Regular hours: Monday through Thursday, 3:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.