Coping skills that can be taught to children:

THOUGHT STOPPING

In the aftermath of trauma, children can be really bothered by intrusive thoughts, images and even flashbacks. Although it sounds remarkably simple, the technique of thought stopping can enable students to gain control over these troubling thoughts and images. Here is one way to teach thought stopping:

Tell students that they can learn to stop their troubling thoughts about the trauma so that they can concentrate on their work, or get through their day more effectively.

  • First: Help students identify a really safe place that they can see in their mind. The safe place can be real or imagined.
    Hint: younger students can draw the safe place to solidify the image.
  • Second: Tell students that they can simply tell their mind to STOP. They can shout the word STOP in their mind, not really out loud.
  • Third: Instruct students to then "throw their mind” on their safe place image.
    Adaptation for the classroom setting: For the third step, encourage students to "throw their mind” on what the teacher is saying or the work that they are working on.