Anxiety can be a very persistent master. When left untreated, it is one of the strongest predictors of anxiety and depression later in life. Childhood fears and worries are normal, but excessive worrying and the cycle of behaviors that follow adversely influence a child’s learning, social development, and family life. To make matters worse, the things adults (including many therapists and school staff) do to help anxious children can actually make the anxiety stronger.
Fortunately, research shows that what we teach children about risk, danger, uncertainty, and problem-solving makes a huge difference in whether they go on to become anxious or depressed teens and adults. In this workshop, you’ll learn concrete counterintuitive strategies that normalize worry for families, using their strengths and skills to keep moving forward.
The effectiveness of a family-based approach is well-documented, and yet many anxious children are treated without parental involvement or psychoeducation, and with a limited focus on relaxation and distraction. This workshop will offer an approach that shows adults (clinicians, educators, parents) and children HOW to interrupt anxiety’s cognitive patterns with simple, process-based strategies that work more effectively than commonly used strategies that inadvertently support avoidance of anxiety symptoms.
Assess anxiety symptoms in a child as well as his/her family system.
Coach parents to interrupt their own patterns of anxious parenting.
Develop active assignments for families that correct the common cognitive traps that bolster both anxiety and depression.
Apply this approach in challenging situations (e.g., when a parent is avoiding or resisting, when parents are engaged in bitter conflicts over parenting issues, etc.).
Explain the difference between content-based and process-based interventions.
Create a therapeutic toolbox to include playfulness, humor, games, collaboration, and active homework assignments.