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Children's Therapy Archives - A Step at a Time

Growing resilience in families….

Posted by | anxiety, Children's Therapy, confidence, mental health, sadness, self-belief, self-esteem, Stress, worries | No Comments

Resilience describes our ability to bounce back from stress, adversity, failure and challenges. However, it is often misunderstood that failure is not something we are born with, or something that some people have and others do not. Rather, resilience is something that we develop, grow and foster over time and with support and guidance. So what are the benefits of resilience? Resilience allows us: Better manage stress and worries Te able to overcome obstacles To look for solutions and opportunities To navigate challenging situations Cope with rejection Process and move past failure See the lessons and opportunities in life’s lessons Without resilience children can experience: Higher stress levels or chronic stress Feeling overwhelmed Dwelling on problems Increased anxiety A feeling of rejection or feeling like a victim Feelings of disappointment A sense of failure if things do not go to plan Setbacks feel permanent Risks of depression, insomnia Risks of…

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Does your child fall apart when they get home from school?

Posted by | anger, anxiety, Children's Therapy, mental health, sadness, Stress, trauma, worries | No Comments

Does your child walk in the door after school and….. Explode? Fall apart? Lose the plot? Struggle to cope? Become distresses? Restraint Collapse is a term developed by Andrea Loewen Nair, a parenting educator. It is used to describe children who bottle up their feelings and anxieties all day, doing all they can to hold themselves together to fit in and be the same as everyone else, to then come home to their safe place and release everything. The challenge of holding in their emotional needs leaves them feeling emotionally, intellectually and physically exhausted and the entry into a safe space allows them permission to release these, often quickly and with overwhelming speed. What can it look like: Parents may see their child: Cry Scream Become angry Throw things Fly off the handle Be rude or disrespectful Being out of control Fatigued Your child being inconsolable Does it affect all…

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Signs a child is struggling with health anxiety

Posted by | Adventures of Brian, anxiety, Children's Therapy, emotional eating, health anxiety, mental health, sensitive children, worries | No Comments

Health anxiety is described as when an individual spends too much time worrying: That they are ill That they could be getting ill Whilst a certain level of concern is completely normal if we have symptoms of illness, health anxiety can begin to take over life. Health anxiety is often obsessive and irrational and individuals who experience it can misinterpret normal sensations in the body as being indicators of serious illness. What causes health anxiety? The actual cause of health anxiety is not well understood. However, the concept of anxiety is created when our body perceives a stress or challenge. In this situation, our body releases a hormone called adrenaline which creates the ‘fight – flight –freeze – faint’ response in the body. This creates a number of physical and emotional feelings in the body which warn us that there may be a potential threat of danger or risk. However,…

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Does your child feel overwhelmed?

Posted by | anger, anxiety, Children's Therapy, confidence, low mood, mental health, self-esteem, Stress, trauma | No Comments

What is it? When a child feels emotionally overwhelmed it means that they feel smothered by their thoughts or emotions to the point that they feel that they cannot function. Overwhelm is an intense emotion and causes a flood of emotions and stress in the body. It can create a fight-flight-freeze-faint response which can cause a great deal of fear in children.   What causes it? Overwhelm is caused by a number of different issues. These frequently create heightened stress and sense of being out of control or things happening ‘to’ us. Including: Stress Sleep deprivation Experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event Challenging life issues Changes which cause extreme stress Bereavement History of trauma Transitions e.g. moving house, a new sibling, new school Being overloaded – committing to too much Overscheduling time Overcommitting to events, jobs or deadlines Situations where we feel controlled by others / events Underlying medical conditions…

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My child’s symptoms – which resources can I use?

Posted by | Adventures of Brian, anger, anxiety, books, Children's Therapy, confidence, low mood, sadness, self-belief, self-esteem, Stress, well-being, worries | No Comments

Navigating resources, home support and therapy can be a bit of a minefield. Which is why I put together these flow charts to give you a helping hand and direct you to the resources that you can access to help them! Please note – these flow charts do not provide or replace medical advice, if you have a concern about your child seeking support from your GP or health visitor should always be your first priority. Find the resources: ANGER & EXPLOSIVE FEELINGS  Brian and the Shaky Paws- https://bit.ly/ShakyPaws5 FREE Relaxation Audio – https://astepatatime.simplero.com/products/57433-Childrens-FREE-Relaxation-Audio SADNESS & UPSET  Brian and the Troubling Thoughts – http://bit.ly/Troubling5  AUDIO – Releasing fears and worries – https://astepatatime.simplero.com/products/63359-CHILD-AUDIO-NEW-Fears-and-Worries WORRIES & ANXIETY  Brian and the Scary Moment – http://bit.ly/ScaryMoment  Brian and the Funny Feeling – http://bit.ly/Funny-Feeling  AUDIO – CHILD ANXIETY – https://astepatatime.simplero.com/products/114143-CHILD-AUDIO-NEW-Child-Anxiety-Audio    Find the resources – CONFIDENCE & SELFESTEEM Brian and the Proud Feeling – http://bit.ly/ProudFeeling …

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How do we grow children’s self-esteem?

Posted by | anxiety, Children's Therapy, confidence, self-belief, self-esteem, self-image, Stress, Teenagers | No Comments

Self-esteem is a word that we throw around frequently, but do we really recognise the impact of self-esteem in our child’s life? Do we see the impact of self-esteem on their lives? Or perhaps you’ve started to look at your child in comparison to their peers and begun to worry about how they are feeling about themselves? So, let’s start at the beginning….   What is self-esteem? Self-esteem is the value we place on our own worth. It is the opinion we have of ourselves. The way we view our worth in the world. It can be positive or negative, and the level of our self-esteem impacts the way that we see the world and the events that occur in our lives.   What does positive (or high) self-esteem look like? Positive self-esteem can look like: Being able to recognise our strengths Being able to recognise our achievements Feeling positive…

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Why we can’t hide from the dangers of social media…

Posted by | anxiety, boredom, Children's Therapy, computer games, depression, gaming, mental health, school, screen time, social media, Teenagers | No Comments

Every week in my office I see trends and patterns of issues that are occurring in the wider world, particularly those affecting children and teenagers. These act as great insights to my work, and allow me to then set about increasing the information, resources and targeted support that I offer to parents – you thought all these blogs were random? Not a chance…….every week there is a theme from the challenges facing parents, children and local contacts such as schools, local authorities and tutors etc. What’s occurring?  Since lockdown, social media has increased it’s agenda in my world. Whilst it was a fantastic commodity during the craziness of full lockdown, it comes with it’s own dangers and perils, often: under the radar out of parent sight not discussed causing high levels of distress Which ever is your poison, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tik Tok, Pinterest or Snap Chat, they all have…

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Flatten the mental health curve at home!

Posted by | anger, anxiety, boredom, Children's Therapy, confidence, depression, low mood, mental health, self-esteem, sensitive children, Stress, Teenagers, trauma | No Comments

As we exit lockdown and resume a semblance of normality mental health has become the buzz word of the moment. But, how do we ensure that we are actually planning for mental health and not just playing lip service to the current trending terminology? Mental health describes a child or adolescent who has a positive sense of self and their abilities, a child with good mental health has good coping mechanisms to manage everyday stressors. Mental health can be seen as a continuum, moving between mental health and mental ill-health. We all have mental health, and as such, we will have times in life when it may be better or we may struggle. For those who regularly read my blogs, you will have seen the timelines I released early on in lockdown predicting times and areas when we need to be aware of our family’s stressors and also key events which…

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Why treating mental health is like peeling an onion

Posted by | anger, anxiety, bereavement, boredom, Children's Therapy, confidence, depression, mental health, parent separation, self-belief, self-esteem, self-image, sensitive children, separation anxiety, Stress, Teenagers, trauma | No Comments

Mental health, and the treatment of it, causes so many families chaos, confusion and frustration. Accessing support can be difficult and in some cases impossible, and when support is accessed the expectations can differ from the outcomes. When working with clients, I frequently talk about mental health being an onion. Onions have layers and layers that you can peel back.  Some mental health issues are isolated, and therefore can be stripped in one go, therefore only requiring 1-2 sessions. Other mental health issues have developed over months, years, have multiple affects and triggers and therefore require us to strip off more layers to return to positive well-being – therefore requiring multiple sessions over a period of weeks or years. In some cases, clients will have attempted a number of therapies for only 1-2 sessions and when not finding an immediate cure give up and move to the next therapy. Others,…

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Planning for the summer – Helping children to manage expectations and develop patience

Posted by | Adventures of Brian, anxiety, boredom, Children's Therapy, confidence, relationships, self-esteem, sensitive children, well-being | No Comments

After months of disappointment, life being tipped upside down and some massive changes to daily routines, as adults we can feel discombobulated, and for children, many feel like their brains are about to explode. Supporting children to make sense of the world and to feel safer is key to building their resilience and helping them to manage natural anxiety. With the summer holidays now upon us, there is a wonderful opportunity to support children to start putting their worlds back into order so that they are well prepared for the return to school. Our brains run on patterns; every opportunity, sensory experience, place we visit, thing we hear is quickly run back to our brains stored knowledge to check if it is ‘safe’ ‘acceptable’ or ‘similar’ to what we have known before. If something matches then we can push forward, if not, it can raise anxiety levels, adrenalin or fear…

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Computers, teenagers and mental health

Posted by | anger, anxiety, boredom, Children's Therapy, computer games, gaming, mental health, screen time, Stress, Teenagers | No Comments

Technology has taken the world by storm in the last ten years, and with it, brought new levels of graphics, entertainment and browsing. Long gone are the days of being impressed by a Commodore 64 or a Gameboy, as platform games and interactive social media platforms now absorb hours of our days. Whilst technology has opened new forms of communication, entertainment and interaction, alongside the blessings, for many it has brought a new curse onto their households. A curse that few people can avoid, adults, teens and children alike. Whilst some can take and leave electronics, easily switching off and putting them aside. For others, computers and electronics create unhealthy attachments and create huge emotional responses. The Royal College of Paedatrics and Child Health, surveyed 109 children and young people and found that: 88% of children and young people (11-24 years) acknowledged that screen time had a negative impact on…

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Strategies to support children: Homemade Sensory Boxes

Posted by | anger, anxiety, boredom, Children's Therapy, confidence, grief, low mood, self-belief, self-esteem, sensitive children, Stress, well-being | No Comments

Helping children to manage their emotions and learn to regulate them can be a daunting task. Children’s rapid brain development means that whilst they develop logic and reasoning from the age of 5, they can often be impulsive, as the frontal cortex of the brain, which controls logic develops much later. In fact, the frontal cortex development continues into adulthood, so recognising that children need our help to develop reasoning and control is the first step to connecting and helping them. The later development of the frontal cortex means that children; are more likely to act on impulse are less likely to think before they act are more likely to take risks or act out risky behaviours have difficulty considering the consequence of their actions may behave in inappropriate ways Therefore, as adults, supporting children to develop the knowledge and understanding of these areas is important in their social and…

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Supporting children with angry feelings

Posted by | anger, anxiety, BWRT, Children's Therapy, confidence, low mood, self-esteem, Stress | No Comments

Why do we get angry?? Everyone has a different response to anger, and the reason for this is that everyone interprets the environment, relationships and situations differently. This is dependent on previous experience, developmental stage and our understanding of our own emotions and triggers. As such, no response to a situation is right or wrong, but merely our own response formed from our pre-learnt reactions. For children, as their brain development is in an escalated period and changing daily, their response to situations may not be what is deemed ‘acceptable’ or ‘desired’ but will, like our own responses, be a response to the emotions that they are feeling internally and the learnt responses they have developed to date. These may be their ‘fight-flight-freeze-faint’ responses, they may be responses learnt from previous experiences or they may be learnt responses from the people around them. So, where do these responses come from?…

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How to recognise signs of poor mental health in children and 5 ways to support children at home.

Posted by | anxiety, Children's Therapy, confidence, depression, emotional eating, grief, low mood, parent separation, self-belief, self-esteem, separation anxiety, Stress, Teenagers, well-being | No Comments

The thing about mental health, is that we all have it. If we imagine it as a swinging pendulum, throughout out life times, our mental health moves between good mental well-being and poor mental well-being, depending on life circumstances, events and situations. Everyone can have days when their mental health feels more sensitive, but for some, realising that their mental health is suffering and needs support can be a shock. For children and teenagers, brain development is ever changing and moving, children’s pre-frontal cortex – the part of the brain that supports rational thought, seeing perspectives, solving problems and regulation continues its development throughout childhood and adolescence. So, we cannot expect our children to know how to manage their own feelings without guidance and support. In addition, as their primary responses come from their limbic brain system we can often see strong emotions, reactive and instinctive responses to issues –…

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5 tips to supporting children in separated families

Posted by | anxiety, child therapy, Children's Therapy, loss, parent separation, relationships, sensitive children, separation anxiety | No Comments

Family separations bring with them a great deal of emotions, for parents, children and the wider family. As parents adjust to co-parenting finding ways to connect, interact and support children in an optimal way is paramount. Whilst some families glide into co-parenting, others can find that the transition is more difficult and the uncertainty of the best ways to support children can feel difficult to navigate. So, whilst the list of strategies and approaches is endless, here’s five ways that you can underpin your behaviours and reactions to co-parenting to best support children in the transitions. Keep child centred – work at their pace Co-parenting is an adjustment for parents and children, however, for children, the transition can be fraught with anxiety, worry and uncertainty. Particularly around when they will see their parent again and what will happen next. In many cases, parents may have been planning or been aware…

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