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Students First • L’élève avant tout Since 1909

Alex Russell

That Big Bad World: Helping Kids Thrive in Anxious Times

Anxiety disorders among children are on the rise: More medications are being prescribed, new disorders such as “school refusal” are appearing and, even among children not diagnosed with a disorder, children are appearing increasingly daunted by the task of taking on the world around them. Changes in the way children in the West play and learn are a part of this as children have less opportunity to creatively explore and practice in the world, free from adult involvement and protection. This workshop takes a health perspective in which childhood anxiety is understood as a necessary building block of adaptation, and an essential gateway to a child’s creative engagement with the world. A perspective is provided that helps slowly shift the burden of responsibility on to children as they grow – something that helps them take on anxiety adaptively, at the same time as they experience the sense of mastery and competence such growth generates.

About Alex Russell

Dr. Russell is a clinical psychologist who provides assessments and psychotherapy to children, adolescents, and adults, and consultation and supervision to schools, teachers and psychologists. He is a popular public speaker and is the author, with Tim Falconer, of Drop the Worry Ball: How to Parent in the Age of Entitlement. He is intimately familiar with the culture of the school system and the relationship that parents, teachers and counsellors share with regard to the children in our care. He has led workshops for educators and mental health professionals across Canada and the United States focusing on promoting children’s emotional resilience.