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Unless otherwise specified, all materials on this page are Taking the Escalator originals. At the end of each subheading section are some additional resources from around the web for Taking the Escalator users to look through and download. These materials are open source for public use

Materials that are from outside sources are marked with a square bullet point as done for this line. It is our policy not to violate other source's copyrights, so if you notice a potential conflict, please email us at

Materials marked "CCI" are from a large collection which comes generously from the Centre for Clinical Interventions (CCI) in Western Australia, who has allowed these mental health worksheets and activities to be uploaded and shared for counselors by Taking the Escalator. 

Alphabetical Listings by Topic:

< To search by word anywhere on this page press: CTRL F >

Decision Making, Ethics and Problem Solving

Challenging Choices Checklist - This is specifically for life's more difficult decisions

Decision-Making and Ethics - Examining what is behind making the right choices

Ethical Decision-Making 2 - Using insight and ethics to make tough choices

The Five Basic Elements of Effective Decision Making

Group Problem Solving

Lost - When you just don't know which way to turn

Making the Right Choice - Another look at making decisions starting from good solutions

Red Flags for Decision Making – Warning Signs for Productive Living

The Space Between - Effectively using the space between feelings and words/actions 

When All Else Fails: The Costanza Principle - (Literally only use when all else fails)

Defense Mechanisms

Shielding - Looking at how we may try to protect ourselves from in comfortable realities

Group Roles - Outline of different ways individuals may protect themselves in group settings


Coping with Depression

Depression and Alcohol Quiz - A very basic quiz focused on opening up a basic discussion on this topic

Developmental Disabilities

  • Tips4Inclusion - Tim Rohrer is a young man who grew up with disabilities who now shares his own tools and resources

Disease Concept of Addiction (see also Addiction and the Brain)

Defining Addiction

The Disease Concept of Addiction - Review of "symptoms" of addiction

Major Life Aspects of the Disease of Addiction

Distress Tolerance

Eating Disorders and Body Dysmorphia


Empathy Moments

READ: Empathy without Agreement

"I Feel Like No One Understands"

Excuse Making

READ: Circumventing Excuses

Or READ - The Subterfuge Exclusion - (Similiar to Circumventing Excuses in different format)


Give the Gift of Kindness and Hope

Giving Activities - There is more happiness in giving than receiving

Yankee Swap Icebreaker

Goal Setting

Common Goals

Don't Just Set Goals, Keep Them Going

VIDEO LINK for above worksheet - Don't Just Set Goals, Keep Them Going

Four Year Prediction Time Capsule - An interactive exercise on long term goal setting

Giving Yourself the Best Chance to Succeed

Goal Setting - Using goals to build motivation

Goal Setting Collective: Looking Forward to the Year Ahead

Goal Setting Go Fish

Good Choices for Good Living

Hopeful Thoughts and Plans for the Year Ahead - Discussion questions for the upcoming year

PCRP - Person Centered Recovery Plan - (Submitted by Katie Tracy, LCSW)


Gratitude Grab Bag

The Gratitude Grid

Overreaction: Putting Things in Perspective with Gratitude

Grief and Loss

Coping with Death and Dying - A simple outline for discussing coping with a recent loss without abusing substances

Grief and Loss Cycle (Submitted by Caitlin Kennedy, LCSW, LCADC)

Guilt and Shame

Guilt and Shame - Understanding and learning to cope with these challenging feelings

Understanding and Coping with Guilt and Shame - Similar to the other but in a different format


Funny Questions

Icebreaker (See "Cohesion Building for Groups" on this page) Also check Forum page

Insight Building - Basic, (Early Stage)

Be Your Best Self

Counting the Cost of THC (This has nothing to do with marijuana)

Good Times. Bad Times

How High was I..How Low did I Go? Assessing highs and lows of getting high

Insight: Keeping the Window Open

The Irony of Addiction

Knowing What You Don't Know

Labels - For lower insight levels, comparing what is using, abusing and addiction

The Last 3

The Numbers Game

Past, Present and Future

Perspective Shifts for Positive Growth - VIDEO LINK: Perspective Shifts for Positive Growth

Point of View Adjustment - Looking at other viewpoints to gain awareness

Remembering Me A.D. (After Death)

Self-Ratings Scale (The Lanni Scale)

Taking a Trip to the Other Side - Again exploring insight and motivation building from new perspectives

Using Fables to Overcome Foibles

What is Self-Honesty and Why is it So Important?

Why Didn't I Listen?

Insight Building - Advanced

Addiction and Mental Health Pictured

An Interview with Your Past and Future Self

Find Yourself

The Insight Game - Who knows the group?

Keeping it Real

Making Healthy Self -Investments

The Mirror of Awareness - Using the Group as a Mirror

Overcoming Ignorance and Indifference for Positive Growth


Pick a Card - A variety of questions for insightful discussion

Self Searching for Acceptance

Simile Self Identification

Simple Insight Inventory - Strengthening existing insight to build motivation

Simple Insight Inventory II - (External/Support) - Working on external motivators and supports

READ - Topping Out...Worse than Hitting Bottom?

Truth Mining

READ - Unfollowing the Nonsense - A brief discussion on how media can influence perception

Why am I Here? - Getting honest about the real reasons for coming to treatment

Wisdom, Intelligence and Changing Your Paradigm


Integrity Self Exploration

READ - Integrity - (Reflective reading submitted by Charles Radiola, MA, LCADC)


Matrix Model (SAMHSA) - See "Stimulants" below

Meaning and Purpose

Meaning and Purpose in the Change Process

Setbacks, Meaning, Purpose and Belief

Mental Health and Substance Use Treatment (See also Feelings, Thoughts and Emotions - See also Co-Occurring)

Mental Health and Substance Use Treatment Overview

Read: Remaking Your Mind

Read: Should I See My Friend's Therapist? - Examining the Pros and Cons

Mind on Mental Health (Podcast), has an engaging host and knowledgeable speakers on MH topics

Mood Swings/Bipolar Disorder

Understanding and Coping with Mood Swings

Motivation Building (Internal)

3 G's to Keep You Going

13 Expectations and Aspirations

14 Character Traits that are Essential for Sustaining Internal Motivation

Decreasing the Negative & Increasing the Positive - (Love the Good, Hate the Bad)

Dissecting the Heart - Enhanced internal motivation building

Flammable Areas - Early stage insight and motivation building

Friction, Traction and Action

From the Heart - VIDEO LINK: From the Heart

READ - Getting Started - (What Do I Do? - Getting Started Up the Mountain) - Motivational reading

Going the Distance: Sustaining Motivation

Just Do It (Already)

Low Hanging Fruit


Motivate Me 1 2 3

Motivation, Determination, & Habit in Recovery - (Submitted by Cassie Jewell)

"Must Haves" - Identifying and Discussing Basic Needs for Self-Improvement

Positive Motivation - Building motivation by focusing on the positive

Recovery Stories

Simple Questions During Complex Challenges

Starting and Staying on a Positive Note


Music and Recovery - (Submitted by Caitlin Kennedy LCSW, LCADC)

Poetry and Writing 

Problem Solving (See "Decision Making")

Procrastination (Read now don't wait until later)

Progress Reports (See "Checking In")



Letting Go of Regrets

Relapse - See "Setbacks"

Relationships/Conflict Resolution/Social Skills (See also Anger)

The Cycle of Over-functioning, Guilt, and Resentment 

Guilt and Relationships - Coping with the challenges of guilt in relationships

Healthy Life- Healthy Relationships - Examining qualities for relationship building

VIDEO LINK - Healthy Life- Healthy Relationships - Corresponding video to above worksheet

The Ideal Partner - Looking at what you want out of relationships

READ - Is Tough Love Too Tough?

More On Relationships

Planning Ahead for Relationship Issues

Readjusting Your Relationship Radar - Adjusting the way you choose relationships

READ: The Relationship Analogy

READ: The Relationship Radar

Relationship Red Flags

Resolving Conflicts without Anger

Rules of "Fighting Fairly" - Some basic rules for conflict resolution in relationships

READ - Six Qualities of Healthy Couples that Stay Together

Social Relationships - Setting Priorities

Resentment (See Forgiveness)


How Do You Heal?

The Power of Caring, Connection and Resilience


Resilience is the Endgame


R-E-S-P-E-C-T...(Find Out What it Means to Me)