Childhood Anxiety

Childhood Anxiety counselling in La Ronge, Saskatchewan.

Cognitive Behaviour Therapy combined with SPACE Training

Help Manage Childhood Anxiety Symptoms

Many children have anxiety. However, when Childhood Anxiety takes away the joy your child should be experiencing, it is perhaps time to start assisting your child in a different way.

Does your child have worries or fears that are taking the fun out of being a kid? Fears about school, joining activities, and worries about all kinds of things can really take a toll on children and their parents. Worry can make it hard to relax and have fun.

The STG Childhood Anxiety Program includes effective Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT through the Cool Kids program, developed at Macquarie University) with skills that were designed to support parenting of anxious childhood emotions (SPACE, developed at Yale University). This program is available in La Ronge in Northern Saskatchewan, as well as throughout the province by teletherapy.

Table of Contents

Child Anxiety Treatment Saskatchewan

What is Childhood Anxiety?

There are several types of anxiety experienced by children and teenagers. There is no one answer to what signs or symptoms indicate that a child is experiencing anxiety. Some children find it challenging to be away from their parents, are extremely shy, or worry about others’ thoughts. Other children avoid social and school activities or worry a lot about everyday matters and the future.

Many children experience more than one type of anxiety. However, some general indications can help parents identify anxiety in children. Some common signs and symptoms of childhood anxiety include difficulty sleeping, being overly alert and hypervigilant, trouble concentrating, feeling out of control, excessive worrying, feelings of dread or panic, difficulty making friends or fitting in with others, self-consciousness, and physical symptoms such as headaches or stomachaches. Not all children who experience these symptoms will have an anxiety disorder; these may be classic signs and symptoms of stress or worry. 

Sing of Anxiety in Children

When to worry about Childhood Anxiety?

Anxiety is a normal emotion all of us deal with throughout life. However, research has demonstrated that when parents see avoidance behaviours and extreme distress in their children at least 2 times per week, we no longer can talk about normal anxiety. When your child’s everyday happy living is impacted by stress, avoidance, and difficult emotions, perhaps it is time to start to think about helping you and your family manage the childhood anxiety. Even though many children diagnosed with anxiety disorders will grow out of them, they require two essential components: supportive environments that limit anxiety accommodations and get appropriate professional treatment.

One of the most common questions people with anxiety ask each other is “What works for you/me doesn’t work for my child.” This is because anxiety is a highly individualized disorder and what works for one child may not work for another. Anxiety in children can often be caused by different factors than anxiety in adults, so there is no one answer when it comes to solving the problem. Every child is different and will experience anxiety in different ways. It’s important to find out what makes your child feel comfortable and safe and to do whatever you can to support them. Talk openly about your concerns and feelings with your child. Let them know that you’re concerned about their well-being and that you want to help them feel better.

Child Anxiety Treatment at Home in Saskatchewan

How to treat Childhood Anxiety?

The best way to treat childhood anxiety is to start with the basics. Make sure that your child is getting enough sleep, eating a balanced diet, and getting regular exercise. These simple lifestyle changes can make a big difference in your child’s anxiety levels. If lifestyle changes aren’t enough to help your child’s anxiety, there are a number of different treatment options available.

One of the most researched therapeutic approaches to Childhood Anxiety is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). CBT is based on the idea that how we think affect how we feel and act. By changing our thinking pattern or behaviour, we can change our thoughts, feelings and therefore everything else around us.

CBT helps children identify and change the negative thoughts and behaviours that are contributing to their anxiety. CBT typically involves weekly sessions with a therapist, during which kids learn relaxation and coping skills.

Focus on Experience rather than Avoidance

When kids are feeling anxious, they’re often given an option to avoid or not experience the things that make them feel that way. This gives them some sense of relief at first because it means not experiencing a lot of negative emotions that are often related to fears. But by avoiding their fears, children can only grow to value those fears less and less without actually touching on why they exist in the first place. If a child wishes to overcome their fears rather than live in constant anxiety, CBT can be really useful when it comes down to trying to soothe and help alleviate the stress of having certain anxieties they may have while helping them understand just how powerful these emotions are perceived from the root level.

One of the most important aspects of CBT is helping kids understand that their anxiety is manageable and doesn’t have to control their lives. With the help of CBT, many children are able to overcome their anxiety and live happy, healthy lives.

Effective Ways to Help Children Overcome Anxiety

What is the STG Anxiety Reduction Program?

The STG Anxiety Reduction Program for kids is is a skills-based program that teaches children (including teenagers) and their parents how to better manage anxiety. The program was designed for kids between 7 and 17 years. A short intake assessment (online) determines if your child is a good candidate for this program.

Each session of the program involves both the parents and the child, either together or separate. The program is usually carried out over 10 sessions. The program requires families to practice the skills learned at home as much as possible.

 The following topics are covered in the Cool Kids Anxiety Reduction. Depending on the needs of a child, some topics might require more time to ensure your child is making progress as expected:

  • Learning about feelings and anxiety.
  • Learning to think realistically. Changing thinking about a feared event or stimulus and challenging fear-related thoughts.
  • Children are taught to take a different approach towards their anxiety-related thoughts.
  • Parenting an anxious child.
  • Fighting fear by facing fear (stepladders).
  • Learning coping skills such as building confidence or problem-solving.

Reducing Social Anxiety Frustrations

How do children Benefit?

When children attend CBT programs such as the Cool Kids Anxiety Reduction they can experience the following benefits. Since each child is different, the benefits do differ per child, depending on their childhood anxiety symptoms.

  • Reduce symptoms and amount of life’s interferences caused by anxiety
  • Increased school attendance
  • Improved academic achievement
  • Increased confidence
  • Improved peer relationships
  • Increase engagement in extra-curricular activities
  • Reduced worry, shyness, fear and family distress.

Frequently Asked Questions

The STG Anxiety program incorporates the Cool Kids Program and the SPACE Treatment Program when needed. Each child and family has different needs, and therefore clinicians choose elements from both programs that are found to be most beneficial for your (child’s) situation.

The Cool Kids program was developed by Macquarie University and has been running since 1993. The program has undergone continual scientific evaluation and development to include the latest understanding of anxiety and its treatment. It has been translated into a number of languages and today is used in clinics, schools and hospitals around the world.

SPACE stands for Supportive Parenting for Anxious Childhood Emotions and is a parent-based treatment program for children and adolescents with anxiety, OCD, and related problems.

SPACE was developed by Dr. Eli Lebowitz at the Yale Child Study Center and has been tested and found to be efficacious in randomized controlled clinical trials.

SPACE aims to treat children and adolescents with anxiety disorders and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Although children do not have to attend SPACE sessions – they are the patients! When SPACE treatment is successful children feel less anxious and function better following treatment.

There are around 10 sessions of in-person or online CBT. However, when the anxiety is severe, additional parenting skills training sessions might need to be incorporated (SPACE)

Yes, families are required to purchase a manual and some additional materials. The total cost is around $30

Yes, the program was developed at a university following a child-friendly method of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). In addition, the parenting modules were developed at Yale University and have been proven to be highly effective.

Parents and children learn what is anxiety, how anxiety is different for children and what the program offers.

Children learn how to change thinking about a feared event or stimulus by challenging their anxiety related thoughts. Children are taught to take a different approach towards their anxiety related thoughts.

Children are taught assertiveness skills for challenging anxiety related to social situations and also learn strategies to deal with difficult social situations.

Role play exercises and actual exposure help children and parents reduce avoidance associated with anxiety and apply the skills learned in sessions to deal with the anxiety provoking situation.

Children explore coping strategies that do not work (e.g., avoidance and anger). Then they learn how to replace them with strategies that work (e.g., assertiveness, self-talk) to manage bullying, negative expectancy and physical symptoms of anxiety.

In some cases, CBT itself might not be as effective as a combined therapy using different approaches. If your child did not benefit from CBT, it is essential to look at parenting support skills first (following the SPACE method) to redefine how you manage your child’s anxiety at home. In SPACE, we have developed specific modules that help parents focus on behaviours that are often associated with childhood anxiety, including self-harm behaviours, violence towards parents,  and how parents can get supports from family and friends).

Parents learn about unhelpful strategies to manage their child’s anxieties (e.g., being over-protective and encouraging avoidance). Then they learn how to replace them with helpful strategies (e.g., support). In addition, when needed, parents also explore their own anxiety level and apply anxiety management techniques.

The main focus of the parent training comes from SPACE (Supportive Parenting of Anxious Childhood Emotions) and focuses on reducing the accommodations parent make while increasing effective supports.

The STG Anxiety Program is provided in La Ronge, Saskatchewan. Regionally, participants can attend in-person (La Ronge or Regina) or online Telehealth sessions (Saskatchewan Only).

Sessions are $90 per session. Each session is around 45 minutes long. Parents purchase blocks of four (4) sessions at a time.

Get Support for your Child

Cognitive behavioural therapy is a highly effective treatment for childhood anxiety. It is safe, and it helps children learn how to cope with their fears in a healthy way. The STG Anxiety Program is a privately run program that is available on a fee basis. Parents who are interested in accessing support for their child start with booking an initial meeting on Zoom. An STG Health Services Professional will administer a short anxiety assessment and then rate the level of your child’s anxiety based on your responses. When your child seems to be a good fit for the program, you are then redirected to a password-protected intake page to complete the full intake form.

After an STG health Services professional reviews the completed intake form, you will receive a recommendation for the next steps. These steps can include booking a full 90-minute intake session to start mapping out support for your child, or in rare cases, a referral to a different health provider. Complete the form below or contact us with questions.

Accredited Provider

Chris de Feijter is accredited by Macquarie University’s Centre for Emotional Health to use the Cool Kids program. The intellectual property rights, including copyright, in the Program are owned by Macquarie University. Macquarie University does not endorse any particular provider of the program and their other services.