Stutz Documentary & Therapy (Upper-Intermediate/Advanced)

ESL/EFL Level: Upper-Intermediate/Advanced (see note)
Lesson Topic: mental health, therapy, the 2022 documentary Stutz 
Skill Focus
: Speaking, Listening, Vocabulary, Grammar (Wish)
Approximate Class Time: 2 hours
Lesson Plan Download: stutz-therapy-lesson-advanced-012023.docx
Lesson Overview:

  • This lesson follows a series of short clips from the 2022 documentary Stutz about tools to improve mental health and overall well-being (load the link and then progress through the lesson). The clips include therapist Phil Stutz's foundational ideas and tools. The lesson goes step-by-step through each tool and includes a quotation from each section and discussion/comprehension questions. Unlike our other lessons, the main speaking component is the discussion questions of the clips themselves.
  • The clips section is followed by a vocabulary section, and then a grammar activity reviewing wish.
  • All lessons come with warm-up questions and discussion questions.

A head with arrows.

Notes to Teachers:

  1. Use this lesson with students whom you have a trusting bond with. The student should be willing to discuss abstract concepts about life openly, try a few (short) therapy techniques, and share about his/her life.
  2. The lesson contains a few censored swear words (the F-word mainly).
  3. This lesson does not require watching the whole documentary, though that would be a great pre- or post-lesson task.
  4. The speech in the clips is clear, slow, and subtitled. I feel that an upper-intermediate (B2) student could understand Stutz. The vocabulary I've highlighted in the lesson plan is C1/C2, but I've also tagged it as upper-intermediate because the speech is so comprehensible.
  5. To further practice using wish, try this therapy speaking activity or Corrupt a Wish.


Warm-up Questions (Pair-work)

  1. When you have a problem in life, what do you do?
  2. What’s your opinion of therapy? Would you ever see a therapist? Why or why not?

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-- Lesson plan on Therapy and Stutz written by Matthew Barton of (copyright). Site members may photocopy and edit the file for their classes. Permission is not given to rebrand the lesson, redistribute it on another platform, or sell it as part of commercial course curriculum. For questions, contact the author.

 Possible answers to comprehension questions:

  1. … / The three levels are the physical body (bottom level), then your relationship with other people, and then, at the top, your relationship with yourself.
  2. Hill thinks it’s crazy that people could feel significantly better (85%) if they just exercised.
  3. He wishes exercise and diet were recommended as a way to improve mental health.
  4. (The purpose is to change your unpleasant state/mood, and give you hope that you can change).
  5. He uses drawings to turn big ideas into simple images; he feels it's more powerful than using words. It also creates a personal relationship (possibly because each drawing feels personalized).
  6. Stutz says the shadow needs attention from you.
  7. (A snapshot is a vision of your perfect life or perfect experience.)
  8. He learned that achieving it did not remove the pain that he’s had in life or make him feel better.
  9. It is the ability to pursue the things you want, yet also be willing not to have it. It is the ability not to feel loss for not obtaining something.

 Vocabulary answers: 1-b, 2-k, 3-i, 4-a, 5-h, 6-L, 7-f, 8-c, 9-j, 10-e, 11-d, 12-g


  • [1] Image downloaded from
  • [2] Image downloaded from

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