About Self-Management

So what is self-management?


  • Changes the way you think about your health. While doctors and other health care professionals can help, much of your health depends on you, and what you do. This means you need to learn to care for yourself, and help the doctor help you.
  • Teaches effective problem solving.
  • Provides a way to learn and practice skills to improve your health.
  • Helps set goals and track your progress.
  • Has been shown to be effective and appears to work by building your confidence in managing health problems.

Self-management is based on cognitive-behavioral theory, which is the idea that our thoughts determine our emotions and our behaviors. For example, we may find ourselves stuck in traffic, making us late for an appointment. We may choose to spend time fuming, angrily changing lanes, and trying to get through the mess faster. Cognitive behavioral theory suggests a different choice, a more adaptive approach. Instead we can acknowledge that the traffic is unexpected and inconvenient but think and tell ourselves that there’s nothing we can do to change it. We can call and let someone know we’ll be late and use the time in a more effective way, such as listening to that new CD we bought. In making the second choice, we respond to the situation more calmly and adapt to the situation. This way, our emotions and behaviors are productive rather than destructive. Cognitive behavioral theory states that if we want to change our behavior or improve the way we feel then we must learn more adaptive ways of responding to life experiences.

Self-management programs have been developed for people dealing with a variety of health conditions, including diabetes and arthritis. However, NextSteps is the only program designed for people who are coping with life after a serious injury. We know from research that self-management programs work best when they are tailored to a person’s specific needs. Many experts in the fields of trauma and rehabilitation have contributed to the development of NextSteps. As a result, the program is customized to meet the specific needs of trauma survivors like you.


  • More personal power. You become skilled at finding solutions to your health problems. You can learn to take control of situations that may have felt out of control in the past.
  • Increased confidence. As you experience successes with self-management, you gain greater confidence in your abilities.
  • Better prepared to handle difficult situations. By being prepared you are better able to handle difficulties as they arise, rather than experiencing a crisis. You can turn what used to be a “wall” into a “speed bump” that you can deal with.
  • Improved health. If you set health goals and follow a plan for achieving them, you begin to notice improved health. You may experience this is the form of increased energy, less pain, improved mood, or other ways.
  • Better quality of life. Having better health and having confidence in yourself, you’re able to enjoy yourself and your life more!