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Battle in My Brain: A Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Game

The Battle in My Brain CBT counseling game

The Battle in My Brain incorporates CBT skills to help children with intrusive thoughts, temptations, guilt, and issues with anger, depression, and anxiety. It is a versatile and deep game. It helps normalize strong emotions and inward battles, often bringing relief and validation to kids. This game provides a way for children to identify and process the deep issues of the heart, driving emotional turmoil.

battle in my brain gameboard

There are eight categories of game cards, each covering common problems tweens and teens face:

  1. Tough Decisions: These cards challenge kids to think through how to make difficult decisions, problem-solving skills, and help them consider when to seek help from trusted adults. They can process times they have made poor decisions in the past and how learn from them rather than falling into a negative pattern of behavior.

  2. Angry Thoughts: These prompts help children recognize triggers, body awareness, and thought patterns leading to anger outbursts. As they become more aware of why they experience anger, they will be better equipped to cope with it.

  3. Temptation: Kids will be challenged to analyze how they respond to temptation and how to rescript thoughts to avoid making poor choices. The important thing is to help kids recognize that temptation starts as a thought before they actually engage in the behavior. If they can recognize the thought, they can challenge it and redirect their attention to an alternative idea, such as problem-solving or finding something else to satisfy the need.

  4. Danger: These cards are focused on making a plan to manage the fight, flight, or freeze response.

  5. Good Vibes: Not all big emotions feel bad. These cards brighten the mood and help kids learn how to focus on the good things in life rather than dwelling on the hard things.

  6. Guilty Conscience: We all mess up and make mistakes. These cards focus on recognizing where things went wrong and ways to try to make things right again.

  7. Peaceful Heart: This game focuses on the war within - temptation vs conscience, right vs wrong. It can be difficult to make good decisions, but good decisions lead to peace. These cards focus on what brings peace in their life and how to avoid the negative consequences of poor choices.

  8. Deep Darkness: There are times in life when hopelessness and worthlessness set in and despair starts to creep up in the soul. Many people have cycles of depression that result in feeling like they are in a deep, dark place. These cards focus on ways to cope with the darkness and to realize that it will not last forever.

Thoughts on Trial is a Story and Game about Self-Talk

The game cards are a little heavy for younger kids, better suited for kids in grades 3-12. However, I often use the picture on the cover to help young children process temptation vs. conscience. It has been very effective! They often recognize the similarity to cartoons with the devil over one shoulder and the angel on the other. They often struggle with communicating the inward battle, sometimes saying it is a voice in their head instead of recognizing the struggle. When kids say there is a voice in their head, parents often get concerned! I've had kids feel a deep sense of relief to recognize that everyone has an inward struggle.

The game is available as a hard copy, a PDF download, and for telehealth.


Helpful Resources:

battle in my brain game for anger, depression, and anxiety

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