Capable Kids and Families
North Shore home of the Cool Kids program.

Capable Kids offers many different types of assistance but specialises in helping anxious children and adolescents (and their families) learn to manage and overcome their anxiety – and become more capable, confident, happier kids.

Capable Kids and Families
The Auckland home of the Cool Kids program.

Elaine offers many different types of therapeutic assistance but specialises in helping anxious children and adolescents (and their families) learn to manage and overcome their anxiety – and become more capable, confident, happier kids.

Elaine West | Registered Psychologist

I am a Registered Psychologist specialising in working with children and adolescents and their families. I am passionate about making a positive difference to the lives of children and adolescents (and their parents) who are experiencing challenges in school, home or the community.


Services Offered

Capable Kids offers a range of services for children and adolescents including cognitive and educational assessments, therapy for anxiety, depression, learning difficulties, ADHD, gifted and twice exceptional children, as well as parenting, family counselling and school liaison.


The Anxiety Programs

There are four different anxiety programs offered: Cool Kids, Cool Little Kids, Cool Kids for Children with ASD and Chilled for adolescents. All four are structured, skills-based programs that are well recognised as extremely effective ways to help children and families suffering the effects of high levels of anxiety. Based on over 20 years of research, the programs are used extensively throughout Australia and several other countries. Having seen the life-changing benefits of these programs many times over, we are committed to making them accessible to as many anxious New Zealand children as possible. Elaine works closely with other highly experienced psychologists and educators to deliver the range of Cool Kids programs.

  • Cool Little Kids

    An early intervention program for the parents of children aged 3 to 6 years who show signs of excessive shyness or anxiety that may signal future development of an anxiety disorder. Cool Little Kids equips parents with practical skills, strategies and tips to help their child manage and overcome anxiety, and teaches them how to parent an anxious child.

  • Cool Kids

    Cool Kids is a proven, ten session program for children and adolescents who are struggling with high levels of anxiety, and their parents. Children benefit by attending group sessions with other kids with similar difficulties, and learning how to recognise, manage and reduce their anxiety.

  • Chilled

    Chilled is a proven ten session program for adolescents who are struggling with high levels of anxiety, and their parents. Adolescents benefit by attending group sessions with other young people with similar difficulties, and learning how to recognise, manage and reduce their anxiety. Parents learn effective ways to support their teenagers.

  • Cool Kids with ASD

    The successful Cool Kids Program has been adapted for children who have an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), to better suit the learning and thinking styles common to ASD. This is a family-based program that provides skills and strategies to help anxious children with ASD better manage their anxiety.


Rachel – parent of an 8 year old

Hi Elaine. Thank you again for coming into the school to meet with us all – I think the meeting went very well. You have been an enormous help, I’m so grateful. I have contacted the Davis dyslexia people and feel good about starting Helen there.

Donna – parent of a 3 year old

In essence though, I really think that we’re back on track now. Your explanations and suggestions have been really helpful and everything’s a lot easier now. I spoke to Sarah’s preschool also and they don’t really feel her behaviour there is cause for concern. Sarah is reporting also that she is managing not to hurt other people as much there.… Read more “Donna – parent of a 3 year old”

Peter – parent of 4 year old boy

We all want to thank you for the great help from you in the past year. Barry still gets grumpy from time to time, but he manages to control himself on most occasions. He is more accepted by the other kids, and has been more involved in group play. He will be in primary school in the coming year, and… Read more “Peter – parent of 4 year old boy”

Gemma – parent of a 4 year old

Things are generally pretty good for us. It’s been tremendously helpful to have Anna’s Cognitive and Educational assessment. It’s so good to understand more about her strengths and difficulties, so I can help her in more appropriate ways when things are tough. I’m sure we’ll be back in touch with you in the future to reassess where she’s at and… Read more “Gemma – parent of a 4 year old”

Sarah – Cool Kids participant

Elaine and the Cool Kids program has been a lifesaver for our family. Our 11-year old son developed severe anxiety last year. It started with refusing to go to school, but within three months, it had developed into a full-blown anxiety disorder and depression – to the point where he wouldn’t leave the house and could barely get out of… Read more “Sarah – Cool Kids participant”

Frequently Asked Questions

In the first instance, you could contact Elaine for an individual or family session to assess whether your child has anxiety and qualifies for the program.
It’s not uncommon for children (and parents) to be apprehensive about joining a group and revealing the difficulties they are experiencing with anxiety. However, experience has shown that families gain huge benefits from group sessions that can’t be obtained in one-to-one counselling. It helps children to learn that others are ‘in the same boat’ and it helps parents as they learn from each other’s experiences and share what works well for different families. It can also be a lot of fun!!!
Families come from a range of backgrounds but you will probably find that you have more in common than you thought. Every child who completes the program is there because they have worries and fears that are stopping them from enjoying life to the full. Most people end up thoroughly enjoying the group and the support it provides.
Cool Kids is designed to run over nine weeks with a two-hour group session every week (usually held after school). The last two or three sessions are usually a couple of weeks apart to allow children and their families time to practice the techniques learned in earlier sessions. We generally do not run Cool Kids during the school holidays, so all in all, the program is generally spread over about 3 months. You also need to be prepared to spend at least half an hour every day completing practice tasks. Experience has shown that those families who prioritise the practice tasks are the ones who gain the most benefit from the program.
Yes, a child won’t be accepted unless at least one (but preferably both) parents agree to attend the sessions. One of the reasons this program is so successful is because parents are actively involved - and learn how to become a ‘coach’ for their child.
You can view our fees here
We’re happy for anyone who feels that Cool Kids could be of assistance to a child or family they know to contact us in the first instance. This may include parents, grandparents or caregivers, medical professionals, schools or kindergartens, or other psychologists or therapists. We can provide information that can be passed on to the family so that they can make an informed choice.
We are confident that there will always be a degree of behaviour change if parents and children attend every session and always do the practice tasks between sessions. The amount of behaviour change will depend on a number of factors including how severe the anxiety is, the motivation of the child and family to change, and the presence of other issues that make change difficult. There is a follow up appointment about 3 months after the final Cool Kids session to monitor progress, and families are always welcome to undertake the program a second time in order to reinforce what has been learned.

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