When a child shows persistent signs of distress and it begins to seriously impact their quality of life, it is vital to get them professional help. When left unaddressed, untreated childhood fears may become phobias, and that often lead to kids engaging in avoidance strategies to help them cope with the distress. This is not an advisable long-term coping plan; and this is precisely where Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) comes into the mix. What exactly is CBT, and can it help kids with a wide span of mental health challenges? Let’s take a look!
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is an evidenced-based, therapeutic method that can be used with people of all ages, including young kids and teens. CBT is based off the idea that how we think and act affect how we feel. It explores how we perceive reality and asserts that our perspective is in fact one possibility of reality among many others that we may not always acknowledge. By refreaming distorted thought processes and dysfunctional behaviors, we have the power to change our emotions in profound ways. CBT equips kids with everyday tools to reframe how they identify, interpret, and evaluate their emotional & behavioral reactions to negative input. In truth, we could all benefit immensely from CBT - regardless of the nature of our mental health state.
While CBT is a form of talk therapy, it is far more than simply talk. The goal of CBT is to unlearn avoidant behaviors through application of regular practice. In fact, most CBT therapists give their patients homework - so that the progress made in sessions doesn’t stop at the door. CBT helps kids address a myriad of issues ranging from general anxiety and phobias to self-defeating thoughts, impulsivity, tantrums, and severe ADHD. Regardless of what your child is struggling with, it might be worth giving CBT a try - as it has a high efficacy rate and is an incredibly adaptable form of therapy.
It is undeniably of limitless value to help kids understand the ways in which thoughts influence emotions and behavior. As is well noted by Elaine Houston, “reframing counterproductive thinking and the beliefs that underlie that thinking is integral to navigating the emotional and personal challenges experienced during childhood.” We thus implement a number of CBT principles into Keren Media games given their applicability and efficacy in such a wide variety of contexts. It is also important to highlight that play is the universal language of kids. This is precisely why we implement numerous opportunities through our games for kids to expand their CBT toolkits - involving proactive, long-term learning of CBT coping strategies. It is no secret that play based learning is the best way to go!