How many times a day do you experience disappointment? It can be as simple as discovering Dunkin’ Donuts no longer carries your favorite toasted coconut donut to not getting a promotion. Maybe your child or spouse’s behavior has really let you down, or a serious health issue has been revealed in a friend or yourself. How long do you stay disappointed?
Even the well-seasoned therapist can feel “stuck” with a client who’s overwhelmed, blocked, or shut down. Suggesting expressive writing or drawing (“journaling”), either during or between sessions, can help get the process back on track. Both freewriting (writing whatever comes to mind) and guided journaling (starting with a specific prompt) are beneficial.
While many parents, teachers, and even teens themselves may view procrastination as a weakness or a sign of being lazy, nothing could be further from the truth. Procrastination is driven by complex emotional needs that vary depending on the individual. I’ve identified four basic types of procrastinators, each with its own motivation for avoiding tasks that need to be done, and its own motivation for engaging with them as well.
In cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) with teens, it’s important that teens not only know how to identify their emotions (e.g., sad, angry, anxious) but also how to quantify the degree or intensity of the emotion they’re feeling. For teens who struggle to do this, you can help them build an Emotion Intensity Scale.