You aren’t what you think! For teens with negative thinking habits, a licensed psychologist and a health journalist offer cognitive restructuring—a simple and effective cognitive behavioral approach to help you break free from the nine most common negative thinking habits that typically result in feeling sad, worried, angry, and stressed.
This workbook offers a powerful technique called cognitive restructuring to help you reframe your thoughts, regulate your emotions, become a more flexible thinker, and stop letting your thoughts define who you are and how you feel. You’ll learn to target the nine specific kinds of negative thinking habits that can cause you to worry or feel bad, such as the I can’t habit, the doom and gloom habit, the all or nothing habit, the jumping to conclusions habit, and more!
Each chapter will walk you through simple explanations of each kind of negative thought, and offers real-life examples—as well as the sorts of behaviors, emotions, and bodily sensations that might be expected. You'll also gain an understanding of unhelpful or unrealistic thoughts, how to challenge them, how to replace them with more realistic and helpful thoughts, and an action plan for moving forward.
By recognizing these negative thinking habits, you’ll feel more in control and less anxious and sad. Most importantly, you’ll be able to see yourself and the world more clearly. Your thoughts don’t have to define who you are and how you experience life. The transdiagnostic approach in this book will show you how to kick negative thinking habits to the curb for good!
This book has been selected as an Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies Self-Help Book Recommendation—an honor bestowed on outstanding self-help books that are consistent with cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) principles and that incorporate scientifically tested strategies for overcoming mental health difficulties. Used alone or in conjunction with therapy, our books offer powerful tools readers can use to jump-start changes in their lives.
Mary Karapetian Alvord, PhD, is a licensed psychologist with more than thirty-five years of clinical experience, and is director of Alvord, Baker & Associates. She specializes in treating children, adolescents, and adults using cognitive behavior therapies. A central focus is children and teens with depression, anxiety disorders, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and other emotional and behavioral regulation problems. She is adjunct associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at The George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences, and is a fellow of both the American Psychological Association and of the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies. She is coauthor of ResilienceBuilder Program and the audio recordings, Relaxation and Self-Regulation Techniques for Children and Teens and Relaxation and Wellness Techniques (for adults).
Anne McGrath, MA, is former executive editor of publications at U.S. News & World Report, where she wrote and edited on subjects from health and mental health to investing and education for more than thirty-five years. She was responsible for three of the publisher’s signature guidebooks: Best Graduate Schools, Best Colleges, and Best Hospitals. She holds her master’s in journalism from Syracuse University.
“With clear text, relatable examples, and useful exercises, this book gives teens the tools they need to break free of negative thinking habits and learn to manage their moods. Highly recommended!” —Eileen Kennedy-Moore, PhD, author of Raising Emotionally and Socially Healthy Kids
“In clear language and with accessible, age-appropriate vignettes, Alvord and McGrath do exactly what their title suggests, presenting the nine thinking habits that drag teens down. Better yet, they outline what to do about them with a step-by-step action plan. Easy to read and easy to follow, this immediately useful book will change lives.” —Dawn Huebner, PhD, psychologist and author of the What-to-Do Guides for Kids
“Freud based his psychodynamic therapy upon exploring the irrational mind. Beck based cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) on correcting irrational thoughts. Following Beck, Conquer Negative Thinking for Teens by Alvord and McGrath is a clear and practical guide to CBT. This well-written workbook shows teens how to discard distorted thoughts and take control of their own mental health. Informed by years of clinical experience, this book is not just a call-to-reason for adolescents. It will also help parents and professionals think straight and ‘keep it real.’ A great addition to the CBT literature!” —Daniel G. Shapiro, MD, developmental and behavioral pediatrics; author of Parent Child Journey
“Conquer Negative Thinking for Teens gives families the tools to change negative thought patterns that contribute to anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem. It provides relatable examples and fun exercises that give teens control over their thoughts and emotions. Every teenager (and parent of a teen) needs to read this book!” —Kathryn Stamoulis, PhD, LMHC, therapist and adjunct psychology professor at Hunter College
“Concentrate on the habits that hold you back. Explore other negative habits as you see fit. Diagnose yourself, and then learn to think about your own negative habits differently. And to boot, you will learn some bonus skills such as being mindful of the present moment and putting enjoyable activities in your schedule. This therapeutic strategy of Alvord and McGrath is a no-nonsense, practical approach with very clear steps that a teenager can take to break negative thoughts and habits. The teen gets solid advice based on some very basic principles and procedures of CBT. It is a book I will use with teens and their parents, and it is a book I highly recommend to therapists who work with teens.” —K. Daniel O’Leary, PhD, distinguished professor of psychology at Stony Brook University, and recipient of the APA 2015 Family Psychologist of the Year Award and the 2015 Elizabeth Hurlock Beckman Trust Award for mentoring graduate students
“Great book for any anxious or depressed youth! Mary Alvord has thirty-five years of experience doing CBT with kids and teens. Alvord has distilled the essence of what she does in CBT therapy into this book. Alvord walks a teenager through the process of catching, challenging, and changing the negative thinking habits that make us anxious or depressed. Her engaging style will grab tweens and teens. She does for her reader exactly what a good CBT therapist would do in person. The book is an awesome option for a youth who does not need, cannot find, or would prefer not to see a live CBT therapist. Kids and teens will recognize themselves in Alvord and McGrath’s stories, and experience her compassion and gentle, persistent encouragement to alter thinking habits that have made them anxious or depressed. I highly recommend Alvord and McGrath’s very readable book for use as a supplement to or alternative to therapy. An important addition to our toolbox!” —Jennifer Lish, PhD, director of the Worcester Center for Cognitive Behavior Therapy
“Mary Alvord and Anne McGrath’s new book, Conquer Negative Thinking for Teens, is an exciting new resource for adolescents and their families. This is a practical and highly useful guide for young people who are feeling overwhelmed by negative emotions and thought patterns. Alvord and McGrath provide a clear path for adolescents to recognize common negative thought patterns, and to learn how to overturn those patterns in favor of a more realistic and balanced state of mind. I expect that my patients and their families will really benefit from Alvord and McGrath’s straightforward and accessible approach.” —Matthew Biel, MD, MSc, chief of the division of child and adolescent psychiatry at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital, and associate professor of clinical psychiatry and pediatrics at Georgetown University School of Medicine
“This book for teens is written in a manner that displays the authors’ ability to connect effectively with teens, comprehensive knowledge of the science pertaining to the treatment of internalizing disorders, and broad and deep experience base collaborating with teens to promote their wellness. I’m confident that teens will find this book to be very relatable and highly practical. Moreover, I believe teens would find that a small investment of their time with this book stands to significantly benefit their day-to-day mental health and wellness. Finally, I believe that clinicians would find that the many practical exercises in this book would synergize their clinical work with teens.” —David Palmiter, PhD, ABPP, author of Practicing Cognitive Behavioral Therapy with Children and Adolescents and Working Parents, Thriving Families; fellow at the American Psychological Association; past president of the Pennsylvania Psychological Association; and professor of psychology and counseling at Marywood University
“There is no other workbook like this. Concise, thorough, and easy to use, it fills a need felt by clinicians every single day. I plan on giving it to every teen in my practice.” —Catherine McCarthy, MD, child and adolescent psychiatrist in Virginia