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Digital Seminar

When Worry Shows Up at School: A Primer for Educators, Administrators, and Counselors

Dawn A. Huebner, PhD
1 Hour 21 Minutes
Aug 05, 2020
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Digital Seminar
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Even in the most supportive of classrooms, anxiety enters on the heels of approximately 1 in 5 children, making it difficult for them to interact with teachers and/or peers and to fully access the curriculum. 

Anxiety shows up as stomachaches, tearfulness, perfectionism, refusal to participate and more, holding not only the child but sometimes entire classroom hostage. Anxious children need reassurance and accommodations, which teachers who are already stretched thin try to give. Yet sadly, the anxiety often remains stubbornly in place. Fearfulness and avoidance, for some children, become the norm.

It doesn’t need to be that way.

There is a paradox about worry: that the more we fight it, the more it holds on. It turns out that the best way to get rid of anxiety is to stop trying to get rid of anxiety. This paradox flies in the face of many of the interventions made by well-meaning adults who inadvertently collude with young worriers in an attempt to get rid of the worry, thereby locking it in place. Oftentimes school-based accommodations do this, too.

In this 90-minute recording, educators, administrators and school counsellors will learn a new way of thinking about anxiety, and a new way of responding to it, a way that supports the anxious child without inadvertently supporting their anxiety. Practical, effective, school-based techniques will be highlighted with the aim of helping children – and the school-based adults who care about them – break free from the grip of worry.


- PESI Australia, in collaboration with PESI in the USA, offers quality online continuing professional development events from the leaders in the field at a standard recognized by professional associations including psychology, social work, occupational therapy, alcohol and drug professionals, counselling and psychotherapy. On completion of the training, a Professional Development Certificate is issued after the individual has answered and submitted a quiz and course evaluation. This online program is worth 1.5 hours CPD for points calculation by your association.



Dawn A. Huebner, PhD's Profile

Dawn A. Huebner, PhD Related seminars and products

Dawn Huebner, PhD, is a psychologist, parent coach, and the author of 14 books for children including bestsellers What to Do When You Worry Too Much and Outsmarting Worry. Her newest book, The A-Z Guide to Exposure, co-authored with Dr. Erin Neely, includes exposure lists that address 7 childhood fears. Dr. Huebner’s books are practical and relatable, selling well over a million copies in 23 languages. Educated at The University of Michigan and in practice for over 35 years, Dr. Huebner serves as a media consultant on issues related to childhood anxiety. She speaks frequently to parenting and professional groups. Dr. Huebner’s TEDx talk, Rethinking Anxiety, has been viewed over a million times.

Speaker Disclosures:
Financial: Dr. Dawn Huebner receives compensation as a parent coach and receives royalties as a published author. She receives a speaking honorarium and recording royalties from PESI, Inc. She has no relevant financial relationships with ineligible organizations.
Non-financial: Dr. Dawn Huebner is a member of the American Psychological Association, the CA Psychological Association, and the Anxiety Disorders Association of America.


  1. Distinguish the signs and symptoms of school related anxiety.
  2. Appraise the concept of the worry loop as is relates to children.
  3. Create effective accommodations for anxiety to ensure they are beneficial, dynamic and temporary.


Three Key Concepts About Anxiety
  • Anxiety is the normal byproduct of an internal alarm system
  • Sometimes the alarm is triggered by mistake
  • The goal is not to get rid of the alarm system but to learn to respond differently
Recognizing Anxiety at School
  • “Normal” versus “problematic” anxiety
  • Manifestations of fight, flight or freeze
  • The process of anxiety versus the content of anxiety
What is the Worry Loop and Why Does It Matter?
  • The “Worry Loop”
  • Safety Behaviors “feed” anxiety, keeping it going
  • School-based accommodations often inadvertently support Safety Behaviors
How to Create Effective Accommodations
  • Making supportive statements (acknowledging and encouraging)
  • The role of exposure
  • Ensuring that accommodations are beneficial, dynamic, and temporary

Target Audience

  • Counselors
  • Social Workers
  • Psychologists
  • Psychotherapists
  • Therapists
  • Marriage and Family Therapists
  • Case Managers
  • Speech Language Pathologists
  • Occupational Therapists
  • Nurses
  • School Guidance Counselors
  • School Social Workers
  • School Psychologists
  • School Administrators
  • Teachers
  • Special Education Teachers
  • School-based Clinicians
  • Educational Paraprofessionals
  • Other Helping Professionals that work with children

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