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Anxiety Support

At Act to Connect we have a wealth of experience and expertise in helping your child or teenager with their anxiety.

Anxiety is highly treatable and there is so much hope for life changing improvement. Our approach has already helped countless children and young people in Northern Ireland transform their anxiety by empowering them to embrace curiosity, willingness, and flexibility. Together, we can help your child thrive despite anxiety and pave the way for a brighter future.

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Who we help

Whether your child or teenager is showing signs of struggling with school related anxiety, social anxiety, anxiety at times they need separate from you, or generalised anxiety across a range of settings and situations, we can help.

We also have unique experience and expertise in supporting children with ASD, communication delays and learning difficulties who need help with anxiety.  Many children who are autistic, or those experiencing autistic burnout, may not benefit from regular talk therapy and we need to understand the unique sensory needs and learning style of neurodivergent students, in order to be able to help them.  Our teams combined 60+ years working with Autistic children, and those with communication and learning difficulties, mean we are uniquely placed to support your anxious SEN child.

For parents whose children or teenager are not ready themselves to engage with therapy, research, and our personal clinical experience, has shown that receiving coaching in how to support you child, can be equally as successful as direct therapy in helping them with their anxiety, and to re-engage with the activities that bring them joy.

Our team of anxiety therapists provide in-person support to families across  in the greater Belfast area and anywhere in County Down from Newry, to Newcastle, to Newtownards.  Online support can be provided anywhere in Northern Ireland, the UK or Internationally. 

Take a look at our case studies to learn more about some children and young people who we have supported to overcome their anxiety and re-engage with their life.

If you would like to access support as a parent, visit our 'Parent Support' page for more information on individual and group support models.

In addition to the children and their carers whom we support, we also provide autism support services to other professionals working in the autism support field.

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Anxiety Therapy Options

We provide both in-person and online support. In-person services have the advantages of both modeling and hands on coaching. Online services can be a more discrete and convenient form of coaching and therapy for some. Our 1:1 model involve working closely with individuals and their families to develop personalised treatment plans that are tailored to their unique needs.

As well as our individualised, tailored 1:1 models you can choose from a range of group training and discovery sessions for general information and training aimed at parents and professionals who support children with anxiety

Our specialised support services for children and teenagers with anxiety and their families include:

Weekly Therapy for Anxiety

This option is designed to support children who are struggling with moderate levels of anxiety which is impacting their ability to engage with and enjoy every day activities as much as they once did.  Support focuses heavily on giving skills to the young person in individual therapy sessions along with when necessary, parent coaching in supportive parenting for anxious children. Our therapist typically meets with your loved one either in person or online once per week to work with them on learning to identify their strengths and the values that will support them as they learn to flexibly navigate their anxieties.  

Parent Coaching with SPACE

Our Parent Coaching model combines Acceptance and Commitment Training (ACT) and the SPACE (Supportive Parenting for Anxious Childhood Emotions). These are evidence-based therapies, uniquely suited for treating childhood anxiety, that teach parents how to support their child to grow in confidence and face their fears in a supportive and gentle manner. This model has been shown to be just as effective as direct child anxiety therapy in reducing symptoms. It is particularly helpful for children who are unwilling or unmotivated to participate in therapy or when a child is very young. 

Combined Intensive Therapy

This model is designed for children and young people whose anxiety has spread into all areas of their life and is therefore having a significant impact on the academic, social and psychological wellbeing of the young person and their family.  The number of sessions per week will be decided based on the outcome o the initial assessment but typically at least two sessions per week are recommended.  These can arranged in various ways in order to best support progress for the young person, for example the two sessions per may be with the young person themselves, or one session with the young person and one with their parent for consultation, or at times family sessions.  Therapy will combine a range of approaches shown to be highly effective in treating severe anxiety.

Training and Workshops

Our group Discovery and Enhanced Learning Sessions allow you, and/or your child, to meet, engage and learn with other individuals and families who are experiencing the challenges that living with anxiety brings.

The sessions will allow you to come to a clearer understanding of anxiety along with information and guidance on support strategies. Group support is particularly suited to those experiencing mild levels of anxiety.

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Frequently Asked Questions

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If your child is experiencing excessive worry, fear, avoidance, or physical symptoms related to anxiety that are interfering with their daily life and functioning, it may be a sign that therapy could be beneficial and you should consider speaking with a professional experienced with childhood anxiety.

There are several evidence-based behaviour therapies for anxiety such as Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and Exposure and Response Prevention which have been shown to help children face and overcome their fears and grow in confidence and reliance despite the challenges life brings. You can read more about these on the “our approach” page

The duration of treatment depends heavily on the individual as each child’s challenges can be vastly different.  Although there is not a fixed timeline, we ask families to prepare to commit to 12 weeks of therapy to see how their child is responding and give a chance for progress to be made.

Being actively involved as a parent will have a significant impact on your child's journey. It allows you to gain a deeper understanding of your child's values and goals, their strengths, and skills, and empowers you as a partner in your child's growth. Your contributions are invaluable in creating a tailored plan that will work for your child and your family.

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