Cognitive Distortions is a cognitive behavioral counseling game to help kids overcome unhealthy patterns of thinking. Cognitive distotions can lead to many types of problems including anxiety, anger, relationship problems, and depression. Fortunately, kids can learn to confront these patterns of thinking and rescript their thoughts.
The game highlights some of the most common cognitive distortions: blaming, controlling, catastrophizing, magnifying, filtering, global labels, and mind-reading.
People struggle with the controlling cognitive distortion when they feel that they must be in control of a situation. They get anxious or angry when they feel out of control. People who struggle with controlling suffer in their relationships and usually have significant battles with anxiety.
Mind-reading is assuming that you know what another person is thinking. Making assumptions about other people's thought lives or motivations leads to unnecessary offense and hurt feelings. It is best to talk things out and ask questions rather than assuming.
Blaming others for things that happens is a set up for disaster in relationships. The blaming cards present situations so that kids can empathetically consider how it would feel to be blamed by someone else and to think about the consequences for their actions. They will be challenged to take personal responsibility or to show grace rather than blaming.
Why I think catastrophizing, I think Chicken Little. People who catastrophize always think something horrible is about to happen and are in a panicked state of mind. These cards encourage them to think rationally about what is happening rather than reacting with panic.
In every day life we expererience good things about our day and not so good things. People who use filtering focus on the negative aspects of a situation and ignore the good things. This leads to a negative outlook and discontent.
Magnifying happens when someone exaggerates thier problems. A small situation may feel huge to them, leaving them feeling overhwlemed and out of control.
Cognitive Distortions requires some complex thinking skills and is best for kids in third grade and up. The concepts are too heavy for smaller kids. This game is ideal for middle school kids, but can be used for more mature elementary kids or high school kids.