Full Course Description

Helping Anxious Kids - Module 1

Anxiety is a very persistent master. When it moves into families, it takes over daily routines, schoolwork, and recreation. Depression is often close on its heels.
The most frequent comment I hear from anxious families is “no one told them what to DO.” After multi-session assessment or months of appointments, they still didn’t have a clear plan or understanding of HOW to respond when anxiety shows up.

Imagine being able to offer families immediate and effective tasks to weaken anxiety’s grip!

What if, during a first session, you could give your clients the information and a road map to change the powerful patterns of anxiety disorders?

Join Lynn Lyons, LICSW, internationally recognized psychotherapist, author and speaker, in an intensive 3-day training. She will teach you HOW to interrupt anxiety’s cognitive patterns with simple, process-based strategies. You’ll focus on concrete and often counter-intuitive strategies that normalize worry for families and provide an “umbrella approach” that applies to all anxiety disorders.

Leave this 3-day workshop with new techniques to break the anxiety cycle:

  • Untangle complicated presentations of anxiety
  • Combat the challenges of somatic symptoms
  • Avoid the big mistakes with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
  • The importance of prioritizing interventions
  • … and MORE!

Program Information


A Process-Based Approach to Anxiety

  • Don’t fall into the Content Trap:
    • Process of anxiety matters more than the content of the child’s fears
  • Patterns of Worried Families;
    • Avoidance
    • Accommodation
    • Reassurance
    • Overprotection
  • ”Don’t Do the Disorder”:
    • How to avoid mirroring and supporting the anxiety disorder

Four Critical Concepts: The Foundation of a Skill-Based Approach

  • Content versus Process:
    • Moving kids and parents out of the details of worry and into a process based approach that applies to all anxiety disorders
  • We Are Eliminating Nothing:
    • Getting rid of symptoms doesn’t work with paradoxical anxiety
  • How to Get on Offense:
    • Changing the relationship to worry
  • Creating Playful Connection:
    • Offer solutions to Anxiety’s demands

Laying the Groundwork: What Families Need to Know Upfront

  • Getting Out of the Anxiety Cult:
    • Breaking the Anxiety Culture – escaping the high demands of school, home, social life …
  • Create a new framework for families to separate from generational anxiety
  • The importance of psychoeducation:
    • Explanation activates treatment
  • Cognitive Patterns:
    • Recognize anxiety and interrupt common thought patterns
      • Global
      • Catastrophic
      • Permanent

Putting It Together: Seven Puzzle Pieces

  • Expect Worry
  • Talk to Worry
  • Get Uncomfortable and Unsure ON PURPOSE
  • Breathe
  • Know What You Want
  • Bridge Back to Your Successes
  • Take Action on Your Plan

Creating Interventions and Homework: Tasks that Teach

  • Role Playing: The importance of experiential learning and practice
  • Using Rewards and Consequences: The ins and outs of parent coaching
  • Examples of My Favorite Assignments:
    • Wall of Flexibility
    • Spaghetti Challenge
    • Photo Album Investigation
    • Ten Good Things … and many more

Schools, Accommodations, and Parents

  • Creating Effective Behavioral Plans
  • Skill-Based Goals versus Avoidance-Based Plans
  • Case Studies and Common Issues

When it’s not just Anxiety …
Untangling Complicated Presentations with Three Frames for Treatment and Prevention

  • Experience is Variable: Creating Flexibility in a Rigid System
  • The Value of Parts: Skills to Combat Global Thinking
  • Action Counts: Counteracting the Passivity of Anxiety and Depression

The Challenge of Somatic Symptoms

  • Taking Full Advantage of Relaxation: Are we missing opportunities? (Yes!)
  • The Safety Behavior Trap: Common Ways We Exacerbate Physical Symptoms
  • Common Diagnoses with Anxious Children (eg GI issues, insomnia, headaches)
  • The Mind-Body Connection: What Kids (and Adults) Should Know

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder: The Importance of Process

  • Myths and Current Research
  • The Biggest mistakes therapists make with OCD
  • Diagnosis and Misdiagnosis
  • Creating a Family Plan
  • The benefit of direct language and psychoeducation for families

Anxiety, ASD, OCD: A Tangled Web

  • The Executive Overload Model
  • Attention and Focus?
  • Internal versus External Focus
  • The importance of prioritizing interventions

When There’s a Trauma History

  • What Modifications are Needed?
  • A Cognitive Approach and Complex PTSD?
  • The Concept of Differentiation



  1. Demonstrate how to interrupt patterns of anxious parenting to decrease the modeling of family anxiety.
  2. Implement active assignments for families that correct the common cognitive traps that bolster both anxiety and depression.
  3. Articulate the difference between content-based and process-based interventions as it relates to treatment.
  4. Develop a therapeutic toolbox to include playfulness, humor, games, collaboration, and active homework assignments to reduce anxiety symptoms.
  5. Create interventions that focus on interrupting the process of OCD in families rather than the content of the OCD.
  6. Incorporate role playing and active techniques in session with families to facilitate emotional expression and increase engagement in therapy.
  7. Teach families strategies to decrease the impact of and connection between anxiety, GI symptoms, headaches, and sleep issues.
  8. Implement the “7 puzzle pieces” of a skill-based treatment plan for decreasing symptoms of anxiety.
  9. Minimize the use of avoidant and safety behaviors that strengthen anxiety in families.
  10. Demonstrate to families how the worry and anxiety process works in the brain and body to maximize effectiveness of psychoeducation.
  11. Provide psychoeducation to parents and children and the relationship to quality of sleep and symptoms of anxiety.
  12. Incorporate relaxation skills and techniques to effectively treat somatic symptoms of anxiety.
  13. Consider the differences in clinical presentation of OCD, ADHD and other anxiety diagnoses in order to best inform choice of treatment interventions.
  14. Adapt a treatment intervention strategy to meet the clinical needs of children with trauma histories.
  15. Assess the impact of anxiety disorders on attention and focus in order to more accurately diagnose and intervene with anxious children.
  16. Adapt a process-based treatment approach to clients with ASD with the goal of increasing flexibility and social engagement.
  17. Write effective behavioral plans and IEP goals for use in schools.
  18. Create at least three homework assignments that experientially promote flexibility and an offensive approach to worry.

Target Audience

Counselors, Social Workers, Psychologists, Marriage and Family Therapists, Educators, Occupational Therapists, Speech-Language Pathologists, and other helping professionals

Copyright : 04/04/2018

Medications in the Treatment of Anxiety

Program Information


  1. Evaluate the clinical implications of SSRIs and SNRIs on the process of treating anxiety.
  2. Analyze the detrimental effects of benzodiazepines as they relate to anxiety treatment outcomes.
  3. Examine the mechanism of action, onset of improvement, side effects, and consequences of long term use of medications.


Medications Overview

  • The role of therapists regarding medications
  • Anxiety management, not anxiety elimination, is the goal
  • Beneficial effects of Medications
  • Assessing and addressing medication during the initial intake
  • Respecting the relationship between the prescriber and client
  • Educating clients about the role of medication in treating anxiety
  • What are the approved Medications for treating anxiety?
Medications and Anxiety Treatments
  • SSRIs and SNRIs
  • Benzodiazepines
    • The impact of benzodiazepines on therapeutic interventions
    • The problem of rebound from benzodiazepine use
  • Buspirone
  • Beta blockers
  • Sedatives/hypnotics/z-drugs
  • Choosing the right medication for specific anxiety disorders
  • Mechanisms of Action: How these drugs work
  • Explaining the effects to clients
  • Benefits, disadvantages, and risks of medications
  • Factors that influence the usefulness of medications
  • Monitoring therapeutic effects
CBT vs. Medications: Comparing Effectiveness and Durability

Target Audience

  • Social Workers
  • Psychologists
  • Counselors
  • Teachers
  • Occupational Therapists
  • Marriage and Family Therapists
  • Case Managers
  • Addiction Counselors
  • Therapists
  • Nurses
  • Other Mental Health Professionals

Copyright : 06/30/2018

Lynn Lyons’ Working with Childhood Anxiety: In-Session Demonstrations

Program Information


  1. Teach clients to externalize anxiety as a way to recognize and respond to its patterns
  2. Design experiential assignments that support exposure and increased activity for anxious clients
  3. Evaluate the connection between anxiety and depression in adolescents and its treatment implications
  4. Create process-based interventions with anxious families to reduce symptoms of worry.
  5. Describe the pitfalls of accommodations when addressing childhood anxiety as it relates to treatment outcomes
  6. Demonstrate and utilize the 3 EX’s to families for anxiety symptom management
  7. Prescribe assignments for anxious families that promote flexibility and tolerance
  8. Develop effective goals for students to address anxiety symptoms in a school setting


Introductions – Meet Lynn’s Clients and Their Challenges

  • Stacy – fear of driving and heights, uncertainty
  • Addison – rigid rule follower, worries about others, doesn’t want things to go wrong
  • Landon – chronic worry, intolerant of change and uncertainty, reassurance seeking
Principles, Strategies and Techniques
  • Going on offense with anxiety
  • Moving out of the comfort zone
  • Don’t get caught up in the content
  • Internal and External focus
  • What can you control?
  • Worry, What-Ifs?, and Problem Solving
  • Externalizing and talking back to Anxiety and Worry
  • Using Exposure Therapies
  • The paradox of elimination strategies
  • Recognizing and tolerating uncertainty
  • Stop accommodating! Learn to tolerate worry
  • The three EX’s for dealing with worry
  • Permanent thinking and building reminder bridges
  • Coaching families on managing anxiety symptoms
  • Addressing anxiety in a school setting
Next Steps and Future Plans

Target Audience

  • Counselors
  • Social Workers
  • Psychologists
  • Marriage and Family Therapists
  • Educators
  • Occupational Therapists
  • Speech-Language Pathologists
  • Other Helping Professionals

Copyright : 07/12/2018