Making Sense of Anxiety: A New Approach

West Side Family Place
2819 West 11th Avenue
2 Thursday’s, November 17 & 24
$120 per person
Register by email –

Certificates will be provided for professional development hour
This course is based on developmental science and the relational approach of Gordon Neufeld.

Making Sense of Anxiety: A New Approach

As many as 20% of children and teens qualify for an anxiety disorder diagnosis, making it the most common mental health issue today. Anxiety can take many forms including obsessions, compulsions, phobias as well as other perplexing behaviours. We cannot treat something we do not understand, and making sense of anxiety is fundamental in making headway.

This presentation will bring a fresh and promising perspective to one of our most troubling human problems. The focus is on how we can help our children with anxiety however the insights will apply to all ages. It is based on the relational and developmental approach of Gordon Neufeld and is grounded in developmental science, neuroscience, attachment theory, and cultural tradition.

This presentation is designed for all those involved with children and youth: parents, teachers, helping professionals. Helping professionals will learn how to treat the anxiety of children effectively and without depending upon medication. Helping professionals also learn how to work through the parents in addressing the anxiety of their children. Teachers will gain insights about their own role in the anxiety problem and what they can do to reduce the anxiety of their students. Parents will learn how to address the roots of the issue and so reduce the symptoms and dysfunction of anxiety.


  • the anatomy and working model of the human alarm system
  • how to recognize anxiety in all its various manifestations
  • an updated and insight-based working definition of anxiety
  • how anxiety-based problems are related to agitation-based and attention problems and adrenalin-seeking behaviour
  • appropriate and inappropriate ways we alarm our children
  • the role of the prefrontal cortex in anxiety
  • the role of attachment in anxiety
  • why some children cannot see their dragons and treasures simultaneously
  • the three natural outcomes of alarm and how to foster them
  • seven common themes in our obsessions and compulsions
  • why we tend to feel anxious instead of alarmed
  • why what alarms us can also blind us to the source of alarm
  • the role of the brain’s limbic system in anxiety
  • how emotional and perceptual defenses lead to alarm-system dysfunction
  • how the alarm system is meant to work
  • why anxiety is increasing in our children
  • why alpha children tend to be much more anxious
  • why current discipline methods are alarming our children
  • why some children are conscientious, careful and concerned and others are reckless, careless and without fear
  • the relationship of courage and anxiety
  • effective ways of addressing the roots of anxiety without relying on medication
  • what parents can do to help their anxious children

Dr. Deborah MacNamara is the Director of Kid’s Best Bet, a Counselling and Family Resource Centre, is on Faculty at the Neufeld Institute, and the author of Rest, Play, Grow: Making Sense of Preschoolers (or anyone who acts like one).

Deborah presents, teaches, and writes on all facets of child and adolescent development based on the relational-developmental approach of Gordon Neufeld. She is in private practice where she offers counselling services to parents and professionals in making sense of learning, behavioural, and developmental issues in children and adolescents. Deborah is a dynamic teacher and experienced counsellor who takes developmental science and makes it come to life in the everyday context of home and classroom.

Deborah has over 20 years experience as a counsellor and teacher working in educational and community mental health settings. She writes for a number of newsletters, parenting magazines, blogs, and is interviewed for radio talk shows.

For more information please contact or (604) 802-1377.



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