School refusal is a symptom of the pathological use of avoidance as a means of emotion self-regulation response to high levels of anxious arousal. Participants will understand which aspect of a specific anxiety disorder, such as social anxiety, separation anxiety, or panic disorder, is manifesting as school avoidance. An effective response to school refusal should
It is very difficult and much less effective to treat anxiety in children and teens without providing education to parents regarding the role of avoidance in maintaining anxiety disorders. Participants will learn why lowering family accommodation of anxiety is effective in reducing anxious suffering of children. Parents need to be taught counter-intuitive strategies to respond
Not all anxiety is disordered, but anxiety can interfere with quality of life and learning. Participants will learn that fostering resilience by increasing tolerance for uncertainty is critical to helping anxious children. By providing knowledge to students that they can cope effectively with difficulty, students can increase self-efficacy and face future challenges. Students need to
The gold standard of evidence-based treatment of anxiety is exposure therapy. Exposure techniques can be incorporated into a range of settings and situations within a school environment. Participants will learn why exposure therapy is effective when done in a gradual fashion so that the student experience is initial success and lower levels of distress.
Participants will learn how teaching specific cognitive coping skills to students will significantly change their experience of anxiety. Different coping self-statements can be tailor-made for a given situation for the student. Additionally, providing psychoeducation regarding the nature of anxiety is critical to allowing for the implementation of exposure-based techniques.
Diving deeper into understanding anxiety disorders, participants will learn the importance of reducing avoidance behaviors and why students should not avoid negative emotions. Problem-focused and emotion-focused coping skills can be useful, and the key is matching the coping style to the situation.
There are many different anxiety disorders that have commonalities but also have important differences in presentation and intervention strategies. Anxious arousal directly affects students’ ability to process and retain new information. Participants will learn how the perception of the importance of anxious thoughts and feelings can affect the experience of anxiety. Students can be taught
Anxiety disorders have been increasing dramatically, and emerging data shows that the increase has accelerated significantly during the COVID-19 pandemic. Participants will learn about fundamental characteristics and age of onset of anxiety disorders. Additionally, participants will understand that anxiety disorders are treatable with evidence-based approaches that focus on decreasing avoidance rather than increasing comfort.