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A User-Friendly Intervention for
Practitioners Working with Anxious Children

by Dr Allison Waters and Dr Trisha Groth

 

              

I still think about using my Take Action strategies at school. I am so busy playing with my friends now, the lunchtimes go really quickly. I read my strength cards on the bus to remind me of my strategies on the way to camp.  — 8 year old boy

Now used in over 300 health clinics, practices, and schools around Australia.

An estimated 1.3 million adult Australians will suffer from an anxiety disorder this year. About half of them may have experienced their first symptoms by the age of 11.

While anxiety is a normal part of childhood, around 12 per cent of children develop a diagnosable disorder, experiencing fear, nervousness, and shyness, and avoiding places and activities.

Without treatment these children are at higher risk to perform poorly in school, miss out on important social experiences, and experience physical complaints such as sleeplessness, diarrhoea, stomach aches and headaches.

While ?resiliency building and anti-bullying programs help with prevention they do little to reduce the emotional and behavioural stress of children with an identified anxiety disorder.

Years of psychological research tells us that a short cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) program helps anxious children cope better both socially and scholastically as well as avoid a possible lifetime of debilitating emotional distress.

Yet treatment of child anxiety disorder can be prohibitively expensive for many parents and most existing effective school-based CBT programs cost thousands of dollars in accreditation fees and teacher training.

The Take Action program, targeted toward children aged 4-7 and 8-12 years, was developed with these constraints in mind.

Take Action provides community-based and school psychologists as well as other CBT practitioners with easy-to-use module-based instructions and materials in a $145 resource book to conduct a range of treatment approaches from individual anxiety management skills training to a complete 10-week group therapy program.

?Take Action has an extensive 10-year research and validation background and combines recent research on threat-based cognitive biases and maladaptive thinking styles in childhood anxiety disorders with the well-established principles of CBT.

The program materials are designed and produced by leading psychology publisher Australian Academic Press, who has been providing quality evidence-based mental health interventions, including the former FRIENDS program, since 1987.

 


What psychologists are saying about Take Action

"Solutions for Life ran two Take Action groups in Term 4 2016 – 6 to 8 year olds and 9 to 12 year olds at our private practice clinic. We found the program easy to run and very engaging for both children and parents. It was fantastic to observe the children’s confidence improve over the course of the 10 week program through learning about their anxiety and how to take action by keeping calm and thinking strong thoughts. All of the children in the groups made progress, which is a testament to the program. Some of the take action goals achieved including:

  • having sleep a over for the first time,
  • sleeping in their own bed for an entire night,
  • staying at home without Mum or Dad."

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  IMPORTANT
This web site is for information only. If you require treatment for anxiety you should seek professional help. In Australia, try the APS Find a Psychologist Service.
 

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