Art Therapy For Anxiety

In the psychology community, art therapy continues to gain traction for outstanding results and benefits, all backed by valid and reliable research. In Indigenous communities, it has always been known that art, in several unique forms, can be a way of healing. To top it off, some exercises are so simple they don’t require professional facilitation. They can be done from the comfort of home, in a school setting, via teleconference, or in a clinical setting!

Reports of anxiety for both adults and children are at an all-time high. Understandably so when we are facing a global pandemic! So let’s walk through three different art therapy exercises that focus on anxiety.

 

  1. Create A Mind-Body Connection

As adults, we are aware that our bodies and minds are closely connected. Youth need to be taught the concept about how mental and physical health are interwoven and are not separate. This exercise helps achieve that.

First, ask the child you are working with to draw the outline of a body. If they are not able to do this, print out the outline of a body.

Next, ask the child to think about feelings in their own body when they are anxious. Ask them to think if there body is feeling tension, pain, or discomfort. Depending on the child’s age, you may want to consider using simplified vocabulary.

Have the child pick a coloured pencil, crayon, marker, or paint for each physical feeling (ex., red stands for pain). Then, have the child colour in the areas of the body accordingly. Take a look at the example photo below:

 

  1. The 1 Minute Brain Dump

Want something efficient for discovering the cause of anxiety for your student or child? The 1 Minute Brain Dump is great, and is also super effective for groups!

  • Simply ask your child to draw a large circle. This large circle is going to be a thought bubble.
  • Set a timer for one minute.
  • Tell your child to write down all of the things that are making them anxious in that thought bubble before the timer goes.

The key to this exercise is that having such a short time frame to write down feelings allows the child to “dump out”  anxieties without overthinking, minimizing, or rationalizing them away.

After this minute is up, be sure to go over each topic the child has listed. Having a healthy dialogue about these topics, offering reassurance, and helping problem-solve can help dissipate feelings of anxiety. For example, a child could list the name of a friend as a source of anxiety. They may say that they are worried they aren’t friends anymore because they have not got to spend time with them since school closed. You can tell your child, “I understand you feel that way. What can we do about it?” Brainstorming tangible steps, such as calling the friend, making them a picture, or sending them a letter will not only teach your child problem-solving skills, but will also help ease anxiety.

Take a look at an example of a Brain Dump below:

  1. Affirmation Cards

You may have heard of or seen affirmation cards before. Perhaps you have some yourself! What makes these affirmation cards unique within art therapy is that your child or student can create them specifically to their own needs, thus making them that much more effective!

If you haven’t heard of them, don’t worry! They are a series of affirmative statements written on cards. You can also draw images and choose colours associated with the affirmation. When an anxious thought intrudes, your child can look through the affirmation cards, say the affirmation out loud, and ground themselves in the present. Affirmation cards help get us in the “here and now” instead of staying stuck in anxious cycles in our heads. They can be placed in a desk, carried in a backpack or purse, or simply in pockets! Examples of affirmation statements are:

  • This too shall pass
  • Breathe calmly
  • The future is good
  • I am free
  • I am not in danger, just uncomfortable
  • I have control over my thoughts
  • Find gratitude for three things

Check out the example below!

A reminder for all art therapy exercises is that they do not have to be works of art. No one has to see the finished product, unless the child wishes to show it. The idea is for the child to produce a physical extension of what is going on in their body and mind to facilitate discussions with a trusted adult, and most importantly, to move in the direction of healing.

 

Work Cited:

Art Therapy Resources. (2020). Art therapy resources for anxiety. Retrieved from: https://arttherapyresources.com.au/therapy/anxiety-disorders/

 

Congratulations 2020 Graduates!

The TEA would like to wish a heartfelt congratulations to all 2020 graduates. We know this is not the environment in which you expected to graduate, but we are extremely proud of your accomplishments and look forward to watching you continue to grow into Nation Builders of the future.

Below is a list of graduates from our affiliate schools:

School Name Grade
Asiniw-Kisik Education Campus Albert, Brody K
Asapace, Alivia K
Blue Eyes-Dustyhorn, Laraya K
Crowe-Shephard, Delilah K
Desjarlais, Kayla K
Kahnapace, Aliah K
Asiniw-Kisik Education Campus Asapace, Ty 12
Desjarlais, April 12
Wakeenew, Alaiya 12
Worm, McKenna 12
Cheif Gabriel Cote Education Complex Benson-Severight, Kaycee K
Cote, Jamie K
Cote, Jewls K
Cote, Kaydence K
Cote-Shingoose, Carlyle K
Ironstand, Roderica K
Keewatin, Lane K
Nault, Edmond K
Peeteetuce, Icecius K
Poorman, Dakota K
Ross, Brooke K
Severight, Erik K
Shingoose, Olivia K
Straightnose, Jayse K
Tourangeau, Tendley K
Whitehawk, Bailey K
Whitehawk, Taveah K
Cheif Gabriel Cote Education Complex Chelsea Konowalchuk 12
Shylissa Quewezance 12
Nevada Friday 12
Teegan Cote 12
Muskowekwan School Desjarlais-Patenaude, Cassidy K
Hunter, Ella Blu K
Hunter, Ronin K
Manitopyes, Kassidy K
Moise-Albert, Sammy K
Oochoo, Christian K
Poorman, Kaelin K
Raphael-Gordon, Tyson K
Tiefenbach, Aevalynn K
Tom, Marcus K
Whitehawk-Patenaude, Olivia K
Windigo, Kaydence K
Windigo, Kendall K
Wolfe, Jaxon K
Wolfe, Tobias K
Muskowekwan School Campeau, Jeremiah 8
Desjarlais, Helena 8
Desjarlais, Jake 8
Hunter, Isabelle 8
Longman, Jayron 8
Longman, Lexus 8
McKay, Creelyn 8
Moise, Landon 8
Moise-Benjoe, Tremaine 8
Oochoo-Lalond, Kashton 8
Scott, Jerome 8
Severight, Koriona 8
Tony, Dylon 8
Tony, Melody 8
Whitequill-Wolfe, Gerald 8
Wolfe, Brett 8
Wolfe, Roderick 8
Wolfe, Somer 8
Wolfe, Tahreeah 8
Pheasant Rump School Petraeus McArthur K
Angelique Desjarlais K
Lucas McArthur K
Ronin Still K
Delaney Dolphin K
White Bear Education Complex Aubree Buffalo K
Logan Kaiswatum K
Dayvini Kakakaway K
Katayvah Lonechild Smith K
Kaiden Lonechild K
Olivia Lonethunder K
Luke Maxay K
Avery Standingready K
Shane Bigstone K
White Bear Education Complex Delorme, Sharissa 12
Graham, Daniel 12
Kinistino, Cassidy 12
Lonechild, Da-Yona 12
Redstar, Lara 12

Psychological First Aid For Schools: Listen, Connect & Protect Model

The American Psychiatric Association acknowledged in 1954 that there is a need to intervene when individuals experience stress caused by environmental reasons. Today, research supports the idea that immediate, concise, and focused intervention can decrease the social and emotional distress after a traumatic event. This is done by inaugurating the feelings of physical and emotional safety among children and adults. Therefore, this article will focus on summarizing the Psychological First Aid for Schools: Listen Protect Connect (LPC) Model and Teach.

Therefore, this article will focus on summarizing the Psychological First Aid for Schools: Listen Protect Connect (LPC) Model and Teach.
The LPC is a model to prompt and help focus on supporting and giving assistance to students by teachers. This five-step program includes procedures on how to communicate with children who have gone through a crisis, that interrupted their regular learning environment, such as death and school lockdowns. However, it is also directly relevant to the current COVID-10 pandemic which significantly disrupted the lives of children and adults around the world. These steps are based on a model of cognitive and behaviour learning, which teaches children how to put their experiences into words. It also provides them with support and encouragement by engaging in problem solving strategies, and towards the end students are taught about how traumatic stress can affect human behaviour.

 Step 1 – Listen

Molly of Denali (2020)

Teachers should allow their students to share their experiences and feelings of worry, anxiety, fear, or concerns about their safety. The teachers should establish rapport and a trust with the student by engaging in their interest and empathy. Students should also know it’s safe and okay to share their experiences. Here, the teachers can ask the following questions:

  • Tell me how you have been affected by the stay at home orders during the pandemic?
  • What is your schedule like from Monday through Friday?

Step 2 – Protect

Molly of Denali (2020)

The school staff should try to establish feelings of emotional and physical safety among their students. This can be done by offering information, such as what is being done in the community and the school to keep everyone safe. Here, the school staff can ask the following questions:

  • Are you worried about your safety or the safety of others?
  • What are you most worried about right now?

Step 3 – Connect

Molly of Denali (2020)

One of the biggest concern for people who have experienced trauma is the fear of emotional and social isolation. In this step, teachers help students to get back into their normal relationships in order to receive social support. This can be done via online learning environments which promote a sense of belonging and stability. Here, teachers can ask the following questions:

  • What can your friends or family do to help you?
  • What do you think you can do to make things better?

 

Step 4 – Model

Molly of Denali (2020) 

In this step, the teachers acknowledge the disruption to school and many other aspects of daily life. They also acknowledge the needs of students and others around them when they “get back to normal.” This means that teachers should demonstrate a positive and enthusiastic approach to a new normal by showing that they can effectively cope with the stress despite the fear or loss they’ve experienced. Here, they can say the following things:

  • Thank you for the courage you have shown throughout the process and for sharing your concerns with me.
  • Let’s brainstorm some of the ways other students and adults are coping.

Step 5 – Teach

Molly of Denali (2020)

In this step, teachers and psychologists focus on teaching common reactions to the emergency event or disaster. They discuss constructive ways of adapting and coping to new challenges and the change because students may have a more difficult time learning during or after a crisis. Here are the list of common reactions among children that may cause them new worries and distress:

  • Emotional reactions: increased worries and fears about health and safety
  • Behavioural reactions: decreased attention, changes in sleep, and mood
  • Cognitive reactions: repeated questions about the event & trauma reminders
  • Physical reactions: increase startle response, somatic complaints i.e., headaches, stomachaches, lack of appetite, tired

How to Engage Parents and Caregivers of Students of Concern (SOC)

Molly of Denali (2020)

Here are the list of questions that teachers can ask parents and caregivers of students during the COVID-19 pandemic:

  1. I have been thinking about [name the student] and wondering how you and/or your family are doing?
  2. How have you and your family been impacted by pandemic and all the shutdowns?
  3. So who is all home now?
  4. Has it been possible for [name the student] to find some time to do some schoolwork?

While asking these questions, teachers should focus on improving adult-to-adult relationships. The genuine connections you make with the parents and caregivers will lay the groundwork for your success with their child (student) as well. It is also important to understand who may be able to offer support to a student and who may have elevating family anxiety.Due to this, make sure you have such discussions with the parents. Use the final phase of your conversation to summarize everything you talked about. Remember, if you do have a difficult conversation with a family, consult with your supervisor, colleagues, Whole Child Wellness support team, and other teachers in order to decide the right course of action.

 

 

References:

Wong, M, (2020). Psychological First Aid (PFA) for Schools, Teachers, and Students. North American Center for Threat Assessment and Trauma Response. Retrieved from http://nactatr.com/files/2020NACTATR-PFA.pdf

Cameron, J.K., Wong, M., & Rivard, P.G. (2020). Appendix B- Guidelines: For Administrators in Support of their Teachers and Staff: How to Engage Parents and Caregivers of Students of Concern (SOC). North American Center for Threat Assessment and Trauma Response. Retrieved from http://nactatr.com/files/2020NACTATR-RCApxB.pdf

 

Confident Learners: Learn-to-Read

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Fun and easy activities designed for parents supporting student learning at home

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Job Opportunity: Middle Years Teacher

The White Bear First Nations is seeking one enthusiastic individual with a strong commitment for First Nations Education, to fill the position of Middle School Teacher.

To learn more about this exciting position please go to www.educationcanada.com to view the full job advertisement.

Search Employer: White Bear Education Complex

We thank all applicants for their interest, however only those selected for an interview will be contacted.

COVID-19 Bulletin to First Nations in Saskatchewan

As with any other communicable disease in First Nations communities in Saskatchewan, public health follow-up and management of COVID-19 cases and contacts is coordinated by Indigenous Services Canada for south and central First Nations communities and by the Northern Inter-tribal Health Authority (NITHA) for the northern First Nations communities.

Click here to view the full bulletin

TEA Oral Language Activities

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TEA’s comprehensive Oral Language activities!

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Math Activities

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Comprehensive Math activities!

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