Coping with thoughts and emotions is a challenge for every one. I have struggled with anxiety for a long time, so when I realized my kiddos had a hard time with it too, I was understandably concerned.
I did some research to find games that might help with responses to certain situations or dealing with anger and came across Playing CBT.
Playing CBT is a series of games designed to help with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. While it’s, no doubt, wonderful in a professional setting, it’s also simple enough to use in a home setting as well.
I will admit that I was nervous, go figure, about bringing this game out. I know I don’t always make the healthiest choices in my responses to stress and I wasn’t sure how capable I would be of working through this. I was so wrong.
The games begin by introducing the players to the concept that Thoughts lead to Emotions and Sensations and then behaviors.
I played one of the beginning games with each of my big kids, separately. I didn’t want any judgement of choices happening, so one on one time was key.
In the game that we played, an event card was chosen and then two negative thoughts and one coping thought. From there, the kids had to choose what feelings the thoughts led to, and then what actions.
We started by talking about the characters as other children and then decided to choose events that they had experienced and address negative thoughts they had and coping thoughts that they might choose in the future, and discussed how the outcomes were different.
Both of my big kiddos (9 & 7) enjoyed it more than I expected. They were excited to compare outcomes and our conversations were very interesting.
My daughter asked if she could continue playing, alone, while I cooked dinner. She chose events and worked through some responses. She realized that even when a negative thought triggered a negative emotion, the end result wasn’t always bad. For example; a child could choose to talk to their teacher / parent and that talk might lead to a coping thought and a happier emotion. I was excited to see her expanding on the base idea.
We are all looking forward to playing more! If you are interested in checking it out, Playing CBT is available on Amazon (yep, that’s an affiliate link!).