Our brains LOVE patterns, and they look for easy ways to process information. It's no surprise that our brains sometimes make mistakes! Here are the top 10 most common Cognitive Distortions that trick us and hold us back.
Sending hurtful text messages, posting embarrassing photos and videos, spreading cruel rumors: as a therapist for teens and young adults, I’ve seen enough variations of cyberbullying to make your head spin. Commonly found in the world of preteen and teens, cyberbullying has the potential to hurt more than an in-person attack. Teens and young adults experience high instances of social anxiety for a reason: their brains are programmed to care a great deal about social evaluation. As a result, negative judgment can leave them feeling cast out and broken. Here’s what I’ve learned about managing this online epidemic, and how you can make it through these experiences a stronger, more balanced individual!
Patience is a tough skill to harness. Yes, I said skill! Impatience is not a personality trait that can’t be modified. BUT… it takes work. Is it a worthy task? YES! If you’re feeling motivated to exercise your patience muscles, check out the link here to an article on Brit+Co, where my own tips, as well as others from therapists around the country, have been featured.
I am a HUGE fan of bibliotherapy! It’s cost-effective, long-lasting (you can always reference your favorites when you’re seeking direction), and the best books are collections of YEARS of gained experience and knowledge. I love hunting for the perfect books for my clients to inspire them and provide support for the challenges they face. Here are some of my ALL-TIME favorites.
1) Parenting Teens With Love And Logic: Preparing Adolescents for Responsible Adulthood by Foster Cline and Jim Fay
While a lot of parenting books are outdated, dull, or contradicting, this one is a balanced and down-to-earth guide to establishing clear boundaries while still nurturing children. It’s particularly excellent for parents who are experiencing quite a bit of push-back and hostility from their teens. If you’re seeking to improve your relationship with your son or daughter and decrease the tension in the air, this is the book for you.
2) Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli
This book is a breath of fresh air and great for preteens, teens, and adults, too! Inspiring us to be true to ourselves, no matter the social consequences, and reminding us what truly matters, this book has been a favorite of mine since childhood (and I still read it to this day). If your child struggles with self-esteem, self-advocacy, or social anxiety, this is a helpful, fun and heartwarming read.
3) Untangled: Guiding Teenage Girls Through the Seven Transitions into Adulthood by Lisa Damour Ph.D.
An insightful look into the lives of teenage girls today. There have been other books examining the lives of teenage girls, but none written so beautifully and simply. I’ve even had adolescent clients read this book and tell me it helped them - go figure! Bonus: this author has also written a more specific book regarding anxiety and stress in teenagers called Under Pressure - check it out.
4) The Teenage Brain: A Neuroscientist's Survival Guide to Raising Adolescents and Young Adults by Frances Jensen
This is NOT a self-help book - it’s a fantastic description of the way a teenager’s brain works. The book explains why a lot of the behaviors adults would call “abnormal” are actually typical and even sometimes expected!
5) The Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills Workbook by Matthew McKay
Welcome to the empowering and effective world of DBT (Dialectical Behavior Therapy)! In my opinion, DBT is one of the most effective approaches when working with teens. This workbook walks them through different exercises and skills to help them become more present, foster positive relationships with others, tolerate distress, and regulate their emotions. It’s accessible even for individuals not currently seeing a therapist.
What books have you found helpful? Comment below to let me know your favorites! I LOVE adding to my list. Happy reading!