The Anxiety Program for Children and Mid-Teens
The CHAANGE© Family of Therapeutic Tools has developed an effective way to treat children suffering from severe anxiety. The LifeSkills© program was designed through the joint efforts of professionals from education, social work, family therapy, and cognitive-behavioral therapy. It provides age appropriate materials for children from ages 6-15 years, and are designed for application by the parent(s), the CHAANGE© therapist, or both.
Phase 1: Education assistance – New information that de-myths anxiety.
Phase 2: Cognitive assistance – Identifying and changing fearful, negative self talk.
Phase 3: Family systems assistance – Working with the family system and seeing the child’s symptoms in context.
Phase 4: Behavioral assistance – Teaching and encouraging new ways of behaving.
LifeSkills teaches new information that explains anxiety, helps the child form more positive attitudes and beliefs, instructs the family in ways to be constructive, and assists in the initiation and practice of new ways of behaving in order to overcome feared situations.
The Lifeskills Program can be used nearly anywhere. It is effective whether it is used in the home, the classroom, guidance office, or as reinforcement to the therapy given by a professional counselor or therapist. There is also a Therapist’s Supplement available for the clinician who wishes to have assessment tools, interview questions, more precise differential diagnosis information, a model of the biochemical, learning and stress components in the etiology of childhood anxiety conditions and more.
The program consists of twelve audio Disc’s a Skillbuilder workbook and a Parent/Professional manual. Ten of the Disc’s focus on lessons about stress, anger, mind/boy connection, relaxation theory, assertiveness, self-talk, imagery, risk taking, self esteem building and other skills. These CD’s are weekly session tapes that are to be used in sequence as a therapy process. The other two CD’s are relaxation Disc’s which differ slightly giving the child a choice of method and gender on the tapes.
Everyone accepts that the present way of life in the United States is not only severely stress producing for adults, but is particularly problematic for children. The breakdown of the nuclear family, violence in everyday life and in entertainment, terrorism, and both economic and professional pressures on parent figures combine to create fertile ground for severe anxiety in children.
As Dr. Paul Foxman points out in his book, Dancing With Fear, while there were no reported suicides in children fifty years ago, now a child attempts suicide every 78 seconds. Children as young as three years of age have tried to kill themselves. Now we are seeing an alarming incidence of school violence and death that occurred in that twelve-month time. Areas of life once taken for granted as safe and secure have been shattered, and new zones of calm and peace are hard to find.
As can be seen in the written contributions of past CHAANGE participants in Dr. John R. Pullen’s book, Transcending Anxiety & Achieving Inner Peace: Firsthand accounts of success by men and women over fearful feelings , it is clear that severe anxiety is conditions that not only has its roots in childhood, its actual symptoms frequently appear during childhood and go untreated.
One reason why childhood anxiety conditions go unrecognized and untreated is that there are normal fears that all children experience. The normal newborn exhibits fear when feeling a loss of physical support or hearing loud noises. From age one on until school age, children fear separation from parenting figures. Most people remember being afraid of the dark or monsters in the closet or under the bed. Children are commonly afraid of thunder, lightening, and “bad people”. The list goes on and on.
Adolescence brings with it more fears: fear of rejection, fear of failure — socially, academically, economically — fear of natural and political cataclysms. The empathic parent recognizes these fears as normal, and learning to deal with them as necessary to maturation.
But sometimes, particularly if a child or adolescent has a genetic endowment that makes them sensitive, or if their life experience has included more than average disruption and uncertainty, anxiety symptoms appear that go beyond the routine, normal childhood fears, and professional help is needed in order to prevent the child from growing into an adult crippled by severe anxiety.
Even kind and loving parents sometimes find that their child refuses to go to school, doesn’t want to go to summer camp with friends, frequently feels ill, and seems to require constant reassurance. These children may avoid eye contact, be irritable, and avoid performance situations or any new experience. Any of these symptoms that endure over time is a signal that more than good parenting is called for.
A simple telephone call to CHAANGE Headquarters (619) 224-2216 can place in your hands the tool you can use that will prevent your child from living years in the shadow of a debilitating severe anxiety disorder. It is relatively inexpensive and easy to use.
The Lifeskills Team is dedicated to bringing relief to the anxious child in his or her environment with minimal cost and disruption and maximum effect and efficiency. There are millions of children who are suffering and their families are suffering right along with them. Thirty-one percent of these began before age 10. Fortunately, there is help with the LifeSkills© program.