Whatever You Do, Don’t Think about Pink Elephants

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Something a lot of my clients struggle with is thought stopping. Thought stopping refers to shutting down a thought that is unpleasant, distressing, or uncomfortable. We are all constantly thinking, all the time, without even trying. Sometimes when a thought is upsetting, it can be hard to let it go.

Kids sometimes have trouble understanding that they could have a thought that they don’t want to have because thinking often feels deliberate, so I use this activity to help them see that thoughts can be automatic and not intentional. Then I use a mindful visualization activity to help them replace a “bad” thought with something calming or enjoyable.

You can create your own template or use the one I created below!

Published by Amy Marschall, Psy.D.

Dr. Amy Marschall received her Psy.D. from the University of Hartford in September 2015. Her clinical interests are varied and include child and adolescent therapy, TF-CBT, rural psychology, telemental health, sexual and domestic violence, psychological assessment, and mental illness prevention. Dr. Marschall presently works in the Child and Adolescent Therapy Clinic at Sioux Falls Psychological Services in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, where she provides individual and family therapy and psychological assessment to children, adolescents, and college students. She also facilitates an art therapy group for adolescents and college students with anxiety and depression. Dr. Amy Marschall is certified in Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Telemental Health.

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