Tools For Your
Emotional Health Toolbox

by Susan Hansen, M.S.

Had enough theory? Looking for ready-to use activities (with complete lesson plans) that work consistently with adolescents and adults?

Tools For Your Emotional Health Toolbox is a practical, hands-on resource book with more than 290 pages full of ideas, how-tos, activities, worksheets, detailed lesson plans, and informational handouts. The book can be used by teachers, school counselors, group facilitators, therapists, social workers, parents, or anyone else who has an interest in emotional health or personal growth.

My name is Susan Hansen, and I'm a life coach and university instructor in Phoenix, Arizona. I've worked in counseling, intervention, and education in the Phoenix area since 1986, and I currently teach several graduate classes in Ottawa University's school counseling program. I wrote this book because I wanted to offer some practical, step-by-step activities that would help teens and adults learn the skills they need to understand themselves and interact with others in the healthiest and most effective ways possible.

Reader Response:


Thanks for your brilliant book, Tools For Your Emotional Health Toolbox. This book is a wonderful tool and as a counselor working with emotionally disturbed and at-risk students, I found its lessons almost more valid than my actual credential education. No kidding!

As a result of using this book, my journey as a K–8th grade counselor is significantly easier and more rewarding. Thanks to you. Your book is user-friendly, applicable, and practical. I recommended this book to all our district's counselors. They love it. I believe now that as a result of using your book, I have found a secret to reaching many students I work with daily.

~ Jennifer Aaron, LPC, Goodyear, Arizona

Reader Response:

Tools For Your Emotional Health Toolbox is a phenomenal resource for any junior high or high school counselor, or anyone who works with adolescents. The activities that are provided in this book are turn-key; you do not have to think too much about how to put them in place. All of the instructions and handouts are available for you. The only thing you have to do is figure which activity best suits the group of students or the individual you are working with.

I have used these activities with high school students in small groups and in whole classroom settings. The directions are clear and easy to understand, and the students appreciate that they can follow along with a handout and have something that they can keep at the end of many of the activities.

Some of my favorite activities would be the Grab Bag questions, which allow for some great open discussion with students on a variety of topics, and the infamous Drama Triangle. The relevance of the lessons and real life examples help students to identify how they would act within many of these situations. Many students are ready and willing to participate in class lessons and discussions about real topics.

Guidance counselors who use the format of these lessons will find students who are actively engaged and who are thinking about how to make themselves a strong and emotionally healthy person. The activities in this book will help everyone from the new counselor to a counselor who has been working with students for many years. This is a resource book that is worth your investment!

~ Donna Lundberg, Guidance Counselor, Peoria Unified School District, Peoria, AZ

How do I know these tools work?

I began developing and compiling these activities when I worked on the adolescent unit of West Valley Camelback Hospital, an in-patient psychiatric facility in Glendale, AZ, in the late 80s and early 90s. The teens who came into our program had almost no self-awareness, communication skills, or problem-solving skills.

They needed very simple, practical, descriptions that broke these skills down into easy steps. I wrote worksheets and handouts, and eventually my co-workers and I taught the tools in a specific sequence to the groups of teen patients who came through our program.

Once we had the sequence in place, we saw a dramatic shift in the teens we worked with. If they got the whole sequence and had a chance to learn and practice all the skills, they left the hospital and did well -- we didn't see them again. If they were discharged from the hospital early, often due to problems with insurance coverage, and they didn't get the whole sequence of tools, we often saw them back for a second or third hospitalization.

I wanted to see if the same thing would apply to kids who weren't in crisis, so when I was finishing my master's degree in 1992-93, I took the basic set of tools to Centennial High School in Peoria, AZ, and spent the school year teaching the tools to freshmen in a weekly support group format.

As part of my master's thesis project, we tracked those students into the following school year, and documented their attendance, gradepoints, their classroom attitudes, behavior, and participation (according to teachers), along with their own input about how their lives had changed. Both statistically and in the feedback we got from students and teachers, the students who learned and practiced these skills made significant progress in their academic and personal lives.

Since that time, I've facilitated support groups with teens and adults over many years using these activities, and have repeatedly refined and updated the activities. I've gotten tremendous feedback from students, clients, and counselors who have used the tools. I consistently hear that the activities are easy to use -- and they work!

Reader Response:

I am a first year counselor at a K-8 Elementary School, and Susan Hansen’s Tools For Your Emotional Health Toolbox has been a truly effective workbook for dealing with many conflicts and issues. My personal favorites have been What’s Under Anger, “I” Statements, and Assertive Things to Do.

So many of the students who have come to me are dealing with anger management and we have done the What’s Under Anger process. The results have been very successful with students learning what is the cause of their anger and ways they can deal without hurting others or themselves.

Knowing how to deal with conflict by making “I” statements has reduced student-to-student issues in our 3rd grade classrooms. Teachers came to me needing help to reduce behavioral strife among their 3rd grade students. I used the “I” statement practice worksheet with each class and we also discussed assertiveness and Assertive Things To Do. Teachers saw students using these strategies to help solve their differences instead of hitting or using verbal attacks, which reduced formal referral consequences.

I keep Susan’s book handy because it seems I can always find a lesson plan or work sheet to help with whatever issue is of concern. Without hesitation, I whole-heartedly recommend this book to all counselors, whether it is the first year or twenty-fifth year of their career.

~ Denise G. Henry, K-8 School Counselor/Literacy Coach
Jasinski Elementary School, Buckeye, AZ

What you'll learn in this book:

In a durable, easy-to use format with many reproducible pages, this workbook includes:

~ Tips for setting up and structuring groups
~ Parent permission letters, student contracts, and other sample forms for starting school-based support groups
~ Warm-ups and trust building exercises
~ Dozens of additional group activities with detailed lesson plans
~ Worksheets for group, individual, or classroom use
~ Closure activities and a group evaluation

Activity topics include:

~ Understanding and processing feelings
~ Communication skills
~ Dynamics in families and other settings and situations
~ Grief and loss recovery
~ Problem solving and goal setting
~ Gossip prevention and intervention
~ Unsent letters and other open-ended discussion starters

Toolbox Table of Contents:


~ Setting Up Your Support Group
~ Support Group Interest Survey
~ Sample Parent Permission Letter
~ Support Group Permission Slip
~ Purposes, Goals, and Guidelines of Group
~ General Format for Weekly Support Group
~ Check-in Format
~ Tips for Structuring Group
~ Student Contracts for Support Group
~ Support Group Documentation Form


~ First Support Group
~ The Weekly Check-In Process
~ Abstract Auction
~ Grab Bag Questions

Family Relations
People in Your Life and How They Affect You
What If?
Choices and Decisions
Honesty and Lies
Grief and Loss
0-10 Questions


1. “I” Statements
2. Defenses
3. Why Deal with Feelings / Feelings Worksheet / What's Under Anger
4. Giving Supportive Feedback
5. Diffusing the Rage Bomb
6. Communication Styles / Group Assertiveness Challenge
7. Boundaries
8. The Drama Triangle
9. Healthy Outlets for Anger and Stress


~ Anger Discussion
~ Boundaries in Relationships
~ The Drama Triangle (Part 2 -- Victim Statements)
~ Setting Your Personal Boundaries
~ Taking Responsibility
~ What’s Under Hate


~ Choices and Prices
~ Double Messages in the Family
~ Dream House
~ Fear-Based vs. Acceptance-Based Thinking
~ Finding Common Ground
~ The Five Freedoms

~ Grief and Loss Activities

Dealing With Loss
Loss Checklist
Stages of Grief
Loss Survey
Loss Packet

~ Loneliness Discussion
~ Problem Solving
~ Roles in the Family
~ Seductive Behavior
~ Serenity Worksheet
~ Shaming Messages
~ Things Kids Wish Parents Would and Wouldn’t Say

~ Closure Activity -- Ending Your Support Group


~ Adoption Questionnaire
~ Assertiveness Worksheet
~ Common Characteristics of People with Eating Disorders
~ Feelings Journal and Daily Goal Worksheet
~ Fire Drill
~ Gossip/”Fire Starting”
~ Healthy Ways to Deal With Anger or Stress
~ Honesty and Lies Discussion
~ If I Had Time
~ Intake Questionnaire
~ Making Amends
~ Misdirected Anger Log
~ The Mistake Process
~ No Self-Harm Contract
~ Owning My Part in a Conflict
~ Questions to Ask in a Relationship
~ Reality Worksheet
~ Trust Issues
~ Unsent Letters

Anger Letter
Letter to an Absent Parent
Amends Letter
Loss Letter
Loss Letter FROM a Loved One
Loss Letter After an Abortion
Loss Letter After a Miscarriage


~ Support Group Post-Test
~ Student Evaluation of Support Group
~ Susan Hansen’s Contact Information
~ Ordering Additional Workbooks
~ Workshops and Trainings Available

When you order the e-book, you'll also receive these two bonus activities:

1. "Gossip as Currency" Article and Activity

I created this activity after a discussion in one of my school counseling classes at Ottawa University, when we were talking about why so many middle school students gossip. One of my Ottawa students said, "Well, it's the only currency they have!"

We talked about how middle school school students often feel lower on currency (things to offer in exchange for what they want) than their high school counterparts because they don't usually work, don't have their own money, can't drive yet, etc., and the simple currencies of elementary school (like the ability to ride a bike or play a game decently well) don't work as well as they used to.

This article and activity help re-direct students who use gossip and drama as their currencies (to get attention, be noticed, etc.) to discover the many other positive and productive currencies that they actually already have.

2. Conflict Resolution Activity

One of the best ways I've found to let go of the power struggle and actually resolve conflicts is this activity, which helps students or clients understand the difference between taking a "position" in a conflict (who's right and wrong), and focusing on each person's underlying interests. This simple, step-by-step process helps people in conflict come up with clear solutions that move beyond positions and are fair to everyone involved.

For your convenience, both of these bonus activities are included at the end of the e-book, in the section titled "Bonus Activities."

Reader Response:

Susan's book, Tools For Your Emotional Health Toolbox, is amazing. Any aspiring counselor must read and own this book! The book will not only help you tremendously as you begin your work as a counselor, but you will personally gain knowledge and tools that will help you in your everyday life. Words can't even begin to express the positive impact the book has had on my life and career. Thanks, Susan!

~ Troy H., Anthem, AZ

Reader Response:

I am a school counselor and work with students in grades K-8th. I have found the Tools For Your Emotional Health Toolbox to be my most used resource for group work, community building activities, and communication skill building. I have used the activities in small groups, mediations, classrooms, and individual counseling.

I have added the dealing with gossip lessons into my Bullying Prevention Program and incorporated several of the lessons and activities into my 7th and 8th grade Future Planning and Career Development Program. I find the students really respond positively to the way the lessons are taught. I would recommend this book to the new counselor just starting out and the seasoned counselor looking for new ideas.

~ Melanie Fortino, MC/MFT, School Counselor, Goodyear, AZ

Choose e-book or printed book:

1. Downloadable e-book (PDF File) -- 292 pages -- $34.95 (US)

I really like the e-book option. You get it immediately, and you can always have clean copies to use with your students or clients. The e-book is in Adobe PDF file format. If your computer doesn't have the Adobe Reader software, you can easily install it for free. Your e-book purchase is 100% safe and secure.

Click the button below to buy the e-book now.

Buy Now

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

2. Printed, spiral-bound book -- $36.95 (US) (with free Super Saver shipping) from

In the continental U.S., you'll receive your printed book from Amazon in 3-5 weeks. The book is printed on demand through Trafford Publishing in Indiana. It takes longer this way, but some people prefer printed and bound copy, and I understand that. You can have it in whichever form you prefer. Click the link below to buy the printed book now.

Buy Tools For Your Emotional Health Toolbox on

Reader Response:

I have been a high school guidance counselor for 6 years and in the field of education for a total of 9 years. I was fortunate to have taken master level course work, where Susan Hansen was my instructor and her workbooks were introduced. I have had the opportunity to use the workbooks personally and professionally.

In a career where you are providing support to others, it is necessary to reflect on your own life and work through issues and poor habits and behaviors that you possess, so that you can be an example of positive mental health. (Practice what you preach.) When working with teenagers they will see through your façade, so keeping honest is key.

These workbooks are not only for people who have unhealthy behavior, but for those who are looking to improve relationships with themselves and others. These books are useful tools for anyone who wants to improve personal and professional relationships with others.

The tools presented in the workbooks are tools that can be used in everyday life: communication, relationships, setting boundaries, parenting, making choices, problem solving, dealing with anger in a positive manner, being supportive, assertiveness, and positive stress outlets.

As a professional in the field of counseling, I can honestly say that Tools For Your Emotional Health Toolbox has been the most useful and practical resource that I possess. Without a doubt, it has been my prized possession. The book is set-up to be user friendly, providing objectives and a clear description for each activity. I have found it to be useful in group and individual settings.

Students become skilled at utilizing tools that will be useful throughout their lives. They are more self-confident and able to communicate their needs and feelings in a positive manner. I highly recommend these workbooks for those who are willing to reflect on themselves and their relationships, as well as counselors who are providing services to groups and/or individuals.

~ Terra Rush-Martinez, M.Ed., Guidance Counselor, Yuma, AZ

Return to the "Susan's Books" Page

Return to the School Counseling Zone Home Page

You can click on any book cover below to see more information about that specific book, or click the "Susan's Books" tab on the left side of the page to see overviews of all the available books on one page. Enjoy!