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The Horrible Thing that Happened is a therapy game to address trauma in children.  It incorporates cognitive behavioral therapy to confront thoughts and beliefs behind their experience.  This game allows children to implement coping skills as they vocalize their thoughts and feelings about trauma.  The game uses situation cards highlighting many trauma situations to help normalize feelings and discover if maladaptive thinking is present. It is a useful tool in developing a trauma narrative.   Due to the intense nature of treating trauma, the game allows for some comic relief.  The “Laugh a Little” cards have children tell a joke or do something funny to lighten the mood and to give a break after discussing heavy topics.


Please review the content before playing with clients.  While the game is designed to cause clients to address hard issues, some might not be ready for some of the questions.  Please adapt as necessary.


You will receive a zip file with the PowerPoint version as well as a text document containing the link to the Google Slides version.  Be sure you are NOT in presentation mode while playing, as the game pieces will not move. See the attached tutorial video for more information.


This game is also available as a hard copy and PDF download

The Horrible Thing that Happened - Telehealth version

  • You will recieve a powerpoint file and a link to a Google Slides document that should work even if you do not have PowerPoint.  The Google Slides files are simi-functional on a cell phone.  You can do everything except move the pawns.

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