My Experiences & Passion for Working in Mental Health

Hi everyone! I thought I’d get a bit more personal in my next blog post. To begin, my name is Caroline Hubschman, and I am a licensed social worker (LSW) from New Jersey. I have my bachelors degree in psychology from the University of Maryland and my masters degree from Rutgers in social work. I have over a decade of experience in the mental health field working with many different populations and in various settings. My main focus now has been in the treatment of depression and anxiety as a private practice psychotherapist.

In one of my last semesters in college at the University of Maryland, I had a lot of free time. I have always been a go-getter and life-long learner. I reached out to a local psychiatric hospital and a residential mental health rehabilitation community to apply for a couple of unpaid internships. I wanted to grow my experience and learn more in a field that fascinated me. The funny thing is, the rehabilitation community did not have any positions open but I cold-called them and convinced them to hire me as an intern! They gave me a full-time position once I earned my bachelor’s degree and I worked there for almost 3 years in total.

In residential mental health, our clients lived in an apartment setting and our office was an apartment as well. We helped people with case work, medication management, groups, apartment care, and outings. There was always something to do and I loved the team atmosphere. My group “Feeling Fabulous with Caroline” was one of my favorites to bring self-care to the participants in the program. I would go out and buy self-care items like nail products and love to see the beaming faces of my clients as they engaged in a fun activity. Most of this early work was with people with schizophrenia which was a fascinating and great first experience for me.

As I moved on in the years with different roles in transitional living for substance use and community mental health casework, my passion grew for the disability community in particular. Losing an autistic family member to suicide inspired me to work with this population. I wanted to learn how to teach people with disabilities and neurodivergence the skills for leading fulfilling lives in particular. I worked as a counselor in a workshop with folks with developmental disabilities in Florida for a couple of years. This was a program that prepared adults to enter back into the mainstream workforce and was a great place for people to learn as well as make a paycheck completing piecework. The humidity, hurricanes, and flying cockroaches were not for me, so I decided to move back to my home state of New Jersey after 4 years.

After a couple weeks back, I jumped right into a training course to become a Registered Behavior Technician (RBT). I worked with autistic clients from ages 2 to 18 in this time for a few years, mostly in-home work and in centers. I loved the problem-solving and quick thinking that came with this job, as well as the creativity in teaching clients new skills. Hearing a child speak for the first time, learn how to eat on their own, or how to socialize with peers were just a few of the experiences that inspired me to work in this field.

I decided that to really pursue my passions, I would need to return to graduate school with my already 12 credits from attending the University of Maryland School of Social Work. I was accepted into Rutgers and continued there until I earned my masters degree. During this time, I also interned for a charity program with Muslim refugees, and then as part of the disability community as a support coordinator. Visiting and observing different facilities, homes, families, and other supports made me more aware of how to work with stakeholders to ensure that people had the best lives possible. My final internship was working in community mental health doing one-on-one and group therapy with members of the IDD (Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities) population . The intersection between the IDD and LGBTQ+ populations has been a passion of mine since then.

This has brought me to where I am today as a private practice psychotherapist. My rich experiences throughout the years have continued to inspire me to do what I love; helping others and making a difference in people’s lives. Of course, there have been ups and downs and a lot of learning opportunities. I feel that I will be a student my entire life as I navigate different areas of mental health. I hope you enjoyed my brief story of my experiences throughout the years as a mental health professional and that you too can find your passions.

Comment below any questions that you may have about the mental health field and if you are interested in learning more!

What are “Boundaries” and How Can They Help my Relationships?

Boundaries: What are they and how to create them | Wellness Center |  University of Illinois Chicago

What are Boundaries?

“Boundaries” is a term that many people use when talking about relationships with friends, family, co-workers, and other individuals in their lives. Boundaries are established rules and limits that we set in order to have healthy connections with others. These boundaries allow us to speak up for ourselves and our own needs while protecting the relationship. Boundaries are all about respect and understanding. Our values come into play by determining what is most important to us and how these values shape our decisions in relationships. For example, if your top value is timeliness, a boundary may be that your friends and family needs to put in efforts to be on time for events. Know your boundaries before entering a situation. Use assertiveness, confidence, and respect when setting boundaries.

Why Do Boundaries Make Us Feel Bad? — The Candidly

Types of Boundaries

Rigid – Not forming close relationships to avoid being hurt, does not share personal information, does not ask for help, has few close relationships

Porous – Accepts being mistreated or disrespected, overshares personal information, fears rejection, very dependent on others

Healthy – Respects their own values, shares an appropriate amount with others, communicates their needs, allows others to say “no” to them

These boundaries can be different depending on setting, people involved, and culture. Boundaries come in all types: physical, emotional, sexual, material, time, and intellectual. Again, all boundaries are based on respecting others’ needs and are violated when this is not followed through.

Learning how to set healthy boundaries... | Modern MFT

Ways to Say “No”

-I don’t want to do that.

-This is unacceptable.

-I changed my mind.

-I can’t do that for you.


Setting boundaries in life

How do you set and use boundaries in your personal relationships? Comment below!

Stop, Think, & Act Skill for Great Decision Making

Stop Think Act Teaching Resources | Teachers Pay Teachers

Acting impulsively can get the best of us sometimes, especially when we have trouble regulating emotions like anger, disappointment, and frustration. When you’re driving and see a red light, you wouldn’t usually keep going through it. When we see a yellow light, we slow down and act cautiously until green gives us the signal to go. In the same way, the Stop, Think, & Act Skill helps us to reduce impulsive actions by thinking through situations. I’ll break down this simple skill into 3 steps to help you to make better decisions.


-Imagine a stop sign or stop light in your mind.

-Pause and take a deep breath.

-Step away from the situation if needed and take a break.

-Identify how you are feeling

-Calm down your entire body and mind.

-Check out some emotion regulation and de-escalation skills in my earlier blogs to get through this difficult step.


-Identify the problem.

-Think through the different options for facing the problem.

-What is the best resolution?

-What are the consequences to your possible actions?

-Try a pros and cons list.

-Be cautious and take your time.


-Move forward with the best option.

-Go back and revise your action step as needed.

This is a simple tool for learning how to regulate your emotions, think through those hard issues, and act accordingly!

Stop Think Act stock illustration. Illustration of road - 30576619

10 Journaling Tips for Beginners

1,127 Bullet Journal Stock Photos, Pictures & Royalty-Free Images - iStock

Journaling is a great tool for tracking emotions, expressing feelings, and processing events. You may be thinking, how can I get started and stay consistent with this healthy habit? Below are 10 ways for journaling beginners to get started!

1. Start with setting a small goal such as writing in your journal 3 days a week for 10 minutes each time. Work your way up to a bigger goal over time or find the sweet spot that works for you. Even writing one sentence a day is a great place to start!

2. Use guided journal with prompts to help you to organize your thoughts and have topics to focus on if you are struggling with free form writing.

3. Try out a brain dump where you write out every thought you are having at that time.

4. Use your journal for gratitude by writing at least 3 things a day that you are grateful for or happy with in your life.

5. Find out which type of journal works for you. Some options include paper and pen, your computer, or your smart phone to write down your thoughts.

6. Decide if you’d like to keep your diary private or find some ideas that you’d like to share in therapy!

7. Figure out the best time for you to journal. Would it help to journal in the middle of the day if you are feeling stressed and need to let emotions out? Do you like to reflect on your day at night? Would you like to set intentions in the morning?

8. Write out your pros and cons of situations that are troubling you.

9. Write out a letter about a topic or interaction that is bothering you. You can decide what you want to do with the letter afterwards, to send it or share with a trusted person. It just helps to get those ideas on paper and see how you want to proceed with the situation.

10. Use a journal as part of self-discovery and finding solutions to problems. You can use the journal to vent but it is best to circle back and process situations in order to come up with resolutions.

Comment your favorite tips for journaling below! I also recommend the app Daylio to my clients for tracking moods and there is a daily journaling feature!

Daylio | One Mind PsyberGuide

How to Create a Wellness Planner

Wellness planners are great tools to track your mental and physical health journeys. You can start with a notebook, bullet journal, digital, planner or paper planner to jot down different categories of wellness. I personally use a Happy Planner wellness extension pack with a weekly spread to write out what I’m working on. There are also journals with prompts that can be purchased for goal and wellness tracking.

Ideas of what to include in your planner:

Affirmations: Check out this post for more ideas!

Meal plans/Food log



Journaling – Start with just a sentence a day!

Mood tracking

Intention/Focus for the day


Self-Care: Find some more ideas on this post!




Writing prompts with different questions for each day (Pinterest is a great resource for this)

Daily and weekly check-ins

Habit Tracking

Be creative with your wellness planner using pictures, drawings, washi tape, and stickers!

Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP) for Mental Health Support

WRAP® Wellness Recovery Action Plan at OCP - Our Community Place

It’s time to take control of your mental health by developing a personal action plan!

What is a Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP)?

The Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP) is a self-management and recovery tool developed in 1997 by a group of people with mental health challenges. This plan can also be used by people struggling with a variety of addictions. It is not a requirement to have a mental health diagnosis to make a WRAP, and it is great for people who are just working on managing stress. WRAP is used to monitor symptoms in order to increase self-efficacy, prepare for challenges, and improve quality of life. Your WRAP is meant to be reviewed daily and shared with your support system.

The key concepts of recovery that are bolstered by WRAP are hope, personal responsibility, education, self-advocacy, and support. These concepts are developed and maintained through following your WRAP. Remember that you are the expert on yourself and using WRAP can help to increase hope and control over your own life. It is important to educate yourself on your own struggles and experiment with different coping skills. WRAP is a combination of self-help and support that lead to better mental health outcomes.

Check out the WRAP website for more information.

**All links will be available by 1/19/22**

The parts of WRAP include:

-Daily Maintenance Plan

-Wellness Toolbox


-Early Warning Signs

-When Things are Breaking Down

Crisis Plan

-Post Crisis Plan

Comment below some ideas for your own WRAP!

Using PLEASE for a Healthy Body & Mind

DBT - Emotion Regulation - PLEASE skill - YouTube

Now that we have Accumulated Positive Emotions, Built Mastery, and Coped Ahead, it is time to put into effect the PLEASE skill! There is no denying that there is a body & mind connection. It’s important to attend to your mental AND physical health to get the best grip on your emotional states. PLEASE breaks down your physical health needs into categories so that you can identify what need improvements, your progress, and what you’re doing great already. Let’s stay in our wise mind today by making healthy choices!

PL – Treat Physical Illness – Make sure you stay on top of any treatments you have for physical issues and take your medications as prescribed. Physical health has a strong tie to mental health and the way that we can handle regulating our emotions.

E – Balance Eating – We all eat some junk food once in a while. It’s not about denying yourself these treats but more about balancing your diet and eating what makes you feel healthy. Check out future posts on mindful eating to learn how to slow yourself down and really enjoy your food. Don’t eat foods that make you feel overly emotional like sugar that could lead to a crash! Really learn how your own body reacts to certain foods. Now I can get a sugar hangover if I have too much soda the night before (welcome to my 30’s!).

A – Avoid Mood-Altering Substances – Avoid drugs and alcohol or use in moderation. Know your limits and how your body reacts to certain substances. Some substances are used for medicinal purposes and it is important to know if they are actually helping or hurting you. This all depends on your own mental and physical chemistry. Some of these medicinal drugs may add to anxiety or depression. It is best to consult a professional and stay in tune with your body and mind.

S – Balance Sleep – Check out my earlier post on sleep hygiene to learn more tips for sleep. Try to get an amount of sleep that is best for you. Keep a consistent sleep and wake cycle everyday. It’s important for our bodies and mind to recharge every night with good quality sleep.

E – Get Exercise – Do a little bit of exercise daily. Take small steps into incorporating exercise into your daily schedule. Try to add more walking into your routine or add in 10 minutes of strength training a day. Hiking and walking outside are definitely two activities I love that provide exercise and an opportunity to enjoy nature.

DBT Emotion Regulation Skills: Emotion Psychoeducation & Mindfulness -  Psychotherapy Academy

Here is a cool way to track your ABC PLEASE skills with a fun bingo board:


Leave a comment below on anything you would like to add to PLEASE that has helped you stay well mentally and physically!

ABC Skill: Cope Ahead of Stressful Situations in 5 Steps

Cope Ahead: The Power of Planning How to Cope in Advance - Bay Area DBT &  Couples Counseling Center

Now that we have completed A: Accumulated Positive Emotions & B: Built Mastery, it’s time to C: Cope Ahead!

Are you anticipating that there could be an issue in the foreseeable future that is causing you anxiety before it has even happened? Do you want to feel more prepared and ready to tackle this challenge?

Learn how to cope ahead of your problems in 5 easy steps!

  1. Describe the situation that may become problematic. What are the facts of the situation? Stay objective in this thinking. What emotions and actions are going to get in the way of using coping skills? Identify those emotions and actions. For example, if you get angry and overwhelmed, you may not be able to use deep breathing techniques.
  2. Decide what coping skills you want to use and the details of these skills. For example, the specific deep breathing technique of “box breathing” will be used for 2 minutes. This is where you can breathe in 4 seconds, hold 4 seconds, breathe out 4 seconds, hold 4 seconds.
  3. Imagine what the situation will be that you need to cope with. Paint a detailed picture in your mind of what you could be dealing with. Use your 5 senses to imagine what it could be like. Pretend and visualize that you are experiencing this situation in the present moment.
  4. Rehearse how you will use your coping skills in your mind in detail. How will you act, think, and say? What can you do to cope if new problems arise in the situation. What is the worst case scenario and how can you cope with that?
  5. Relax after rehearsing. What do you do for self-care? Check out my self-care post for some ideas. Can you practice mindfulness techniques and distraction from distressing emotions? My previous grounding techniques post offers some suggestions on how to focus on the present moment to bring relaxation.

Now you are ready to face any difficult situation face on. You’ve imagined the worst case scenario and how you would cope with it. Now the foreseeable event doesn’t seem so daunting!

What are some situations that you would like to cope ahead with? Comment below!

ABC Skill: Build Mastery

Build Mastery — Nina Barlevy, Psy.D.

Building Mastery is our “B” in the ABC Skill. This step happens after we have accumulated our positive emotions and before we cope ahead. Once we have worked on some projects and figured out what we like to do, we can start to become more skilled in it to build confidence and increase our self-esteem.

  1. Pick one thing to do everyday that will help you to feel accomplished. This could be cooking one meal, doing a hobby for 30 minutes, cleaning for 10 minutes, walking for 15 minutes, etc. Set a small but achievable goal that you can definitely fit into your schedule.

2. Do not set yourself up for not accomplishing your goal. Do something that is reasonable. You aren’t going to be the master of your hobbies in one day! I love to knit and I know that my projects are never going to come out perfect. I usually drop at least 3 stitches on the way to finishing a scarf but I know that it is made with a lot of love!

3. Starting with an easy task, increase the difficulty slowly until you feel like you are beginning to master the task. Add some challenge to feel that sense of accomplishment.

For more information on how to set small and achievable goals, check out my SMART Goals post!

The Surprise of Building Mastery. And actually recognizing it when it… | by  Ashley L. Peterson | Ascent Publication

ABC Skill: Accumulate Positive Emotions

Positive Emotions Heal!" by Peter Hampton, Ph.D.

In a past post, we learned about the difference between the emotional, rational, and wise minds. The emotional mind can overwhelm our thoughts and decision making. This can make it more difficult to align our actions with our values. Our rational minds can lead us to become more robotic with our thinking and lead to us stuffing down our emotions. To create a wise mind, the intersection between emotions and rationality, we can use the ABC skill! Let’s start with the “A”!

A – Accumulate Positive Emotions

This skill is about engaging in healthy activities that make you feel happy. Personally, I love to knit. The clacking of the needles and repetition of knitting make me feel calm and in the present moment. I try not to focus on the finished product and rather the calming feeling I have while just knitting and relaxing on my couch.

Knitting is therapeutic!

Now, give it a try and give your full attention to these pleasant activities to build positive emotions in the present moment. Do not focus on when the activity could end and if you are doing it perfectly. Create the possibility that positive events will happen in the future. Practice the Opposite to Emotion Action skill to work against what is holding you back like anxious thoughts while you are engaging in these enjoyable activities. For example, you may feel anxious that your project isn’t coming out perfectly so practicing the opposite of anxiety would be to distract yourself from those thoughts by putting your full focus on the project.

Here are some examples of Pleasant Activities to try daily (10 out of 225 examples from the DBT Skills Training book):

  1. Listening to Music
  2. Laughing
  3. Reading magazines
  4. Having a quiet evening
  5. Painting
  6. Practicing religion
  7. Going on a walk
  8. Being spontaneous
  9. Doing a craft
  10. Playing a sport

Now let’s consider the long-term and stop avoiding what we can do to create a fulfilling life. Discover what values are most important to you and find one value that you would like to improve now.

What are some goals that you can set to improve that value and pick one goal to work on?

3 Steps to Finding Your Org's Core Values - The Association

What are some small action steps to use to work towards that goal and pick one to take now?

For more ideas on how to set goals, check out this blog post on SMART goals.