Psychology of Positive Thinking

Positive Psychology

I really appreciate positive psychology because the concept and activities are simple, yet applicable and effective to so many areas of life. You don’t need a psych background to use the worksheets and resources I’ve listed below. One of the most extensive online resources is a link from  I am impressed with the wealth of information on this site.

Being a child therapist, I LOVE GAMES! I must first share these games and tools I found on Amazon to teach our children, and clients, and even ourselves the art of positive thinking. I ordered several myself already and can’t wait to show you!! Please order some for  your own use and send in a video or review for the readers and I! I get really excited about these things 🙂

What is Positive Psychology

According to the Positive Psychology Center:

Positive Psychology is the scientific study of the strengths and virtues that enable individuals and communities to thrive. The field is founded on the belief that people want to lead meaningful and fulfilling lives, to cultivate what is best within themselves, and to enhance their experiences of love, work, and play.

A Favorite Exercise Continue reading “Psychology of Positive Thinking”

Wizard Therapists? Video Games That Target Depression, Anger Management, and Social Skills

Technology is playing more and more of a role in our lives today and the mental health field is taking advantage of all there is to offer as well. I was happy to come across some creative uses of this technology in treating mental and behavioral health. Video games!!

While there are just a few listed here, and two are not even ready for distribution, I am still excited to see the possibilities in using video games for good, rather than just promoting violence. In addition, these games are created with clinical professionals and undergoing clinical testing.

SPARKS- Using Avatars to Treat Depression

SPARKS video game in New Zealand has created a video game to combat teenage depression using Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.According the the Sparx website, this game is NOT yet available for distribution as it is still going through clinical trials. I will keep watch though!

...And here's your new therapists: the SPARX computer game uses cognitive behavioural therapy to try to remove depression

“…And here’s your new therapists: the SPARX computer game uses cognitive  behavioural therapy to try to remove depression
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Rather than simply encouraging players to  engage in combat or destruction, the SPARX video game developed in New Zealand  attempts to teach teenagers how to deal with depression using the psychological  approach known as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT).

Just as importantly, its creators set out to  make the game exciting for those teenagers who are often reluctant to seek  counselling and bored by well-meaning advice on how to cope with  depression.

The result is a role-playing fantasy game,  where teenagers adopt a warrior avatar and get to blast negative thoughts with  fireballs while trying to save the world from sinking into a mire of pessimism  and despair.

Project leader Sally Merry, a child and  adolescent psychiatrist at Auckland University, said the unconventional approach  had proved popular with teenagers, allowing them to address their issues in  privacy and at their own pace.

‘You can deal with mental health problems in  a way that doesn’t have to be deadly serious,’ she said. ‘The therapy doesn’t  have to be depressing in and of itself. We’re aiming to make it fun.’

RAGE CONTROL (Regulate And Gain Emotional Control)

According to an online article by Harvard Magazine, this video game is being tested as a way to help kids deal with anger and gaining control of their emotions.

The pilot study at Children’s Hospital Boston tests an intervention that features a video game based on the 1980s arcade favorite Space Invaders. Players shoot down space aliens, but with an important modification: they wear a monitor on one pinkie that tracks heart rate as they play. If that indicator rises above resting levels—signaling that they’re overexcited—players lose the ability to shoot.

Succeeding at the game, known as RAGE Control (Regulate and Gain Emotional Control), is a careful balancing act. “You need to learn how to control your level of arousal,” he says, “but just enough that you can still react rapidly and make quick decisions.”

Participants play during sessions with Peter Ducharme, a licensed clinical social worker who has adapted traditional anger-management therapy to complement the game. During the course of five hour-long sessions, he teaches kids strategies to regulate their emotional states—including deep breathing and progressive muscle relaxation—and then encourages them to experiment to see which strategies aid their game play.


Second Life is a real world style of video game where players create their own avatar and interact with the social world around them. It is now being used to help individuals with Aspergers and others on the Autism spectrum learn to interact socially, but at their own pace. Brigadoon is the project leading this trend. I can see where there would be some controversery surrounding the use of Second Life for this purpose, but, while games are not a replacement for real social interaction, it’s a good start for some. After all, we need to meet them where they are first.

You May Also Like:

Recognizing Depression in Men

Possible Reasons Your Teen “Just Doesn’t Give a Care” Anymore

Fun and Easy To Make Relaxation Flip Books

Counseling Children- A Great Resource

Last week I came across a great website after being notified my recent post Kids Feel “Out Of Control” When Angry and How We Can Help was highlighted as a reference on their post,  Dealing With Your Child’s Emotions.

I love finding new and useful resources and wanted to share this with you as well! I don’t know the identity of the site’s author, but what I enjoy about Counseling Children-Advice for Concerned Parents and Guardians is that they pull from various professional resources and articles to offer their readers. In reading through some of their topics, I have found connections with even more useful resources and valuable information.

A few posts you may enjoy on their site are Dealing With Your Child’s Emotions,  Kids With Autism And Their Trust In Pediatricians, and What You Can Do About Separation Anxiety.

You May Also Like:

Preparing For Postpartum Depression
Staying Connected As A Family
Kids Feel “Out Of Control” When Angry and How We Can Help

Books by Topic for Children, Parents, and Mental Health Professionals

With this being a fairly new website, I have plenty of plans to upgrade and make it even more informative and fun! I recently updated the Books Section, under the Links, Books, and Other Tools tab of this site. Using my Goodreads account, you can brouse my selections by topic or by the reader (adult, child, or professional). You can then read summaries and reviews of the books. As always, please forward any suggestions my way and check back regularly as new books are added each week!


Abuse and Neglect


Adoption and Foster Care










Grief and Loss


Play Therapy



Teen Girl Issues





Must Read Books on Childhood Abuse

April is Child Abuse Awareness Month!

Below is a list of books for children, as well as parents, teens, and professionals on child abuse. As you will see, abuse during childhood is not only an issue for child therapists. Adults who were abused as children continue to struggle with feelings of anger, shame, and depression from their experience.


Something Happened and I’m Scared to Tell

A Terrible Thing Happened: A Story for Children Who Have Witnessed Violence or Trauma

The Trouble with Secrets

Reena’s Bollywood Dream: A Story About Sexual Abuse

Annabelle’s Secret: A Story About Sexual Abuse

Please Tell: A Child’s Story About Sexual Abuse


A Child Called It

The Lost Boy: A Foster Child’s Search for the Love of a Family

A Man Named Dave

Play Therapy with Abused Children

Finding Sunshine After the Storm: A Workbook for Children Healing from Sexual Abuse

The Words Hurt: Helping Children Cope with Verbal Abuse

When Your Child Has Been Molested: A Parent’s Guide to Healing and Recovery

How Long Does It Hurt?

We Are Not Alone: A Guidebook for Helping Professionals and Parents Supporting Adolescent Victims of Sexual Abuse

Therapeutic Exercises for Victimized and Neglected Girls

Structured Psychotherapy Groups for Sexually Abused Children and Adolescents

Gentling: A Practical Guide to Treating PTSD in Abused Children

Repair for Kids: A Children’s Program for Recovery from Incest and Childhood Sexual Abuse

A Brother’s Journey: Surviving a Childhood of Abuse

The Courage to Heal: A Guide for Women Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse

My Story

Am I Bad: Recovering from Abuse

The Invisible Child

Understanding Child Abuse and Neglect

Child Abuse and Culture: Working with Diverse Families

The Breakdown of an All-American Family

You may also enjoy reading Early Trauma and Attachment!