Friday, February 19, 2010

Adios, Anxiety!



Another small group intervention that I have been using with a group of 4th grade students at my school focuses on managing anxiety. As students begin to move into upper elementary and to middle school, many students begin to feel the pressure of keeping grades up, staying on top of homework assignments, and of course dealing with the new social world that comes along with growing up. To address this issue, I began a small guidance group that addresses managing anxiety.

Since I couldn't find a small group curriculum that addresses anxiety, I have been adapting activities from the What Works When with Children and Adolescents book by Ann Vernon to create small group guidance activities for the group. The What Works When book is a wonderful help in individual counseling activities too, especially with upper elementary students. The author addresses almost any and all things you may tackle in individual counseling as a school counselor. This is the book that I grab when I have an issue with a student and am not exactly sure what to say or which direction to go! It has worked wonderfully for this small group as well.

Today we did an activity where the group members had to say "adios" to anxiety. Each member of the group made a list of the thoughts they have concerning whatever they feel anxious about. On the floor I used masking tape to make a hopscotch board. As I read off each anxious thought, the student identified something they could tell themselves to make them feel less anxious. When they reach the top of the board, each group member said "Adios, anxiety!" Afterwords we talked about positive self talk as a way of coping with anxiety, and how when we feel anxious we often assume the worst, which at times can be a lot different than reality.

The group was great, we got to move around, play some hopscotch, and have some fun while we said adios to anxiety!

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