Chilled

The successful Cool Kids Program has been adapted for teens between the ages of about 12-16 years and their parents.

Grounded in a cognitive behavioural approach, it is a family based program that consists of 9 sessions, spread over about 12 – 13 weeks (not including school holidays). Parents learn strategies for parenting their anxious teen and the young people engage in an exploration of ways to conquer their fears and worries through completing a workbook and practising their new skills between sessions. There is also a follow up tenth session, 2-3 months after the last session, to keep everyone motivated to continue the program once regular sessions cease. Usually the program is run with 4 or 5 families, sometimes working in a large group, and sometimes splitting into a parent group and an adolescent group. However, it can also be run with single families if circumstances make that the most appropriate approach.

Topics covered in the program include:

  • Understanding anxiety
  • Realistic thinking
  • Managing emotions
  • Problem solving
  • Assertiveness
  • Coping strategies
  • Maintaining gains

Having seen the life changing gains that many young people have made after completing this program we offer it with confidence in its power to transform the lives of anxious adolescents and their families.

What you can expect

The biggest advantage of working in groups with other families is that adolescents learn that they’re not alone, and that their feelings and symptoms are experienced by other young people too. And parents benefit by sharing their stories, problems and successes with one another – and by knowing there are other families going through similar challenges.

On the program, the teenagers learn new ways to recognise, manage and reduce their anxiety. They learn how anxiety affects our bodies, thoughts, feelings and behaviour, and identify the link between thoughts and feelings. Parents learn how to parent an adolescent with anxiety, and long-term strategies and tips to help your teenager manage their anxiety.

Following treatment, families usually notice marked increases in school attendance, academic achievement, confidence, number of friends and involvement in extra-curricular activities and decreases in worry, shyness, fear and family distress.

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.
The cost of the Cool Kids program varies, depending on the number of families participating in each program – the more families, the cheaper it becomes! Individual sessions and assessments are charged on an hourly basis – please ask Elaine for more information.
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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