It’s no secret that adulting in the 21st century brings with it unique stresses and challenges, some of which may at times feel insurmountable even to the best of us. 🥺
The fact that we’ve essentially been haunted by a global pandemic the last 2 years certainly doesn’t help, and it’s become commonplace to see many struggling with their mental health. ☹️
Perhaps the silver lining emerging from these tough times is also seeing voices emerge to give due regard to such struggles. 📣 Many have also come forward to promote therapy and other interventions for everyone keen to take a step towards better self-care. 💪🏻
But what happens when therapy’s too costly, or when it’s simply not a practical solution for someone on a tight schedule that’s gotta pay the bills?
Thankfully, a few brilliant minds in New York collaborated to create the Therapy Notebook, a guided notebook aimed at helping users track their emotions, become more aware of thought patterns and grow to reduce anxiety and manage stress over time. 🥲
Whereas therapy sessions can often ring in at more than $100 per hour, this humble notebook retails for just $38 and offers 100 prompted journal entries (more on that later). This may very well be the affordable, accessible solution that so many are craving. 🤩🌈
But first, to fully appreciate this ingenious invention and its laudable benefits, we examine the inspiration behind the Therapy Notebooks.
The creators of the Therapy Notebooks lauded clinicians’ and researchers’ progress in testing a range of effective tools for managing anxiety, especially Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (“CBT”).
CBT treatment usually involves efforts to change thinking patterns and behavioral patterns, with an emphasis placed on helping individuals to be their own therapists. Exercises in CBT sessions (as well as “homework” outside the sessions) help patients develop coping skills, which in turn enable them to change their own thinking, problematic emotions and behavior.
In recent years, CBT has shown to be an effective treatment for a whole range of problems, including depression, anxiety disorders, alcohol/drug use problems, marital problems, eating disorders and severe mental illnesses. In fact, numerous research studies have suggested that CBT leads to significant improvements in functioning and quality of life – and in many occasions have shown to be as effective as (if not more than) psychological therapy or psychiatric medications. 😱
Talk about a game-changing intervention. 🥳
But the reach of such tools has always been stopped in its tracks by the “accessibility gap” — available solutions are either too difficult to be used, not helpful enough or too expensive. 🥵
The Therapy Notebooks were engineered specifically to bridge that very gap. 💯
And given that the leading mind behind the notebooks themselves is Hod Tamir, PHD, the man knows what he’s talking about. 😎
But what makes the Therapy Notebook so special? I mean, journals have long served well as tools for processing emotions and putting thoughts to paper for decades (arguably centuries) past, and mental health struggles have continued to remain…sadly.
The differentiating factor here is how the Therapy Notebooks are strategically engineered by psychologists and supported by research. If it’s any indicator, the line-up of team members comprising of qualified psychologists (many of whom are PHD holders!) is utterly impressive. 🤩🤩🤩
Now to get into the nuts and bolts. 👇🏻👇🏻👇🏻
The Therapy Notebook is premised largely around the idea of adapting CBT into notebook/journaling form. The notebooks contain prompts to help users reflect, direct their writing and also provide effective tools and insights along the way. According to the experts, CBT is currently the “gold standard” of treatment in the psychotherapy field due to the vast amount of research backing the same. CBT has also shown superior results as compared to other treatments, in user testing. 👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻
That said, the team behind the Therapy Notebooks have given a disclaimer that the notebook does not serve as a replacement for therapy with a licensed professional, and doesn’t aim to render psychological, financial, legal or other professional services. ⚠️ If expert assistance is needed, the services of a competent professional should be sought.
However, for the many looking to invest in self-care and dip their toes into CBT (or for anyone who is unable to get started with formal therapy just yet), the Therapy Notebooks may be the perfect entry point. 🙋🏻♀️🙋🏻♂️🙋🏻
The Therapy Notebooks focus on leading its users through 5 simple, but powerful, steps:
- Write about the event – Focusing on the facts, which allows the user to separate the situation from the emotion. 🌇
- Note the emotion – Naming the various emotions felt by the user, so as to understand why the event triggered this emotion. 😀😌🤨😒😩😢
- Track the intensity – Recording the intensity of each emotion, to determine if an event or trigger results in a more intense emotional reaction. 😠😡🤬
- Identify patterns – Naming thought patterns, thereby making them less huge, intimidating and threatening. 🔴🟠🟡🟢🔵🔵
- Reframe your perspective – Taking a more objective, helpful and self-compassionate look at the user’s own thoughts and patterns. 👓
It’s clear that much thought has gone into breaking CBT down into digestible, effective steps. More specifically, the brand offers 2 varieties of the Therapy Notebooks, which we discuss briefly below.
The anti-anxiety notebook
The signature Anti-Anxiety Notebook is the company’s traditional offering, including evidence-backed CBT exercises. Specifically, it contains the following key features:
- 100 journal entries for when users are stressed or anxious
- Structured exercises proven to help users feel less anxious, and to track patterns
- 5 check-ins covering different therapy tools for anxiety
- 100+ notes and tips from therapists throughout the notebook to help guide and encourage reflection
- 270 guided pages on 8” x 5” paper
The Anti-Anxiety Notebook also sports a beautifully minimalistic exterior – a beige base with baby blue font and a matching ribbon. 😍 The title “Anti-Anxiety Notebook” is in small font, making the book fairly discreet for its purpose in case you have it lying around the house or are using it in public – and would prefer to keep it private. 🤫
In terms of usage, the company says it’s up to users. The notebook may be used either on a regular basis (as part of a routine), or only as-needed in specific moments of stress and anxiety.
The Anti-Anxiety Notebook retails for $38.
The depression guidebook
The brand’s newer product is the Depression Guidebook, which uses expert guidance, science-focused education and structured exercises to help users learn evidence-based tools for depression. Specifically this notebook covers 5 tools:
- Acceptance & Commitment Therapy
- Behavioral Activation
- Growth Mindset
- Dialectical Behavioral Therapy
Each serves different purposes and compounds in value for users ☑️☑️☑️
This notebook itself contains the following key features:
- 5 sections, each covering a different evidence-based tool for depression
- Therapist notes and science-focused overviews to guide you as you learn each new tool
- Structured exercises, spread across 80+ journal entries, to help you practical each tool
- A research-based introduction to depression and an appendix with additional resources
- 256 guided pages on 8” x 5” cream paper
The Depression Guidebook sports the same aesthetic as the Anti-Anxiety Notebook – it’s a hardcover, clothbound beige book with soft lavender font and matching ribbon. The perfect calming exterior. 🧘♀️🧘🏻🧘♂️
As for usage, the Depression Guidebook was intended to be used a little differently from the Anti-Anxiety Notebook. It’s recommended that the usage of the book be made part of a routine, and that users work through the chapters in order. In addition, users are encouraged to try each tool for less than a week.
The Depression Guidebook also retails for $38.
What other customers are saying
Perhaps the strongest testament to this product is the extremely positive word on the street.
Therapy Notebooks has earned a whopping 4.8-star rating out of 138 reviews on its website, with customers lauding its usability, with one user even calling it “a CBT therapist at the palm of my hand”. Many have also praised its effectiveness, with one customer saying that she “noticed a real difference in [her] moodiness and unrealistic thoughts”.
Emily – “This book changed my perception of my own thought patterns by introducing me to CBT. I noticed a shift in the relationship with my emotions and cognitive distortions within weeks, and incremental improvement over the months. It has genuinely changed my life by changing my negative thought habits.”
Kelsey – “The notebook has been really helpful sorting out my feelings and challenging myself to think about situations in a different way. I love the emotions wheel. It’s nice to pinpoint my emotions instead of thinking ‘oh, I’m just sad’.”
In terms of criticism, some users have pointed to concerns with the interior pale blue font being less readable in certain light settings. If you struggle with some form of visual impairments, this is probably something to be aware of. 😔 We do hope that the brand takes up on this feedback and comes up with a re-publication with more readable font soon!
Another thing we love about the Therapy Notebooks is their generous returns policy. The brand allows for online purchases to be returned within 30 days of receipt, so long as the notebooks are unused and in their original state. Full refunds will be issued upon confirmation of the return, though customers will have to bear return shipping costs. If you’re afraid of having a post-order change of heart, the company has kindly provided a way to accommodate just that. 👌
Our verdict: A game-changing self-care gem
In a nutshell, there’s little to nothing to hate on the amazing work of the Therapy Notebooks. The creative minds behind it have set out with some very lofty ideals, but have also taken great strides in bridging the accessibility gap, placing therapy in the hands of the people. 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻
We summarise some of our pros and cons on the Therapy Notebooks:
- Evidence-based structured exercises and guided content, so you know you’re being guided by the experts
- Beautiful, minimalistic and inconspicuous exterior so you don’t feel uncomfortable leaving the book around or using it in public
- Affordable, giving everyone an accessible entry point into therapy-inspired exercises
- Easily available on the Therapy Notebook’s website
- Not a replacement for therapy sessions with a qualified therapist (though some users have found it helpful to use the Therapy Notebooks in tandem with ongoing therapy sessions!)
For anyone looking to take self-care into their hands, and invest in their mental health, we couldn’t recommend the Therapy Notebooks more highly. 💯💯💯
We also take this opportunity to highlight a mental well-being guide that we’ve put together discussing why mental well-being is so important, and some of our tips and tricks to better care for your mental well-being. For those looking to invest in this area — we got your back 🙌🏼
Therapy Notebooks discount
Therapy Notebook is currently offering 10% off your first purchase when you use the discount code WELCOME10 on checkout.