‘Positive Thinking’ Board Game Review

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In my excitement to use CBT techniques – and my excitement to have funds to spend on counseling resources – I purchased Positive Thinking at my first school counseling placement (in a middle school). I wish when I’d bought it that I’d been able to find more information online about this game so I’m putting some up here so that the next time someone ‘googles’ the game, they get a good idea of what it’s about.

In Positive Thinking, players move around the board and land on three different types of spots. On the red triangles, players read a thought and name the type of cognitive distortion. On the blue stars, students choose the most helpful thought given. On the green circles, students generate their own helpful thought given a situation. Most of these prompts are probably most relevant for 9-17 year olds, although they can be made appropriate for younger. I have the old version – I’m not sure what changes were made to the updated one.


Positive Thinking game cards The Responsive Counselor

The top of the board lists 7 types of cognitive distortions.

Positive Thinking Cognitive Distortions The Responsive Counselor

Skills Tackled:
-Identifying examples of different types of cognitive distortions
-Identifying helpful vs. unhelpful thoughts
-Generating helpful thoughts in neutral or unpleasant situations

The Good:
-Based on an evidenced based modality (CBT)
-Easy to follow
-The placement of the different spots on the board requires students to first answer many red (easier) cards before moving to the more difficult tasks

The Bad: 
-The wording of the cognitive distortions is well over the head of most of my elementary students.
-Not particularly engaging
-While some kids might benefit from being able to identify and categorize the different types of cognitive distortions, I find this part unnecessary (and time consuming) in school counseling.

The Verdict:
Not a bad game, but I wouldn’t recommend it to elementary school counselors. It’s better suited to ages 10+ in a longer-term counseling settings.

Fair review Positive Thinking game The Responsive Counselor

Some other CBT board game options that I’ve been eye balling but don’t own:

Psymon: Suited for an older age group still, but it looks like a more engaging and fun option because it involves monsters and collecting cards.

Dr. PlayWell’s Think Positive game (or his Positive Thinking card game):created for ages 6-12! If only libraries had board games you could check out to see if you liked them.


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Hello, I’m Sara!

With 10 years of experience in
elementary school counseling,
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