What are trauma and PTSD?
Before we discuss the worksheet, let’s discuss trauma and PTSD first.
In , trauma refers to the emotional and psychological scars that specific experiences or situations leave on people in their wake. These experiences or situations are often described as overwhelming, distressing, and horrifying.
Examples of such experiences and situations include the following:
- Being forced to flee your home because of a war
- Being sexually harassed and/or assaulted
- Accidentally running over and killing a person
- Witnessing a murder or someone dying
- Realizing that you’ve been emotionally manipulated and abused
- Losing your home to a fire, tsunami, earthquake, or some other disaster
Trauma makes it difficult for people to not only cope with what happened to them but it also makes it difficult for them to work through the trauma and move on. They will also likely have Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, a complex mental health problem.
Multiple symptoms characterize PTSD, and they vary from person to person. Here are examples of such symptoms:
- There might be changes in their personality, like suddenly becoming irritable and hateful even if they weren’t before
- Emotional outbursts
- Having anxiety and depression
- Having trouble sleeping and being prone to having nightmares
- Becoming indifferent and losing interest in many things
- Gaining the tendency to start isolating themselves
- Having thoughts of self-harm or suicide and acting them out
- Recurring emotions of anger, spite, shame, guilt, despair, disappointment, etc.
How to use the Letter of Gratitude to Yourself PTSD Worksheet:
As a therapist, counselor, or a similar mental healthcare professional, it shouldn’t be surprising if your PTSD patient constantly feels negative emotions. One of your objectives should be to remind them that there are good things in life and to provide them with the support and encouragement they need to shed their trauma. Easier said than done, of course.
One positive feeling that can help is gratitude. For something, someone else, or the self. Gratitude can help people appreciate the good that they have despite dealing with trauma. It and other positive emotions can help form a guiding star for patients to follow along the road to recovery.
Gratitude, especially for the self, can help remind patients that they’ve made it far in their recovery journeys and are still alive and kicking. Having gratitude for oneself is akin to appreciating oneself, and by appreciating the self, it’s possible for them to become even more motivated to push forward and recover.
The Letter of Gratitude to Yourself PTSD Worksheet gives PTSD patients the chance to partake in a writing exercise that entails writing a letter addressed to themselves. It’s a way for them to think about what they like about themselves, what they’ve done, and for still being alive despite a traumatic experience.
The worksheet won’t require much from them. The only thing they have to do is to write a letter that expresses gratitude for themselves. There are no special instructions, and those engaging with the worksheet have free reign to write whatever they want, how they want, so long as it’s related to their gratitude for themselves.
There are a few guide questions to help them frame their thoughts:
- What are the things you like about yourself that you’re grateful for?
- What things have you done in life that you’re grateful for being able to do?
- What would you be grateful for once you’ve recovered from your trauma?
- What are the things you’d like to do and achieve after recovering?
- How do you plan on doing and attaining them?
Letter of Gratitude to Yourself PTSD Worksheet Example:
The Letter of Gratitude to Yourself PTSD Worksheet was adapted from the original version by Tijana Mandić for The PTSD Workbook.
The original had no guide questions and was meant to be a letter to someone else. For our version, we framed the letter as something that patients would write to themselves, and we added guide questions to help PTSD patients frame their thoughts in case they don’t know where to start.
They have an entirely blank sheet to work with. There’s more than enough space for patients to compose their self-gratitude letters. It can be answered physically with a pen or digitally using a keyboard.
If you like what you see and think this PTSD worksheet will help your patients become more grateful to themselves, download our free Letter of Gratitude to Yourself PTSD Worksheet PDF template!
When is it best to issue the Letter of Gratitude to Yourself PTSD Worksheet?
If you’re a mental healthcare professional running a therapy or counseling program for people with PTSD, there are two appropriate times to issue the Letter of Gratitude to Yourself PTSD Worksheet.
One is when it is evident that your patient is making progress in their recovery. By issuing this worksheet, they can think about what they’re grateful for about themselves and focus on those as they continue their recovery journey. Doing so can motivate them to continue pushing forward until they’ve worked through and moved on from their trauma.
The other time would be the tail-end of your therapy or counseling program or when it is evident that your PTSD patients have successfully worked through and moved on from their trauma. This worksheet can be a way of thanking themselves for pushing through and getting far enough where they can live with their head held high without being weighed down by their traumatic experiences.
If you happen to be a non-healthcare professional reading this, we’d like you to know that our PDF template for this worksheet is free, so you can download and use it whenever you need to. Perhaps this worksheet can help you focus on what you’re grateful for about yourself to help you shed your trauma.
What are the benefits of using the Letter of Gratitude to Yourself PTSD Worksheet?
It’s an inexpensive and simple tool to use.
The Letter of Gratitude to Yourself PTSD Worksheet is a helpful and inexpensive tool. If you prefer having physical copies for your PTSD patients to fill out during your sessions with them, you’ll only spend a bit for printing!
Going paperless is another option because our template has an interactable blank section that anyone can fill using a computer or capable smartphone. You can send the worksheet as homework! It wouldn’t cost a thing.
This worksheet also doesn’t require anything special (other than capable devices if you opt to send PDF copies). Anyone with a copy of this worksheet can write whatever they want, so long as they discuss their self-gratitude.
It can help therapists/counselors learn about what their patients like about themselves enough to feel grateful for.
As mentioned earlier, one of the best times to issue this worksheet to a PTSD patient is when it is evident that they’re recovering from their PTSD, even if the progress is slow.
By writing down what they’re grateful for, PTSD patients can help inform their respective mental healthcare providers about what they appreciate the most about themselves. By knowing what these are, providers can make alterations to their therapy/counseling program for their patients and place focus on what they’re grateful for and other positive feelings.
Goals can be set based on what’s written, and they can think of ways to reach them!
It can help patients set goals post-recovery.
Once your patient has shed their trauma and has fully recovered from it, you can issue this worksheet to them so they can write about their self-gratitude, especially how far they’ve come since their traumatic experiences.
They can discuss how they’ve stayed resilient throughout their ordeals and what they plan on doing moving forward now that they’ve moved past what has caused them grief, pain, and sorrow for too long. Having positive goals can help give them something to work towards and prevent the possibility of relapsing.
How can Carepatron help with PTSD-related work?
Thanks for reading this guide! We hope this acquainted you well with our Letter of Gratitude to Yourself PTSD Worksheet. If you decide to download our template, we hope that it helps your patients rediscover what they’re grateful for about themselves and realize how far they’ve come since the traumatic experiences they went through.
While we still have, we’d like you to check out more of the Carepatron platform if you haven’t. We’re confident our features will convince you to subscribe and consider us your go-to app for trauma-related work and your number-one therapy practice management software. We won’t detail our features here, but we’d like to highlight one: our resource library.
Our resource library houses a massive collection of clinical resources. These resources cover numerous healthcare fields and topics, especially trauma and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
You can use numerous assessments to assess your patients' (potential) mental health problems. Examples include depression scales, anxiety and distress inventories and questionnaires, and checklists for developmental disorders, to mention a few.
We also have various worksheets, many focusing on trauma and PTSD. We have worksheets that help patients fight trauma-related intrusive thoughts. Some worksheets help patients unpack their trauma-related emotions. There’s even one similar to this epistolary worksheet, but it’s for expressing gratitude to others!
What’s great about all these resources is that they’re free! So, download as much as you want and need!