Anxiety: Threat or Gift?

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A guest post by : S.Helen MacKinnon

Often I am asked the question, ” Why do so many kids today suffer from anxiety ?” There is no easy answer to this question but there are many more questions that we need to ask. In particular, “What is it that appears to be causing such an increase in child and adolescent anxiety? Is it related to social media?  Are we over pathologizing what may be normal reactions to stressful situations in our environment. According to Dr Stan Kutcher, a leading psychiatrist from Dalhousie University, “anxiety is a gift we have inherited from our ancestors to protect us from threat and to kick-start ambition; to fight it we have to face it.” In order to “face it” we need to  first of all understand what is happening and then respond to it in a manner which will allow us to maximize the outcome.

In other words we can use the anxiety or stress, to benefit us in our day-to-day functioning.  If we see it as a gift, we respond from a totally different  repertoire or mindset than if we see it as a threat. A gift is something positive, something we welcome, something that may make things easier for us, or at times may challenge us and help us grow. How can we work with our kids to help them understand and see anxiety as a gift? What are some strategies that will help them develop a different mindset?  Additionally, what part does social media play and are we, as parents, educators, and counsellors, contributing to the mindset of threat or gift? In my next guest post I will explore these very questions and discuss ways to unpack the gift of anxiety.

 

 

Being A Connected Educator Has Changed The Way I Think

Being a Connected Educator has changed the way I think about education and has helped me understand the lives of our students in a completely different way.

Nine months ago I was not a Connected Educator, but I wanted to grow professionally so I took the plunge and took a Massive Open Online Course called ETMOOC.  That changed everything.

 

I felt if I wanted to understand the world that our students live in then I too must learn what it is like. So for the last nine months I have entered into the connected online world and opened up a whole new world of learning for myself and the students I serve. Every time I am connected with others online I come away with new ideas and resources to share.

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cc by Catherine Cronin

For anyone who feels they are too old to do this, I hope I serve as an example. I started teaching in 1980 and I can still say that I LOVE what I do. Being a Connected Educator has helped me stay passionate about teaching and learning .

I believe it has helped me be a better school counsellor as now I can connect with other school counsellors #scchat #cscchat from around the world and we can learn together. As a result of being a Connected Educator I am more open and want to serve as one model for positive Digital Citizenship for our students.

Thanks to all of you who have shared your experiences, resources and optimistic attitude with me. This thanksgiving I am very grateful for you.

Canadian School Counsellors Connecting…School Counselling Today Touches Tomorrow

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photo by CRobi-Blog cc

To Touch The Soul of One Human Being Is To Walk On Holy Ground

Stephen Covey

One of our tasks as school counsellors is to help students separate themselves from outside evaluations and erroneous self- concepts, so that they may discover their own being. We need them to remember, regain, renew and strengthen what they once had as a baby, but now seems lost! By focusing on a student’s strengths we are better able to assist them.

Developing a positive relationship with students is essential and a key into their world; if we accept all students with respect and regard we will be effective in helping them.

Paraphrased from Windows to Our Children by Violet Oaklander

 

School Counsellors have an extremely important job to do. No matter what the situation is they are helping students and relationship is extremely important. It is the cornerstone of what school counsellors do. School counsellors are often privileged to have the time to sit down with a student to really understand their world and what it is they need.  Part of the school counsellor’s role is to enhance the students development both personally and academically.

School counsellors across the country have a variety of skills. In my district we have to have a teaching degree as well as a Master’s degree in counselling.

When students come to the school counsellor they know they can get assistance in a number of areas with a variety of issues.

Coordinating Comprehensive School Counselling Programs which recognize the developmental needs of students is vital to the work that a school counsellor does. They provide responsive services in minor and major crisis while also coordinating wraparound services for school/community agencies as well as service providers for education, mental health, justice, newcomers and health care.

The Guidance Council of Alberta has some great resources to provide school counsellors in Canada with a background and framework for what we do.

 Click here: http://www.guidancecouncil.ca/?page_id=29

The role of the school counsellor has changed and is evolving. Ask a school counsellor what they do and you may be surprised. Helping students is what school counsellors do. They want to make a difference in students lives so that they can better navigate the world around them.

Wanting more information about School Counsellors in Canada? The following websites are helpful:

  • Newfoundland: No website available at the present time
  • Northwest Territories: No website available at the present time
  • Nunavut:  No website available at the present time
  • Ontario School Counsellors Association: http://www.osca.ca/
  • Prince Edward Island Counselling Association:  http://www.peica.org/
  • Quebec: No website available at the present time
  • Saskatchewan School Counsellor Association: http://ssc.stf.sk.ca/ssca/ssca.html
  • Yukon Territory: No website available at the present time

The Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association School Counselling Chapter keeps up on school counselling programs across Canada and promotes and supports the role of school counsellors.

http://www.ccpa-accp.ca/en/chapters/schoolcounsellors/

School Counsellors love what they do and more are beginning to connect on twitter for professional development. We also love connecting with school counsellors from all over the world. So please join us follow the hash tags:

Canadian School Counsellor Chat:  #cscchat

American School Counselors:  #scchat

You can follow me @SSpellmanCann

Note to all school counsellors everywhere. If you have a HAIKU DECK that you have created please share with me @SSpellmanCann and I will share with EVERONE as well as putting in a place for all school counsellors to use.

Here is one example:                                                

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Click here:

http://www.haikudeck.com/p/VT42oMjCFM/positive-connections-school-counselling

  • Hope you join in on creating haiku decks that students and you can use.
  • Looking forward to connecting and working together to create FREE school counselling resources that students and school counsellors across the WORLD can use  to make a difference in the lives of our students.