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Friday, April 13, 2018

Privacy Please

A conversation with one of my clients prompted to me to write an article about whether or not you have to open up and share what is going on to benefit from counseling. I think there is a preconceived idea of a person lying on the couch as the psychotherapist probes the person’s brain during counseling.  It provokes feelings of vulnerability and insecurity.  This is far from the normal counseling experience. When a person walks through the door into the counseling room, they are fully in charge of what they share, how they share it, and on their own terms.  With this being said, being dishonest will not result in progress in counseling.  However, it is quite possible to experience huge growth through counseling without having to share your deepest darkest feelings.

Many years ago I worked with a child whose father had recently passed away.  This child was falling behind in school, had huge anger outbursts, and was suffering from depression.  He wanted to feel better, but by nature was a private person.  He did not want to tell people what he was feeling, what he was thinking, or even how he was doing.  I made a deal with him that if he would learn techniques in counseling, he could do them at home on his own and would not have to share his feelings with anyone. I taught him thought stopping and replacement techniques, coping skills, and how to journal.  He also took the time to make a memory box.  Within four months he had a complete turnaround, doing very well in school, was happy again, and was getting along well with his grandparents.

This is experience made a huge impact on me as a therapist.  It is not necessary for people to verbalize all their emotions to make progress.  Since that experience, I have worked with several other people who are generally more private about their emotions.  I have found that they need a coach, someone to provide a framework for them to work from.  Instead of processing all of the emotion in the counseling room they learn the skills and are able to get feedback. A session would generally consist of the client asking questions, discussing the situation in a general manner, and spending time doing psychoeducation.  I also try to role play, using made up scenarios rather than making them discuss their personal experience. 

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Anxiety Curriculum for Children

Counseling groups can be hugely productive, but also completely exhausting.  It helps to go in prepared with a lesson and supplies ready to go.  With so many different needs, having a curriculum for each need can be a helpful tool to have on hand.  

It is my goal to produce several more groups this summer.  I have ideas for impulsive, disruptive behavior.  You might want to sign up with your email for alerts so you don't miss out!  

Anxiety is a common problem in my counseling room.  Many children come in feeling overwhelmed and alone in their distress.  I try to normalize their feelings and we quickly get busy learning coping skills and how to combat negative thoughts.  This curriculum takes you through several steps to address anxiety in children. 

My goal is to help them understand why they are feeling out of control and to give them skills to regain control over their emotions.  

Thought Filtering Game

The basic concept behind Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is that your thoughts, feelings, and emotions are all entwined. First you have a thought or a belief.  The thought or belief triggers an emotional response, which results in a behavior. Therefore, negative thoughts will result in upset feelings, resulting in negative behaviors.  Replacing the negative thought with a positive thought will cue a positive emotion, resulting in a positive behavior. 

Everyone has self talk, the words we speak to ourselves in our mind.  Most of the time this is a silent, automatic process.  Occasionally the words will spill out of our mouths.  Behind our thoughts, a the root level, are our beliefs.  Most people have false beliefs of some sort, such as personal insecurities, distrust in others, assumptions we have made, or perhaps judgments we have made toward others. 

Did you know a majority of our self talk is formed in the first five years of life?  In our early years of life we are learning about the world we live in and forming our worldview.  Many of the conclusions we make at this young age are irrational and unreasonable.  Just have a short conversation with a preschooler and you will quickly hear some outlandish ideas!  We then spend the rest of our lives replacing these assumptions with new information we learn along the way. If we fail to be intentional about monitoring our self talk, we hold on to irrational thinking.  This is why it is so important for children to learn how to pay attention to their self talk and to question it regularly.

This game blends Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Play Therapy to help children become aware of their thoughts and to filter out negative or irrational thoughts.  To play this game, you will need a paddle, a bag of pompoms, and a bucket or box.  I was able to find all of these supplies at the Dollar Tree.  I bought a paddle ball game and removed the ball and string before use.

This game comes with full instructions , prompts while playing the game, and discussion questions for after the game.

To purchase this game for the low price of $1, please visit my website at

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

20% Off Sale!

Are  you in the market for some new counseling games or resources?  It is a great time to buy and save some money.  I am throwing a Spring Sale at my stores. It is my goal to provide affordable, quality cognitive-behavioral resources to counselors.

I feel the need to have a game for everything! When I can't find one readily available (for an affordable price), I make one.  I am working on some new ideas that will hopefully be available soon.

You can visit my website at and use the code spring20 for the discount.
Or you can go to my Teachers Pay Teachers store at

 To learn more about the games, click on the images below for links to blog posts about each one: