Letter of Gratitude to Yourself PTSD Worksheet

Issue the Letter of Gratitude to Yourself PTSD Worksheet to a patient recovering from PTSD

By Matt Olivares on May 15, 2024.

Fact Checked by RJ Gumban.

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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.

Printable Letter of Gratitude to Yourself PTSD Worksheet

Download this Letter of Gratitude to Yourself PTSD Worksheet to let clients express gratitude for themselves despite dealing with trauma.

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?

That’s it!

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!

Download this Letter of Gratitude to Yourself PTSD Worksheet Example:

Letter of Gratitude to Yourself PTSD Worksheet Example

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.

Can gratitude help people work through their PTSD?
Can gratitude help people work through their PTSD?

Commonly asked questions

Can gratitude help people work through their PTSD?

It’s not a 100% guarantee, considering that PTSD is a complex and nuanced mental health problem. Their trauma and PTSD have so severely impacted some people that they forget about the good in their lives, especially the good things about themselves. Some might even believe they don’t deserve to be grateful for themselves.

By incorporating gratitude in therapy sessions, patients can remind themselves about the good things they appreciate about themselves, and they can focus on these to help them move forward, no matter how slow.

Is this worksheet challenging to accomplish?

If we’re basing this on instructions, no. It’s pretty simple and can be completed in thirty minutes, assuming the person knows what they should write to themself. Whatever difficulties they encounter will likely stem from their trauma, like feeling that they’re not worthy or there’s nothing to be grateful for about themself.

Giving them the encouragement, time, and space to write a self-gratitude letter is best.

I’m not taking therapy/counseling. Can I use this, and can it substitute for therapy/counseling?

Yes, you may use this! Our mission is to make healthcare accessible to all. While it sounds like this worksheet can only be used when issued by therapists/counselors, anyone can download it! If it manages to help you work through your trauma, then we’re happy!

However, please don’t consider this a substitute for therapy or counseling. This worksheet isn’t guaranteed to work because PTSD is a complex mental health problem. We still recommend seeing a therapist or counselor to help you work through your trauma.

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