Skip to main content
Not Found
Digital Seminar

School Refusal: Real Help for Children and Teens Who Can’t or Won’t Go to School

Susan Gibbs, MS, LPC
Approx. 6 Hours
Mar 18, 2024
Product Code:
Media Type:
Digital Seminar - Also available: DVD | Live Webinar

Other great resources - exclusive savings when you add now!


School refusal creates chaos in families and often becomes a vicious cycle in which students become trapped.

Often a symptom of anxiety and depression, school refusal creates an immediate short-term relief for kids seeking to escape aspects of the school day. But the result typically includes falling further behind academically, increased feelings of disconnection from peers, and lowered self-esteem.

Watch Susan Gibbs, LPC, to learn from her extensive experience in addressing school refusal effectively. She will bridge the clinical and educational words and share approaches for both environments so you can help struggling students and families.

You will finish with the ability to:

  • Identify the 4 functions of school refusal
  • Anticipate and plan for 5 critical times of day
  • Create student and family specific plans that focus on the student’s inner wealth and human connection
  • Equip parents and educators with age-appropriate interventions to successfully handle school refusal in-the-moment
  • Apply the Nurtured Heart Approach to school refusal

Purchase today to help students end the cycle of school refusal by changing the way they see themselves and the world around them.


Planning Committee Disclosure - No relevant relationships

All members of the PESI, Inc. planning committee have provided disclosures of financial relationships with ineligible organizations and any relevant non-financial relationships prior to planning content for this activity. None of the committee members had relevant financial relationships with ineligible companies or other potentially biasing relationships to disclose to learners.  For speaker disclosures, please see the faculty biography.

CE Information Coming Soon

Continuing education credit information is coming soon for this non-interactive self-study package.

CEs may be available for select professions, as listed in the target audience. Hours will be dependent on the actual recording time. Please check with your state licensing board or organization for specific requirements. 

There may be an additional fee for CE certificates. Please contact our Customer Service at 1-800-844-8260 for more details. 

**Materials that are included in this course may include interventions and modalities that are beyond the authorized practice of mental health professionals. As a licensed professional, you are responsible for reviewing the scope of practice, including activities that are defined in law as beyond the boundaries of practice in accordance with and in compliance with your professions standards.

Additional Info

Access for Self-Study (Non-Interactive)

Access never expires for this product.


Visit our FAQ page at or contact us at


  1. Identify the four functions of school refusal.   
  2. Determine five critical times of day when school refusal may be heightened.   
  3. Choose effective interventions to increase class and school attendance.   
  4. Identify three core elements of the Nurtured Heart Approach and its considerations for school refusal.   
  5. Evaluate a treatment plan based on the identified function of the school refusal.   
  6. Identify strategies for parents and educators to improve participation in education.


The What and the Why of School Refusal
Simple dislike, truancy, or something else entirely?

  • Soft school refusal vs outright refusal
  • Refusal vs truancy
  • Co-morbid DSM-5® disorders
    • Anxiety – the self-fulling prophecy
    • ODD – can’t or won’t?
    • Learning disorders – avoiding failure
    • Depression – lacking a “why”
    • PTSD – self-protection
    • Conduct disorders – rethinking behavior
    • Autism – sensory and social overload
  • Tool to measure school refusal objectively
  • Standardized assessment measures to employ
  • Critical questions to ask refusers and their parents

School Avoidance: A Vicious Cycle
Short-term relief with long-term consequences

  • Early morning pleas, somatic complaints, bargaining
  • Common triggers for avoidance
  • 5 critical times of day and how to handle each
  • Ages and stages of avoidance and refusal
  • 3 common parental responses to school refusal (that don’t work!) and approaches to recommend instead
  • The role of peers, academic struggles, and home life
  • Case conceptualization with integrated intervention plan

Grounding and Planning, Not Coping
Power through or enhance resilience?

  • 5 tips for navigating the Distress Hill
  • Tap into polyvagal theory techniques
  • 8 powerful grounding techniques and when to use each
  • Activate cognitive ability, motivation and values
  • 5 critical time periods each day and intervention strategies for each
  • The role of rewards and consequences and to how to use both effectively

The Nurtured Heart Approach®
Inspire behavior vs manage behavior

  • 3 Stands: absolute no, absolute yes, clarity
  • Starter ideas for the 4 Recognitions: Active, experiential, proactive, creative
  • Interventions to expand the student’s reserve of inner wealth
  • Channel intense energy in a positive direction
  • Special considerations for ADHD, ASD, and other diagnoses

Engagement and Connectedness
Multi-tiered support and collaborative intervention

  • Help parents trust their deepest instincts
  • Relationship as an energetic exchange
  • Medication considerations
  • Practical strategies for home and school collaboration

Limitations of the Research and Potential Risks

Target Audience

  • Educators
  • School Administrators
  • Counselors
  • Social Workers
  • Occupational Therapists
  • School Psychologists


Satisfaction Guarantee
Your satisfaction is our goal and our guarantee. Concerns should be addressed to: PO Box 1000, Eau Claire, WI 54702-1000 or call 1-800-844-8260.

ADA Needs
We would be happy to accommodate your ADA needs; please call our Customer Service Department for more information at 1-800-844-8260.

PESI Mobile App

Access CE trainings on your phone or tablet through our free mobile app. Choose video or audio-only versions of live webcasts and online courses from the world’s best instructors, and complete your CE requirements anywhere, anytime, at your own pace.

Please wait ...

Back to Top