Here at PositivePsychology.com, 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 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
2 Reality Therapy Worksheets for Adults
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:
- Wants: What do you want to be or do?
- 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?
- Doing: What are you doing (behaviorally, mentally, emotionally, physically)?
- 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?
- Evaluate: Is your behavior working in helping you get what you want?
- 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?
- Plan: What plan do you have for moving in your desired direction?
- 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.
3 Couples, Group, and Family Therapy Worksheets
While there are many people who utilize the services of a therapist as individuals with personal problems, a large portion of those in therapy visit as part of a couple, group, or family.
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 think…
- 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.
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.
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.
3 Therapy Worksheets for Oppositional Defiant Disorder
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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 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