How CBT Helps Foster Children with Personalization Distortions

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) can help foster children and teens find relief from many common forms of distorted thinking, such as personalization. Learn more about what personalization looks like and how you can help your foster child to find more effective ways of coping.

Woman holding hand of little child outdoors, closeup. Adoption concept

What is Personalization?

Personalization refers to a pattern where individuals blame themselves for the unpleasant things that happen around them. While it’s good to take responsibility for your actions, personalization takes things too far. For example, you might feel guilty because your spouse had a heart attack and jump all over yourself for letting them eat French fries. In reality, their condition is due to many causes, including their family history and their own lifestyle choices. Children can often be prone to this kind of thinking too. That’s especially true when there are difficult conditions at home or their family seems to be breaking up.

How Can CBT Help Foster Children Deal with Personalization?

CBT helps foster children and teens to identify their irrational thinking and replace their distortions with more accurate and constructive responses. As a foster parent, you can also support them at home when you see them blaming themselves for things that aren’t really their fault or engaging in other habits that might be causing them pain and holding them back.

In the case of personalization, you might want to talk with your foster child to help them recognize that events often have multiple causes that may have little or nothing to do with them. This will help them to distinguish between feelings and facts. You can also empathize with their feelings while encouraging them to focus on solutions.

Pathway Family Services, Inc. provides resources for youth and families in Kansas. Contact us if you are interested in becoming a foster parent or looking for other ways to get involved.