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Mechanisms and Distortions

Soooo…still more snow time, and I have done some counsely web surfing and some weekend therapy crafting (snow addition). Here is a mini, mini quilt I made for my magazine fairy friend who is a total enabler in giving me her good reads, which only further deepens my magazine addiction (including ridiculously priced Euro craft mags).

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I first must say that I pinned this amazing post on printing post-its.  How insanely cute are these?? I’d like to alter the template a bit and have it say cutesy little things like, “Remember you promised Mrs. Counselor you would do this- Get it done!” or “Read this so you can pass your test.” or “Write stuff out so you don’t get all angry-teen!” (these are my versions of pep-talks).  But really, I’m thinking there are a lot of things that could be done with these.  I might start with making a few that just say “Get this done before:___” to attach to assignments.  I am so excited

Free-Printable-Homework-Notes

Lastly, but not leastly, I perused my “School Counseling Hoohas and Doodads” Pinterest board and came upon a list of cognitive distortions.  I have always loved distortions, because I find them fascinating, in that it happens all of the time, and I am amazed at how us rational beings can’t see them! Really, I think we all do them, and they are ultimately at the root of my job security!  Coupling this with some crazy defense mechanisms, and you’ve got yourself a life pie.

I mean really, how much of our students’ behaviors are actually manifestations of other things going in their lives or other stressors?  I mean really, I don’t know about your school, but some of the kids over my way have some real stuff happening at their houses- stuff that essentially makes them more grown than I am. One of the things that fuel my love for counseling is that light bulb moment when a student becomes a frequent flier because they have been angry, upset, getting in to trouble, etc. – and then they talk.  They talk and they talk, and through side notes and behind a bunch of conversation about who they are fighting with or who they are angry with, or what teacher is mean, they mention a parent deploying or moving, a mom having a baby or getting a new job, a sibling leaving for the military or passing in recent years.  And it all just starts to make sense, and you can start to respond to their quasi-issues in a way that addresses the real heart of their behavior.

But all of those side actions are weighed down by defense mechanisms and cognitive distortions. I mean, I do all of the time.  Take my snowcation, for example.  Because I am obsessive about my planner (same one every year: Moleskine extra large monthly like this one), if I don’t write something down, the plan does not exist.  Because I did not get to write down all of our holidays yet, when our snow make-up days are called, I will not be disappointed because I am choosing to experience some sort of false reality. 🙂  But really, adults do this just as much as kids (if not more, which is why I work with kids).  For this reason, I really liked this list of distortions.  I think that it could even be a cool tool to point out to kids when you recognize one of these occurring.  I think when I get back I will make a laminated copy, and maybe middle-schoolize the verbiage so that I can have a quick reference.  Here is a cool PDF version that also identifies relational comebacks for each distortion.

I got these awesome thought changing cards for Christmas last year (I think the anxiety deck), and they are so cool and relatable to this.  You can use them with students, but given my early professional greenery, I usually just refer to them for tips, examples, and reference.  However you use them, they are great.  I have thought about making my own list/deck but real-life middle school style (because ya’ll know things that claim to be tailored to adolescents very rarely really capture the charm and, um, determination of real middle and high school kids).  Here are all of the sets below. Hope you find time for some weekend therapy this weekend!

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About weekendtherapy

I am a School Counselor in middle school, mommy of two, wifey to one (or mommy of three it seems some days...). School Counseling is my total dream job, and navigating the specifics of the hormonal and transitional middle school population is way more exciting and fun than I could have ever imagined. But let's get real- on some days, I come home unhinged and unfiltered. I call this lovingly, "inspiration". In order to keep my cool, and not punish the world for my lack of patience, I like to partake in some weekend therapy: bad reality TV and crafty goodness.

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