Creating Helpful Thoughts

The notion that how we think, to a large degree, determines the ways that we feel and behave is an idea that was proposed back as far as the Greek philosophers and has influenced a major school of therapy in the early cognitive work of Beck (1967, 1973, 1976) and Ellis (1987). This has led us to see that it is not so much the event that occurs in the child's life as much as the way the child experiences that event—and this tends to be determined by the child's attitude, ideas, and thoughts. Much has been written about cognitive-behavioral and other evidence-based approaches to working with children, and an examination of how this material can be communicated through stories is expanded in Chapter 15, along with a list of references.

The current chapter focuses on the development of helpful cognitive processes, including stories about useful thoughts to help manage the process of grief, and about how a child can misinterpret events or form false beliefs. There are tales about how thoughts determine our emotions, and how it is possible to reframe those ideas in a positive direction by learning to find exceptions to the rules, use the abilities a child has, discriminate, and awaken concepts that enhance confidence.

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