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Here at the Positive Psychology Program, we’ve talked a lot about the different kinds of therapy that can help people struggling with a wide range of issues in life.
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 alternative forms of therapy that are available. 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 narrative therapy, 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.
This article contains:
- 3 Narrative Therapy Worksheets
- 6 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
3 Narrative Therapy Worksheets
Narrative therapy is a type of therapy based on the idea that storytelling is inherent, therapeutic, and an important source of meaning for people. It is most effectively practiced with a trained therapist, but there are some resources available if you or your client would like to give it a try. These three worksheets can be a great introduction to this type of therapy.
Life Story Worksheet
This worksheet is divided into three pages, with one writing section per page. The instructions direct the reader to write a story about his or her life to find what is personally meaningful. Writing your life as a story can help people to organize their thoughts and grow as a person, and people who purposefully use stories in their lives may be happier on average.
The first section is titled “The Past”. This is where you write about the events of your life leading up to now, including all of the challenges, difficulties, successes, and personal strengths you have developed and drawn from to get where you are now.
The second section is titled “The Present”, and this is where you are instructed to write about your current life. Include any similarities and differences between you and your past self, how your strengths have grown or morphed, and what new challenges you are facing now.
The final section is “The Future”, and, as you probably guessed, this is the section where you write about your future. However, you are instructed not instructed to simply write about “a future” or your “likely future”, but your ideal future. How do you hope your life will turn out? What will be different from your current life? Who will you be in your ideal future life?
Completing this worksheet can help you to form a meaningful story about yourself, help remind you what you have already overcome, and give you a sense of direction for where to go next.
You can find this worksheet here.
Developing a Relationship with Devalued Aspects of Self
The next worksheet comes from a veritable treasure trove of resources from Bill O’Hanlon, a therapist who has put together a truly impressive compilation of handouts, guides, and exercises, as well as publishing multiple books and facilitating countless workshops.
This worksheet can help people who are struggling with integrating or accepting different aspects of the self. Narrative therapy encourages clients to accept themselves as they are, and work to take a different perspective on any problematic thought patterns or behaviors.
The exercise is divided into four parts:
- Identifying an aspect of yourself that you do not accept or value, or actively avoid or inhibit.
- Plan one thing you can do to start to value and accept that aspect of your self.
- Imagine yourself feeling you’re experiencing this devalued aspect of yourself in the presence of someone who loves you unconditionally.
- List any blaming, impossibility, self-devaluing, or non-choice beliefs you are having in regards to the problematic aspect, and challenge them.
This plan guides you through identifying something about yourself that you find difficult to accept, encourages you to brainstorm a way to start the journey towards acceptance, provides an opportunity for you to develop or enhance compassion for yourself, and helps you identify any cognitive distortions that may be popping up around this problem.
These are all common and proven techniques for accepting problems or overcoming challenges. The best part of this exercise is that it can be repeated for any and all aspects of your self that you disown or devalue.
The worksheet can be found in Bill O’Hanlon’s handout PDF here, on page 146.
Tree of Life
The Tree of Life exercise is intended to help clients create and share stories about their lives. It can help people acknowledge their strengths and abilities, think about their hopes and dreams, and identify their sources of support and development. It was originally created for children, but anyone can benefit from this exercise.
All clients need to complete this exercise is a set of instructions or explanation, which can be provided by a therapist or other mental health professional, a piece of paper, and some drawing instruments (colored pencils, crayons, paint for the artistically inclined).
The client should be instructed to draw a tree that represents his or her life, with the following meanings attached:
- Roots: this is the area where clients should draw and identify the roots of their life, including where they came from, their family history, people who have shaped them or their life the most, and anything else that is significant for them.
- Ground: this represents where the client is now, how they live their life and what activities make up their days. Trunk: the trunk is populated by the client’s skills, abilities, and knowledge, with special attention to what the client is good at.
- Branches: the branches are representative of the client’s hopes, dreams, and wishes for his or her life. Think of the branches as the directions in which the client would like to reach and stretch themselves.
- Leaves: the leaves are where the client should identify and acknowledge the people who are most significant in the client’s life. These significant people can be alive, passed, in the present, or in the past.
- Fruits: the fruits are the gifts the client has received, whether they are tangible gifts or more abstract gifts like being loved, receiving the kindness of others, the gift of friendship, etc.
After the client is finished drawing their tree, have them share the tree with you or with another client, if it is a group session. Drawing the tree is only the first part of the exercise, it’s telling the story of their tree to someone that can provide an even more therapeutic experience.
Instructions and comments on this exercise can be found here.
4 Reality Therapy Worksheets for Adults
Rather than focusing on acceptance and finding meaning in storytelling, reality therapy is more 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 three worksheets that can help.
How to Change 101
If you’ve ever thought that you would really love to change something about your life, but you have no idea where to start, this worksheet is for you. It’s not a worksheet in a traditional sense, where you fill in blanks or answer questions on the page, but it is an extremely useful guide for making positive change nonetheless.
This is another handout from O’Hanlon’s PDF resource, which you can find on page 164 (you can access the PDF here).
O’Hanlon divides the process of initiating change into six steps, each with its own suggestions and sub-steps:
1) Acknowledge other people and their points of view, the concerns you and others have, your problems, and what has worked before
2) Use action talk to avoid labeling or overgeneralizing the problem
Find and agree on a direction, mission, or vision
1) Paint a vivid picture of the future using action talk
2) Get consensus or a mutual understanding of that future
3) Use possibility talk (open yourself up to the idea of change)
Acknowledge barriers and identify resources to overcome them
1) Think about what has stopped you in the past, both internal barriers and external barriers
2) Identify the resources available to you to overcome the barriers, drawing from what has worked in the past
3) Identify patterns of thought and action that have not helped your situation change.
Make an action plan
1) Start small – remember that every journey of 1,000 miles started with one step
2) Set SMART (Small/specific, measurable, achievable/actionable, realistic, and time-oriented) goals.
Act (“Just do it!”)
1) Take action based on your SMART goals, observe the results, and adjust if needed
2) Attempt to break non-helpful thought and action patterns
3) Persist until your goal is achieved
Acknowledge and celebrate progress and success
1) Give lots of credit where it is due
2) Plan and engage in rituals, awards, or celebrations to acknowledge milestones achieved and goals met
This set of instructions is an extremely comprehensive plan for making effective and lasting change in your life. The beauty of this generic plan is that it can be applied to just about any behavior, problem, or thought pattern you would like to change.
Make sure that you pay attention to all steps, and especially step 6. Too often we downplay our accomplishments or find ourselves too busy working towards the next one to stop and appreciate what we have achieved. Change is hard, so if you have met any of your goals, you certainly deserve to celebrate!
While this isn’t necessarily a reality therapy worksheet, there is virtually no type of therapy in which this set of guidelines will not apply to the goal of making change.
This worksheet is a simple one, but it could be more difficult to complete than it seems.
“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. These questions are as follows:
- Wants: What do you want? What do you want instead of the problem? What is your picture of a quality life, relationship, etc.? What do your family/friends want for you? What do you want from counseling?
- Doing: What are you doing (acting, thinking, feeling, physiology)? When you act this way, what are you thinking? When you think/act this way, how are you feeling? How do your thoughts/actions affect your health?
- Evaluate: Is what you are doing, helping you get what you want? Is it taking you in the direction you want to go? Is what you want achievable? Does it help you to look at it in that way? How hard are you prepared to work at this? Is your current level of commitment working in your favor? Is it a helpful plan?
- Plan: What are you prepared to do/think differently that will take you in the direction you want to go? Are you clear about what you are going to do? Is it achievable? How will you know you have done it? Can you start doing it immediately? Is it in your control? Are you committed to 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 here to download the worksheet.
This worksheet from Therapist Aid is specifically intended for people who are struggling with substance abuse or addiction. Completing this worksheet can help clients identify and understand their wants, and encourage them to make a plan to reach the future they want without drugs or alcohol.
This two-page worksheet is divided into several sections to be filled out by the client. Each section compares the client’s life if they continue using to their life if they quit using. For each section, the client can note up to five aspects of their life in each scenario.
- The first section is “My career, school or professional life will be affected…” Below this, there are two columns labeled “If I continue using:” and “If I quit using:” that are to be completed by the client.
- Next, the client is instructed to imagine the differences in their life with or without the substance in terms of their relationships with family and other loved ones.
- The third section is on how drugs or alcohol affect their relationships with friends.
- The next section is dedicated to comparing the effects on their long-term goals with or without using.
- Fifth, clients are instructed to compare the effects on their finances if they quit using vs. if they continue using. For some people, this section alone can provoke a positive change!
- Finally, the worksheet ends with one of the most important metrics: health. Clients should compare how their health will be affected if they continue using and if they quit using.
You have likely noticed that the name for this worksheet is apt – completing these sections will help clients to see the discrepancy between the life they have now and the life they could have if they quit using alcohol or drugs.
If you would like to see this worksheet for yourself or download it for yourself or your clients, click here.
Expectations versus Reality
An important aspect of reality therapy is, unsurprisingly, managing expectations and setting realistic goals. In this worksheet, you can compare your expectations to your current reality and determine what aspects of your reality you can change.
In Step 1 – Define Your Current Reality, there are three questions to answer:
- What have I done to create my reality?
- What has happened to me to create my reality?
- How do I experience these things (positively or negatively)?
In Step 2 – Changing Your Reality, there are four questions:
- What can I change about my situations, relationships, or work?
- What are the resources needed to make the changes I want?
- What are the things I cannot change?
- How can I change my reactions to things I cannot change to support myself better?
Step 3 – Define Your Expectations consists of four questions:
- What do I expect of myself, my relationships, and future?
- What do I expect of my community?
- What are the origins of these expectations?
- Are these expectations achievable given my current skills and supports?
Step 4 – Modify My Expectations includes the final three questions:
- How do I make my expectations meet my reality without making my expectations too low or an unrealistic reality?
- What does it mean to have hope versus expectations?
- Redefine my expectations of home, work, relationships, myself, etc.?
Use this worksheet to help you compare your reality with your expectations. It’s easy to get one’s hopes up and expect things that are not in keeping with reality, but reality therapy encourages clients to keep their expectations in check. Adhering to more realistic expectations protects you from unnecessary sources of stress and allows you to set better, more achievable goals.
You can find this worksheet here.
6 Couples, Group, and Family Therapy Worksheets
While there are many people who utilize the services of a therapist as individuals with personal problems or issues, a large portion of those in therapy visit as part of a couple, group, or family. These sessions can be even more effective than individual therapy since there is only so much you can change as one person in a couple or group.
These worksheets are specifically designed for use within couples, groups, and families.
Relationship Growth Activity
This worksheet can be an excellent icebreaker for two people in a relationship who are looking to make changes and solve relationship problems. It keeps the discussion light, but reaffirms the couple’s connection and helps them learn more about themselves and their partner.
The instructions direct the couple to take turns asking each other a question from each section below or ask them all if they believe they know the answers.
The questions are divided into six categories:
- The Fun Things (example question: What song is your partner into right now?)
- About Us (example question: When did your partner realize they were interested in you? Was there a specific moment?)
- Hopes & Dreams (example question: What is the happiest life your partner can imagine?)
- Work Life (example question: What is the most challenging task your partner has to do at their job?)
- Emotions (example question: When in your partner’s life did they feel the most scared?)
- Other Relationships (example question: Who does your partner feel closest to in their family?)
Asking and answering these questions can help couples feel closer, learn about each other, and reminisce or dream for the future together.
You can find this worksheet here.
My Partner’s Qualities
This worksheet can help you or your client to remember the good qualities in your partner, especially when there are problems or arguments within the relationship. Sometimes all it takes to get partners working together to solve their problems is a reminder of why they love each other.
The worksheet is divided into four sections to be filled out by the client:
- The qualities that initially attracted me to my partner were…
- My favorite memories with my partner have been…
- My partner shows me appreciation by…
- I value my partner because…
For each section, the client is instructed to identify at least three things that they love about their partner, treasured memories with their partner, or ways in which their partner returns their love.
To see this worksheet or print it out for yourself or your clients, click here.
If you have a client who is struggling in their relationship with their partner, this is another good worksheet to try. When a couple is having trouble, simply reminding themselves that they are a team and they have many things in common can be an excellent way to encourage problem-solving.
This worksheet will help the couple remember that they are a team with common goals, common desires, and common traits.
There are eight sections to fill out, with space for three items each:
- We would like to visit…
- Movies, books, or music we like…
- We have fun when we…
- As a couple, we’re good at…
- As a couple, our weaknesses are…
- Unique things we have in common…
- Qualities we value in a person…
- Three goals for our future…
Filling in these blanks will encourage a couple to remember the good things in their relationship and feel a sense of shared responsibility and success.
Click here to see this worksheet.
Thoughts, Feelings, and Behaviors
This worksheet can be a great tool for families in therapy. It is intended for a child to complete, and the results can be discussed as a family to facilitate understanding and come up with solutions for family problems.
This worksheet includes an outline of a person or child with six boxes to fill in, three on each side.
The directions instruct the child to fill in this blank “When I am…” with a specific emotion.
Thinking about this emotion in a specific situation, the child is instructed to fill in the three boxes on the left side of the worksheet:
1) I think… (box pointing to the head)
2) I feel like this in my body… (box pointing to the midsection)
3) I behave this way… (box underneath the feet)
Once the child has filled in these three boxes, their next step is to imagine that their thoughts change. Maybe this is a natural change, or maybe they are instructed to imagine their reaction if they purposefully change their thinking to something more positive.
When the child has this new thought in mind, they fill in the same three boxes, except these are on the right side.
This exercise can help the child compare how they think, feel, and behave when they are struggling with an emotion to how they might think, feel, and behave if their thinking changed. It can help children to understand the value of modifying their thinking to make it more positive, in addition to helping parents and other family members understand what the child is going through.
You can find this worksheet at this link.
Conflict Resolution Worksheet
Like the goal-setting worksheet above, this is not a worksheet in the traditional sense, but it also provides invaluable information about how to effectively work towards conflict resolution in relationships. For this reason, it is too great a resource not to share.
The rules of effective conflict resolution are laid out as follows:
- Focus on the problem, not the person
- Use reflective listening
- Use “I” statements
- Know when to take a time-out
- Work toward a resolution
This worksheet describes each rule and provides tips and suggestions for you or your client to follow the next time there is a disagreement, argument, or other sort of conflict that is causing trouble in an important relationship.
To read more about these rules for conflict resolution, you can view or download the worksheet here.
This worksheet is intended for a specific, very difficult situation: losing a loved one. Losing a loved one is hard enough for adults, but it can be even more difficult and confusing for children and adolescents. If a family member or other valued person in your child’s life has passed on, this worksheet can help them say goodbye and process their grief.
At the top, there is a space for the child to address the letter to the person they have lost.
The rest of the letter presents the beginnings of several sentences that the child is to complete, including:
- I am saying goodbye because…
- Saying goodbye makes me feel…
- I remember a time when we…
- You taught me…
- Something I want you to know is…
- I will always remember…
Finally, the letter ends with space for the child to write their own name.
Working through this worksheet will likely be difficult, but it can help provide the child with a sense of closure and peace. You can find this worksheet here.
3 Occupational Therapy Handwriting Worksheets
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.
Pencil Obstacle Course
This worksheet is intended for children, although anyone working on improving their handwriting can use it. Completing this worksheet is as simple as putting pencil to paper and following the path.
It might seem overly simplistic, but practicing following a path with a pencil on a regular basis can have a large, positive impact on handwriting ability.
In this worksheet, you begin on a path to a set of swings, then follow the path from the swings to the slide and a sandbox, “crawl” through some tunnels, guide your pencil over some monkey bars, and end on an “X.”
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.
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 dog 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 the whole dog.
Below the instructions for drawing each section of the dog and the space for the drawing is each letter of the alphabet printed in light ink, in both upper case and lower case. Any time player two guesses an incorrect letter, player one is instructed to trace this letter.
This worksheet will help the child to practice their writing and drawing skills while staying engaged and having fun.
You can find this worksheet here.
What Does the King’s Castle Look Like?
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, which makes this worksheet a valuable one!
The worksheet asks a simple question: What does the king’s castle look like?
Below this question, there are instructions for the child to imagine what the king’s castle might look like and a space to draw the castle.
Below the drawing space, there is another instruction: for the child to write about their idea. They can write about what they think the king’s castle would look like, what features it might have that would be difficult to draw, or anything else they are thinking about the castle.
You can view or download the worksheet here.
3 Therapy Worksheets for Oppositional Defiant Disorder
Opposition 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 from www.parentcoachplan.com may be able to help.
This worksheet will help a child with ODD understand the importance of making good choices, as well as the benefits and advantages that come with making good choices.
This worksheet has seven sections for the child to fill in:
- List 3 choices that you have already made today.
- What is the best choice you ever made?
- How did the choice in answer #2 affect you?
- What is the worst choice you ever made?
- How did the choice in answer #4 affect you?
- List 3 important choices that you will have to make as you grow up.
- What choice do you most look forward to as you get older?
Completing this activity can help children work through their thoughts on making choices, and hopefully, lead them to make good choices that will benefit them.
You will find this worksheet in this PDF on page 7.
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.
These questions are:
- What does it mean to be responsible?
- What responsibilities do you have at home?
- What responsibilities do you have at school?
- What responsibilities do you have in your community?
- In what ways do you demonstrate responsibility?
- Give examples of times when you are NOT responsible.
- What steps can you take to become a more responsible person?
Work through this activity with your child or client if they are struggling to answer the questions or having trouble focusing on them.
This worksheet can be found in the same PDF on the first page.
My Compliments to Myself
Sometimes children are struggling with low self-esteem or having trouble recognizing that there is good in them, which causes 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, labeled:
- I am good at…
- I feel good when…
- I am a good friend because…
- Most people really like my…
- I am a good person because…
- I am proud of…
- I know I am loved because…
This worksheet is in the same PDF as the previous worksheet, on page 10.
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, “What is schema therapy?”). 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, “What is schema therapy?”)
The worksheets described below are intended to help in one or all of these three phases, and can be used individually or with a therapist, although they will likely be more effective when completed with a therapist.
Schema Activation Formulation
This worksheet helps the client trace the development of a particular schema and understand the following reactions, sensations, and choices he or she makes.
On the left side of the worksheet is a box labeled “Event.” The client should think hard about when they first developed a particular schema and trace it back to the event that created it. For example, if a client feels they will never be good enough, perhaps this schema came from a parent who gave no praise for a big accomplishment or told the child they didn’t do well enough.
Next, this box leads to a triangle labeled “Schema.” This is where the client should write down the schema they hold, such as “I am not good enough.”
This schema leads to a set of four interrelated and interacting consequences of the schema: bodily sensations, emotions, thoughts, and behaviors. The client should fill in each box with the corresponding descriptions of how this schema makes them feel, think, and behave.
Completing this worksheet can help clients to figure out what has led them to the beliefs they hold today, and how these beliefs affect them. Identifying the problem or issue is the first step towards solving it, and this worksheet can be an excellent way to do that.
This worksheet will be available for download soon.
Automatic Thoughts Checklist
This worksheet can also help clients to identify some of the problematic thoughts they are having. A list of 15 common negative automatic thoughts is presented, and clients should place a checkmark beside the ones they have had in the past two weeks.
This list includes thoughts like:
- I just can’t enjoy things anymore.
- I always keep messing things up.
- I can’t handle it.
- Things are out of control.
- Something bad is sure to happen.
This can be a difficult worksheet to complete, but it is essential to identify the negative automatic thoughts if you hope to stop them.
You can find this worksheet in this PDF on page 3.
While the worksheet above is a good place to start, this worksheet can provide a more comprehensive view of the schemas you or your clients have.
The schemas are split into two lists: healthy schemas and dysfunctional schemas.
Under the healthy schemas are thoughts like:
- No matter what happens, I can manage somehow.
- People respect me.
- I deserve to be respected.
- I’m intelligent.
- I can handle stress.
On the flip side, the dysfunctional schemas include:
- I must be perfect to be accepted.
- I’m a fake.
- I can never finish anything.
- Others can’t be trusted.
- I’m lazy.
The instructions are to place a check mark beside each schema that you (or your client) believe that you have. You will likely have both healthy and dysfunctional schemas since they are not mutually exclusive.
Use this worksheet to begin forming an understanding of the problematic thinking patterns that are affecting you.
This worksheet can be found in the same PDF as the worksheet above, on page 7.
3 REBT Worksheets (PDF)
REBT stands for Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy. 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.
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 sort of 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, the client should describe 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.
This worksheet will be available for download soon.
REBT Consequences Analysis Form
This worksheet helps REBT clients to recognize the consequences of the issue or problem they are having on the things that are important to them and come up with a good long-term solution.
The first section of the worksheet is labeled “Target” and instructs the client to identify the issue or problem they want to consider for the worksheet, as well as writing down their goals or values.
The second section is labeled “Short-term consequences” and provides space for the client to write down the benefits (gains, pleasures, comforts) as well as the costs (damages, harms, losses), and rating each area in terms of importance on a scale from 0 to 100.
The third section is a replica of the second section, but with the focus on long-term consequences.
Finally, the worksheet provides space for the client to answer the question “What is the best outcome for you in the long-term?”
This worksheet is based on the cost-benefit analysis, a very popular method of weighing the pros and cons of making a decision. The very practical, rational approach makes this worksheet extremely appropriate for REBT, but it could also be applied in other types of therapy or on an individual level.
This worksheet will be available for download soon.
REBT Problem 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, so this worksheet could be a good place to start if you are interested in REBT.
The worksheet differentiates between two types of emotional responses: unhealthy or problematic responses and healthy (or target) 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 the 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.
This worksheet will be available for download soon.
Positive Belief Record
The Positive Belief Record worksheet facilitates the confrontation of negative beliefs and automatic thoughts, using reason to replace old, self-critical beliefs with new, positive beliefs.
At the top of the worksheet, there are two spaces to write down the old belief and 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.
This worksheet will be available for download soon.
2 Imago Therapy Worksheets
This type of therapy is intended for couples and takes a relationship approach rather than an individual approach. 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 from therapist Dr. Pat Love is found in Dr. Love’s Instructor’s Manual for Imago Couples Therapy. To access this PDF click here.
The exercise described on page 13 of this PDF is called The Imago Workup, and it is a great way to prepare clients for thinking about how their childhood experiences have affected their adult relationships.
It requires the client to answer five questions or prompts:
- Think of three negative characteristics of the people who raised you.
- Think of three positive characteristics of the people who raised you.
- What did you long for as a child?
- How did you want to feel as a child?
- How did you respond to frustration?
Next, the client is instructed to copy these answers and use them to complete the following statements:
- I am attracted to someone who is…
- But I want him or her to be…
- So that I can get…
- And feel…
- But I stop myself from getting the love I want 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.
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 (“About IPT”, 2017).
Most Suitable Therapies for Teens and Kids
There are many therapies that can be used to treat children and teens. As with adult therapy, the best type will depend on what problems the child or teen is suffering from. 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 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. Psychodynamic
- Psychotherapy: can apply to children to help understand what is driving their behavior and discover patterns of behavior.
A Take Home Message
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 any of them?
Let us know your thoughts in the comments.
Thank you for reading!
- 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/
- Pearl, M. 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). Handwriting. Therapy Fun Zone. Retrieved from http://therapyfunzone.net/blog/ot/fine-motor-skills/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