The primary mental health issue that many counsellors have seen increase during COVID has been anxiety, which was already the number one mental health issue in the US. Today’s guest is Shannan Blum, Clinical Director at The Woodlands Recovery and Wellness, a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, and a Certified Clinical Anxiety Treatment Professional for Children and Adolescents. She specializes in treating individuals and families suffering from depression, anxiety, and relationship or family conflict, as well as substance abuse, post-traumatic stress disorder, and difficulties adjusting to life transitions among others. In this episode, she shares her expertise and practical advice for those experiencing depression and anxiety and for parents who might be unknowingly exacerbating the anxiety of their children. Tuning in, you’ll hear from Shannan as she emphasizes flexibility over rigid routines and skill building over comfort and certainty, explains how she sees our outcome-based culture contributing to the anxiety that children and teens are experiencing, and shares her externalization approach to treating anxiety, which is in opposition with the traditional approach that says we should eradicate it. You’ll also learn about the invaluable skills that Shannan teaches, including mindfulness and self-soothing techniques, and the top four skills she believes children and teens need to know to tackle anxiety and depression head on. Tune in today to find out more!
Key Points From This Episode:
“All [my] professional work has laid the foundation for me to be able to talk very freely and extemporaneously and in a lot of different contexts about social anxiety or general anxiety or different phobias that people might have and be able to bridge the gap in a lot of different areas for them.” — Shannan Blum [0:05:46]
“Anxiety demands certainty and it demands comfort. We often think, as parents, if I can make them more comfortable and if I can be more certain, their anxiety is going to reduce – and it will for a moment but, over time, that just makes the monster stronger.” — Shannan Blum [0:14:52]
“Battling the cultural impact [on anxiety] is really difficult. Usually, my encouragement is: focus on the skills first and the outcome second. The outcome will come.” — Shannan Blum [0:25:18]
“Anxiety is not a time-management issue. Procrastination is not a time-management issue. It’s an emotion regulation issue. It’s a very different framework.” — Shannan Blum [0:35:22]
“If I can teach you a process, the content [of your anxieties] won’t matter. I want to change the relationship you have to your anxiety.” — Shannan Blum [0:43:59]
“Anxiety and depression and all sorts of other mental illnesses seek to isolate family members from one another. If we can repair those [connections] and the parents and the kids can come back together, then they do that reparative work on an ongoing basis.” — Shannan Blum [0:59:18]
Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:
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