top of page
Centre for Writing and Publishing-4 with.png


We all have different ways that we relax or can calm ourselves, and what works for one person may not work for another. Some of us are very visual and can visualise all kinds of wonderful and calming images, others find sounds and auditory information have a much bigger impact. Some folks find that they process information and can tap into their emotions better through their body and somatic exercises. Here you will find resources that you can use between sessions to manage triggers and overwhelming emotions. If some don't work for you, try ones with a different focus. For example, if guided visualisations are difficult for you to do, try listening to affirmations or doing some tapping instead.

Visual Resources

Visual Resources

The Container Exercise: Can be used when you are currently experiencing stress or emotions that feel overwhelming, 'too big', or uncomfortable. It is a temporary measure to reduce the feelings, make them more manageable, and allows for you to come back to them at another time. Helpful for after therapy sessions, difficult conversations, spending time in toxic environments, after a long day at work, and so on. (Video script from The Personal Transformation Institute). If you struggle with visualising or experience Aphantasia (when your brain doesn't create mental images for thinking or imagination), you can try this experience holding a container in your hands or placing a container nearby and imagining your feelings flowing into the object that you are holding or can see in front of you. You can combine this exercise with art therapy by drawing a container and looking at the completed picture as you imagine your feelings flowing into it.

Safe Space Pendulation Exercise: This exercise can help build tolerance for the physical sensations and feelings that can come with trauma and stress. For those that use distraction, numbing, and dissociation as main coping strategies, practicing how to tolerate mild irritations for a brief period of time, and learning how to quickly move yourself away from uncomfortable sensations, can be useful skills to build resilience and help you in your healing journey as we process traumatic memories. This guided visualisation uses slow bilateral tapping (EMDR) to help connect your visualisation and calmness to a single word so that you can 'trigger' this relaxing state by simply using the word in stressful situations. Slowly tap the tops of your legs, or knees, or your shoulders. Tap one at a time (like we do in session). Remember to go slow to encourage feelings of relaxation as going too fast can activate trauma memories. If experiencing these sensations is too intense for you, stop the exercise. If anything negative comes up during or after the tapping, stop the exercise. (Script developed by Dr. Jem Tosh based on Personal Transformation Institute original concept). If coming up with a safe space is difficult for you, try something from a special interest or something you are a fan of, like being in a place from your favourite television show or comic.

Healing Light Exercise: Can be used for relaxation after a period of overwhelm, chronic illness flare up or pain, or just when it feels like it would be helpful to spend a few minutes focusing on your body and/or mind's healing. If focusing on bodily sensations or being 'in' your body feels distressing or triggering, skip this resource. (Video script by Dr. Jem Tosh)

Loving Cat Meditation: Lots of people find being around cats comforting and relaxing, and have pets as emotional support animals. If you find spending time with animals healing, you may enjoy this cat meditation that focuses on feeling comforted, loved, and not alone. This video may be triggering or emotional for you if you sometimes feel lonely or unloved. You can check the transcript below before listening for potentially triggering content. (Video script by Dr. Jem Tosh). If visualising is difficult for you, you could try this exercise while holding a stuffed animal or soft blanket and listening to the affirmations.


Auditory Resources

Auditory Resources

Affirmations for PhD Students: Doing a PhD can be tough. Not only is it a lot of work, but sometimes students don't get the support they need, or all that 'constructive criticism' starts to feel like a never-ending loop of not being good enough. Here are some things that you should be hearing regularly from those around you as you study, research, and write your thesis. This short video can be useful for things like after a difficult meeting with a supervisor, getting negative feedback on your thesis or a paper you've submitted, when you feel fed up with your project, and so on. You might also like to join our virtual Reading and Research Group - it's a very supportive space for people at all stages of their career. This video may be triggering or emotional for you if you have waited a long time to hear these things being said to you. You can check the transcript below before listening for potentially triggering content. (Video script by Dr. Jem Tosh)


Physical Resources

Physical Resources

Cross Crawl Grounding Exercise: This physical movement can help when you get triggered and/or when you are finding it difficult to be present. It can be particularly useful for those who dissociate or struggle to visualise. Used regularly it can also help with memory and learning in general, or when you feel 'stuck' on a task. Some have found it to be useful for neurodivergent processing difficulties. Dr. Hannaford, author of Smart Moves, uses it when she experiences writer's block! 

Butterfly Hug: This is one of the first things I teach my clients for managing overwhelming emotions and being triggered (or when your trauma memories are being activated by your current situation/environment). Like EMDR, it engages bilateral stimulation (BLS), but rather than tapping quickly for reprocessing, you tap slowly to calm down and relax. If the idea of slowing down feels uncomfortable to you, or you sense resistance to it, this can be because your fight/flight is on and needs to be switched off first. For this, I recommend covering your dominant eye for a few moments BEFORE starting tapping (covering your dominant eye is an OEI technique that I introduce in your first counselling session, and in my opinion, it is the most effective method at stopping a trigger in its tracks). If the Butterfly Hug doesn't appeal to you, any form of slow bilateral stimulation can be effective - like going for a gentle stroll because each leg moves one at a time, so it's a form of BLS. 

Bilateral Drawing: This can be a great way to introduce creativity to your calming resources and one that focuses on the fluidity of movement over tapping. You can also choose to develop the drawing afterward moving into art therapy practices. Decide on something that you would like to draw, or just let your arms move without direction. Watch the video below for an example.




EMDR and Chronic Pain


EMDR, Trauma, and the Brain


EMDR and Trauma Tip Sheet

The three resources below are from Sonny Jane Wise's The Neurodivergent Friendly Workbook of DBT Skills (2022) from



Neurodivergent Friendly Sensory Profile


Neurodivergent Friendly Self Soothing


Neurodivergent Friendly Self Care

Extra Resouces for Clients

Extra Resources for Clients

If you would like any of the extra resources shown below, just ask for them in session. Resources can be shipped to virtual clients, or ask for them all in a resources package. 

emotional toolbox cheat sheet both.png

Emotional Toolkit Cheat Sheet Handout/Poster

stress cards 6.png

Emotional Toolkit Reminder Cards

Cover Eye Sticker.png

Emotional Toolkit Sticker Reminders

bottom of page