Psychology

Institute of Child Psychology conference to help give parents, teachers the “tools to actually create shifts” in stress for children, families – Halifax Examiner

Summary

Photo: Kelly Sikkema/Unsplash

Tania Johnson says navigating childhood during a pandemic can be tough, but adults like parents and teachers can help bolster resilience and psychological wellness when armed with the right tools.

Helping provide those tools is what she hopes to do this weekend. The Alberta-based registered psychologist and play therapist is co-founder of the Institute of Child Psychology. The organization is hos…….

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Photo: Kelly Sikkema/Unsplash

Tania Johnson says navigating childhood during a pandemic can be tough, but adults like parents and teachers can help bolster resilience and psychological wellness when armed with the right tools.

Helping provide those tools is what she hopes to do this weekend. The Alberta-based registered psychologist and play therapist is co-founder of the Institute of Child Psychology. The organization is hosting an online fall conference this weekend for parents, teachers, and other professionals. About 2,500 people are expected to participate.

“What we’re hoping is to empower the people in a child’s village with the tools to actually create shifts,” Johnson said in a recent interview.

“Instead of me being the therapist holding all of these tools, I believe that it’s the parents and the professionals who should have these tools and go, ‘Oh, I get to see this child every single day and I can be the agent of change for this child’s life’ because really all we need is one adult to change the course of a child’s life in terms of resiliency.”

Registered psychologist, play therapist and co-founder of the Institute of Child Psychology Tania Johnson. Photo: Contributed

This weekend’s conference includes keynote presentations and workshops led by a roster of professionals and world renowned speakers, including Dr. Gabor Maté, Dr. Daniel Siegel, Dr. Shefali Tsabary, Julia Cook, and Michael Ungar.

Topics that will be covered over the weekend range from navigating stress to trauma and depression to issues around screen time.

Johnson said mental health has frequently been cited as the second global pandemic, and she believes this to be true.

“I believe wholeheartedly that many, many, many of our children and our adults are going to continue to struggle. I think the biggest thing that we’re going to see is a build-up of stress,” she said.

“What we’ve been through are tiny traumas, but enough of those traumas, enough days at home, enough days of uncertainty, eventually those small ‘Ts’ we know add up to a big ‘T,’ a big trauma.”

That trauma, she said, needs to be processed, and it will take “a while” for many people. That’s why one of her key pieces of advice for parents is that if they’re struggling, deal with their own issues first before seeking therapy for their children.

“Generally, coverage for therapy is limited and therapy can be expensive so I always say to parents ‘If you only have a little bit of coverage, put the oxygen mask on yourself first before you put it on your child.’ Go for therapy first, work with your own stress,” Johnson said.

“If I see a child in my office once a week for play therapy, but they’re going home to a household that’s highly stressed, I’…….

Source: https://www.halifaxexaminer.ca/featured/institute-of-child-psychology-conference-to-help-give-parents-teachers-the-tools-to-actually-create-shifts-in-stress-for-children-families/