Skills for Big Feelings: A Guide for Teaching Kids Relaxation, Regulation, and Coping Techniques by Casey O’Brien Martin, LMHC, REAT, RN
Skills for Big Feelings is everything you need to run a 12 week therapy group for kids struggling with anxiety. The first section includes everything you need to set up your group, from consents to IEP goals if you’re doing it in a school. Then, each week is perfectly laid out with lessons, worksheets, mindfulness moments and family resources. Kids will leave each week with three new coping skills to practice between sessions.
This program was originally designed for schools but can easily be used in agency or private practice work.
About the Author
Casey O’brien Martin is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC), a Registered Expressive Arts Therapist (REAT), a Registered Nurse (RN), and a Licensed School Adjustment Counselor/School Social Worker. She has counseled in several settings and has extensive experience working in public school. You can find her on Facebook or Instagram. Make sure to checkout her website too for some great resources. You can find that HERE.
What We Loved
Skills for Big Feelings is a well thought out, turn key program. I loved that Casey included everything from IEP goals, to meditation scripts to outcome measures. This is perfect for counselors running their first group or those who just don’t have the time or energy to start from scratch.
I also really appreciated the variety of coping skills. Each week, the kids add a sheet to their workbook with three new options that they have discussed in group. There are so many to choose from, that kids can figure out what really works for them. I expect this approach to make a lasting impact on kids.
What We Didn’t
My only real complaint with this book was the repeated use of “happy thoughts” but that seems to be more common with those specializing in kids. I would probably switch it to healthy thoughts or truthful thoughts if I was running this group.
Being that it’s 2020 and the world is upside down, there are some things in the book that would need to be adjusted for social distancing and virtual use. Fortunately, Casey created a bonus bundle with interactive, digital notebooks, slides and everything you need to do that group online. That is very well done and definitely worth upgrading.
Skills for Big Feelings is designed for therapists to use with children struggling with anxiety. It is full of family resources and skills sheets that you can use with individual or family clients too. It is mostly focused on coping skills but you could definitely modify it to use it for groups dealing with specific challenges.
Buy Skills for Big Feelings today!
Save 20% on Skills for Big Feelings using the code LAUNCH20 when you buy it from the author HERE Offer good until 1/7/21
Note: If you are planning to do the groups online, I would suggest buying from the author and adding the bonus bundle. That will get you the slides and digital workbooks you need to take it virtual.
To further support parents, check out Parenting a Child Who Has Intense Emotions: Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills to Help Your Child Regulate Emotional Outbursts and Aggressive Behaviors by Pat Harvey ACSW LCSW-C and Jeanine Penzo LICSW.
Many therapists enjoy recommending books to their clients to supplement the work they are doing together. We also use books to help ourselves grow as people and practitioners. Remember though that books are never a replacement for real human connection or for therapy when it’s needed. If you find yourself needing a therapist, a great place to start is Psychology Today. If you are having thoughts of hurting yourself or someone else, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Hotline.