BYU Clinical Psychologist Designs Card Game To Help Youth Cope With Mental Health Symptoms | News, Sports, Jobs



BYU clinical psychologist Jon Cox has developed a new card game for young people to help them become aware of their thoughts and emotions while teaching them skills to tackle common mental health symptoms associated with depression and anxiety. Photo by Jaren Wilkey / BYU Photo

It might not be a Cosmic Jumanji game or let you be a Guardian of the Galaxy, but a new card game developed at Brigham Young University could help kids with mental health issues while getting ready. to the cosmic battle.

Conversations about child and youth mental health have become increasingly common in recent years. Data from the National Alliance on Mental Illness found that one in six young Americans between the ages of 6 and 17 suffers from a mental health disorder each year, and nearly half of all mental illnesses begin at age 14, according to BYU sources.

Jon Cox, clinical psychologist at BYU hopes to reverse these very worrying trends.

Cox has developed a new card game for young people to help them become aware of their thoughts and emotions while teaching them skills to tackle common mental health symptoms associated with depression and anxiety, according to a press release from BYU.

The game, Cosmic Battle Training, is designed to be fun and easy to play.

Ivy Rich, a BYU animation student, created custom designs for each playing card. Photo by Jaren Wilkey / BYU Photo

“The idea is that this game can help young people learn concepts to help them better manage their emotions and thoughts,” said Cox, who works in counseling and psychology at BYU. “Ultimately, play is meant to help improve coping skills and resilience in children and adolescents.”

The card game simulates an intergalactic space battle. Players choose and execute both offensive and defensive strategies in order to defeat their opponent and win the game. At the bottom of each card is a therapeutic principle that the card represents, which players can read and incorporate into their game. The principles are taken from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, or CBT, a popular and effective form of psychological treatment, according to the press release.

Examples of statements on cards include actions such as:

  • Think about what you would say to a friend if they were in the same situation.
  • Calculate the odds or likelihood that something bad will actually happen.
  • Use soothing things from all five senses to help you feel better.
  • Remove yourself from a difficult situation before doing something you will regret until you calm down enough to deal with it.

Cox argues that play should be used in conjunction with therapy, not as a substitute for it.

“Then when they talk to a therapist, they can get to know the concepts better and know when to apply them; they understand the emotions they are feeling and know what skills can be used for what problems, ”Cox said.

The idea for the game came to Cox ten years ago when he noticed that other therapeutic support games on the market just weren’t appealing to kids. For years he has methodically designed cosmic combat training to be enjoyable for children, writing and revising game rules that make the game both easy and fun, ”says the BYU press release.

The visuals of the game are just as important as the game itself. Cox wanted to make sure he had visual appeal to grab the children’s attention.

Cox hired BYU animation student Ivy Rich to create custom designs for each playing card. Rich brought Cox’s vision to life with colorful and stunning illustrations of spaceships, laser beams and characters, according to the press release.

“After talking with Jon and getting a feel for the game, I was really excited to work on it. We started with a few initial concepts and went back and forth until we got the basic pattern. and the design concepts, “said Rich.” Then I started to create different illustrations. Each card has a unique and personalized design.

Rich ended up creating over 60 different high-resolution illustrations for the game.

Rich, a senior from Petersboro, Cache County, says the chance to work on a project of this magnitude added to his BYU experience and gave him a head start in the competitive independent design market.

“It’s great to see my work there. Getting people to see and appreciate your work is truly every artist’s dream, ”she said. “This project helped me prepare for future client work; it helped me develop as an artist and become more proficient in the software I was using. To have this opportunity was huge for me.

Cosmic Battle Training retails for $ 29.99 and is available on


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