How can I tell if a child has problematic anxiety?
This module introduces you to anxiety, what it looks like in children and teenagers, in terms of their feelings, their thinking, their actions, and their physical selves. It compares “normal” or typical worries that children have to the kinds of anxiety that can be problematic. It also introduces the concept of a Cognitive Behavioural Therapy model to help us structure the help we can offer.
Understanding how a child’s brain processes anxiety.
We cover the concept of the “upstairs” or “thinking” brain (neocortex) and how it has evolved to be involved in rational thought, planning, judging risk, problem-solving and mediating our impulsivity. We also look at the concept of the “downstairs” or “feeling” brain (brainstem) and how it is involved in our instinctive responses to stimuli, our strong and intense feelings (love, hunger, fear, anger, etc). We use this understanding to learn how children then perceive and deal with risk. (with thanks to Dr Dan Siegel for the "upstairs, downstairs" analogy!)
Be Still my Racing Heart
Helping children to respond to the physical symptoms of anxiety.
We focus on understanding the physicality of anxiety, giving you the skills to teach a child about what is happening in their body and two techniques that they can use to reduce their levels of adrenaline, such that they physically feel less anxious.
I Think Therefore I Am
How a child’s cognition's affect anxiety.
We look at the impact of thinking on a child’s subsequent behavior and feelings. Specifically, we cover what kinds of thinking patterns a child might be stuck with that could increase anxiety and look at ways to help a child to challenge and overcome common anxious thoughts, including two specific techniques to help them be more in charge of their thinking.
See What I Can See
How children’s emotional understanding impacts on anxiety.
We look at how children process their emotions, including anxiety, showing how children’s anxious feelings can get “bottled up”. We then look at how those bottled up anxious feelings will impact on a child’s inner emotional world. We covered the concept of empathy and what it looks and sounds like when we use it with children to help them create congruent emotional experiences that fit with their experiences of the world.
Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway
Addressing a child’s anxious behaviour.
We cover the effect that role-modelling will have on children’s or teenager’s anxiety. We explore the four most likely behavioural responses a child will have to anxiety. We learn how to help children be more in touch with their bodies, and use physical activity to relieve anxiety. We cover the “zone of proximal development” such that it can guide us in creating the right kind of behavioural experiments for children to challenge their anxious thoughts or behaviours.
I Worry Too
Resolving adult anxiety so we can help children resolve theirs.
We look at how adults can become more aware of their own anxieties (that might be making children’s anxieties worse). We learn a whole series of effective stress/anxiety reduction techniques that adults can use to deal with their own anxieties, freeing them up to be better able to support children’s worries.
A Second Opinion
Knowing when a child’s anxiety might need professional help.
We look at a range of common anxiety disorders that might indicate a child needs more help than we can offer. Specifically, we explore OCD, Separation Anxiety Disorder, Panic Disorder, Selective Mutism and a range of Phobias.
When kids get anxious they need us adults to help them make sense of their worries and to give them the skills and strategies to cope with it. This course is designed to equip you to do just that!
This course is for anybody who either lives with children, cares for children or works with children
Deepen your understanding with background information provided about anxiety as well as further exploring how the workings of the brain relate to anxiety
You will be provided with lots of take away strategies to enable you to work with the child to help them process and deal with their anxiety, so it doesn't stay a problem for them in the long term
The main aim is that the person doing this course comes away with great confidence, a set of skills, techniques and ideas they can use to help children with anxiety, as well as addressing any personal adult anxiety
The course is written to support children within the age range of 6 to 18 years old
What people are saying
My feedback could only be positive. I particularly found the learnings around the brain very interesting. I feel that I have gained practical tips, tricks and ideas from this course and come away with a deeper understanding of children’s emotions.
Mary Nolan Durkan, Childline Regional Supervisor
Fantastic course for teachers or anyone who works with children. Easy explanations of the scientific aspect of anxiety and the brain, as well as practical ideas to use with children. Would definitely recommend this course!
This course will be really beneficial to any person, parent and / or professional who is concerned about a child’s level of anxiety. I found the content both engaging and practical, delivered at a good pace with just the right amount of detail. The use of case studies throughout really engages the participant in the key learning. Following this course the participant will have a better understanding of anxiety, recognising that anxiety can be a good thing. They will also have some really useful tools to assist them in supporting children to work through their anxiety and develop coping skills.
Caroline O’Sullivan, ISPCC Childline Director of Services
Upon completion of this course, my feedback could only be positive. I found the content was very interesting and easy to understand. I particularly found the brain very interesting and David spoke about this so knowledgeably while also easy to understand. I feel that I have gained practical tips, tricks and ideas from this course and also have a better understanding of children’s emotions. Really enjoyed the learning from this course!
Mary, works with Children
I would recommend this course because anxiety is explained in great detail and is very easy to understand. What I found most useful how the course is broken up into 8 separate modules and delivered in a little over 30 mins. It makes it an achievable course to do while working full time. Due to the corona virus outbreak, I have had to change the way I work as a family support worker. I still need to engage my families in an informative and supportive way, that is what attracted me to this course. Anxiety and worry are becoming a global problem but not just for children. This course is appealing to children but can be applied to all ages. I would be interested in doing more of Dr. David's courses to help me reach out to families.
Peig, Family Support Therapist
I would recommend this course because it is simple and easy to use and the information is very informative for parents to follow and each stage gives you step by step instructions. It also allows you to recognise that children are allowed to express their fears and anxiety. I really enjoyed the calmness of the course and the reassurance it gives. I also loved the visual relaxation tips great anytime to practice. This course gave me confidence to use techniques provided and I have put them into practice with my own children and the ones I work with. I like that I have skills to help both myself and the children in my care rationalise their concerns and help them come to conclusions about situations.
Leon, Special Needs Assistant and Parent
As a parent of two anxious children and a special needs assistant for almost 20 years I have experienced so many types of anxiety within school and at home. I found this course extremely beneficial and worthwhile. David has always been so interesting to listen to and explains everything so clearly. I would highly recommend this course.
Julie, Parent and Special Needs Assistant
I found the online learning experience fantastic and really easy. It was so beneficial for work and training in sharing concepts with service volunteers.
Emma McCluskey, ISPCC Childline Manager
In his own words…”I wasn’t always known for being on the TV. Before I got “found” by a television producer I was already a busy clinical psychologist and I have always specialised in working with children, teenagers and their families. I’ve been a psychologist for over 20 years.
Before I started working as a psychologist, I studied for years in University College Dublin. I did several degrees there, the last of which was my Masters in Psychological Science, the degree that qualifies me as a clinical psychologist here in Ireland.
When I am not working I hang out with my family. We live in Co Clare; I’m married with three children, two of whom are teenagers. I try to practice what I preach, but I am sure they could tell you the truth… which is that I make as many mistakes as anyone in parenting.”
David has become best known in Ireland as the presenter of the hit RTÉ television series Families in Trouble, 21st Century Child, Teens in the Wild and Families in the Wild and the IFTA awarding winning documentary Bullyproof.
David is a weekly expert contributor to the Health and Living Supplement with the Irish Independent newspaper every Monday. He is also a regular contributor to the Sean O'Rourke Show on RTÉ Radio 1, as their parenting and family expert.
David is also a bestselling author of “Parenting is Child’s Play” a guide to raising young children. His second book, is a guide for parents of teenagers called “Parenting is Child’s Play: The Teenage Years”. David’s third book “The Thriving Family” is a guide to having a happy and harmonious family life, across all ages and stages of family.
David is co-founder of Headspace Adventures, an adventure therapy programme for teenagers. Alongside Sinéad Pollock-Orr (Adventure Leader), Headspace Adventuress transport teenagers to the wilds of the Atlantic coast of Ireland, to experience real adventure, like coasteering, abseiling, kayaking and more, in a week long group setting. Alongside the adventure, David guides participants in a strengths-based programme of development, focused on personal development and dealing with stresses, anxieties and low self-esteem.
David still practices as a Clinical Psychologist and unsurprisingly specialises in working with children, teenagers and their families. David is an Adjunct Associate Professor in the School of Psychology in UCD, Dublin and is also an ambassador for the ISPCC.
Anokha Learning are delighted to collaborate with David in developing his first online course ‘Scared Kids - Helping Children to Cope with Anxiety’.