The Workbook

Pesky gNATs began as a simple homemade workbook written by Dr Gary O’Reilly for some of the young people he met in his clinical practice. The workbook is now available in English (UK), English (USA), Spanish, Arabic, Slovakian, Polish and German. 

You can request the workbook by emailing Gary at gary.e.oreilly@ucd.ie stating your mental health qualification and he will email it to you by return. He’s only human though, so give him a chance to reply!

The workbook is a collection of worksheets to help children and young teenagers develop skills to help them manage a wide range of emotional and behavioural problems.  They are intended for use by psychologists, social workers, child care workers, child psychiatrists and other mental health professionals to assist them in their routine clinical practice.

The basic idea in creating the workbook was to develop and provide a freely available resource for clinical work that (a) facilitates the discussion of life experiences, self-perception, family relationships and (b) supports skill development in areas such as expressing how you feel, recognising and changing distorted thinking, managing anger, problem solving, planning good times, and relaxation.  The workbook can be applied to a range of different problems that children present with in clinical settings  In using it with young people, workers can dip in and out selecting the specific parts that are relevant for their clients.  Each time professionals wish to use the materials they can simply print out a good quality fresh copy of the relevant worksheets.  

Fundamental to the approach is a positive and humorous outlook supported by colourful and interesting worksheets. Consequently there are characters such David gNATenborough who teaches you about strange creatures called gNATs or Negative Automatic Thoughts and how to swat them.  A blues band (Sonny Skye Blues and The C of Tranquillity) who turn red hot anger into cool blue.  Problem solving with Einstein and his mate Duffy the Vampire Mayor.  Meet the family with a mafia godfather.  Life-story telling as it might be suggested by James Joyce and Homer.  And two figures - Socks Blunder and Harmony Sounds - who teach communication skills while searching for extra-terrestrial life…  
The current components of the workbook are: 

About Me:
Worksheets where the young person describes how they see themselves

My Family:
A mafia boss introduces you to his family and as a mark of respect the young person introduces his family and thinks about relationships and feelings in family life 

The Story of My Life:
Reflect on your life story 

Expressing How I Feel:
The cyclops Ivan Eymann teaches you how to use I statements to express your feelings 

My Behaviour: 

Take Dr Watson’s challenge to make positive changes to your behaviour 

Thinking Straight: 

The characters from David Natenbourough & the Search for the Intergalactic Space Moose teach core CBT skills 

Communication Skills: 

Socks Blunder & Harmony Sounds teach communication skills while looking for extra-terrestrial life!

Good Times: 

The young person plans activities to give them positive experiences and a sense of mastery     

Learning How to Relax: 

Learn a progressive muscle relaxation  technique 

Learning How to Rethink Angry Feelings: 

Blues musician Sonny Skie Blues & his band The C of Tranquility explain how to turn red hot anger into a cool blue 

Problem Solving:

Learn how to solve problems with Albert Einstein & Duffy the Vampire Mayor