As my child’s main issue was anxiety, we began with “Outsmart Your Worry”. The main message of the kit to the child is that when they are feeling overwhelmed by worry, their worry wants to be in charge. By taking back control – making the child The Boss of the worry – the child gains confidence and the anxiety is reduced.
Anxiety is a common co-occurring problem among young people with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Characterized by deficits in social interaction, communication problems, and stereotyped behavior and restricted interests, this group of disorders is more prevalent than previously realized. When present, anxiety may compound the social deficits of young people with ASD. Given the additional disability and common co-occurrence of anxiety in ASD, we developed a manual-based cognitive-behavioral treatment program to target anxiety symptoms as well as social skill deficits in adolescents with ASD [Multimodal Anxiety and Social Skills Intervention: MASSI]. In this paper, we describe the foundation, content, and development of MASSI. We also summarize data on treatment feasibility based on a pilot study that implemented the intervention.
At the beginning of this semester, I wanted to go into the field of psychiatry, to become a doctor who prescribes medication to her patients in order to relieve the patients’ symptoms of anxiety and depression, and numerous other disorders such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.
The techniques used in cognitive behavioral therapy have proven to be effective in treating depression, anxiety and drug addictions among other things.
Early on when working with kids who struggle with worries and anxiety, I like to do some psychoeducation around what anxiety is all about and what it feels like in our bodies. Drawing a body outline and drawing/writing in all the anxiety symptoms we can think of is a great way to facilitate this conversation.
I am conducting this research paper to compare and contrast the differences between the effectiveness of drug courts and cognitive behavioral therapy for cocaine addicts.
If you are interested in adding a new therapeutic storybook to your collection, check out Agent Pensby and the Golden Fish on Amazon early in 2016. The book teaches kids what anxiety is, normalizes it, and teaches some common anxiety management strategies. You can use the story at any stage of work with anxious kids and can send it home for parents to use with their children between sessions.
On this worksheet, kids can draw/write on Pensby where he might feel his anxiety (a good way to externalize their own anxiety). Once they have finished talking about Pensby’s anxiety, children can be encourage to draw their own outline on the back and write in which anxiety/worry symptoms they experience.
Here is a copy of a worksheet based on the story I wrote called Agent Pensby and the Golden Fish: A Tale About Anxiety. In this story, Agent Pensby is a spy who undertakes a secret mission for the Queen, and in the process must confront anxiety for the first time.
Dr Suzanne Reiffel, with a Ph.D in Counselling Psychology, studied at the Institute for Behavioural Therapy in New York and lectures in child development, parenting and anxiety management. Dr Erica Saxe Ross, with a Ph.D in Clinical Psychology, lectures on parenting techniques, social skills in children, self control training and families dealing with divorce. Joel Haber, also with a Ph.D in Clinical Psychology with a specialty in Behavioural Medicine, has written books for parents dealing with bullied children and lectures on parenting, civility, character education, stress, resilience and social cruelty. He is also a national consultant to The American Camp Foundation.
So, when my eldest child began to display signs of overwhelming anxiety, I began to look for ways to actively break the cycle of stress and worry. I was well-versed in Cognitive Behaviour Therapy strategies by this time, but only experienced with them at adult level. Not much use for a seven year old!
As a parent, I am highly sensitive to the emotional development and wellbeing of my children. My own treatment for my mental health problems has taught me the value of early intervention, and of learning the right skills at an early age. I am also well aware of the way children soak up the anxieties and stresses of their parents.
Social anxiety disorder is expressed as a fear in public and social situations for an individual (Kashdan, Farmer, Adams, Mcknight, Ferssizidis, Nezelf 2013).