College Counseling and Coaching with Joann Elliott, M.Ed., LPC at College Counseling Tutoring in Kirkwood, MO

College Counseling and Coaching with Joann Elliott, M.Ed., LPC at College Counseling Tutoring in Kirkwood, MO

Deciding on your college and figuring out how to apply in the first place can be STRESSFUL.

It causes a bunch of anxiety in the many, many highschoolers and college-aged students I work with. And while I’ve written on How to Prepare Your Anxious Highschooler for College and Parenting Your Anxious College Student, sometimes you need really specific information and to do lists from someone who does more than just the emotional/stress management side of college. That’s where Joann comes in!

I’m so excited to share our interview below! Joann also has one book out and another on the way, helping to walk parents and teens through the whole college application process (links below).

Joann: I provide college counseling for teens who are trying to navigate the college admissions process. 

I work with helping them identify colleges and/or majors that may be a potential fit, brainstorming the essay, creating an activity list/resume, completing the Common App, organizational skills, help with scholarships, interviewing, talking about their fears and concerns, answering questions, and whatever else comes with the college process. 

Kelsey: Could you talk a little about your approach and how you modify it when working with teens who have anxiety/perfectionism/stress/anger management?

Joann: The interesting thing about what I do is that nearly everyone has stress about the college process, not just those with diagnoses.  It might be the idea of leaving home and the fear it invokes or it might be just being anxious about getting it all done and making a good decision.  For people who have anxiety or perfectionism issues, though, college counseling can be especially helpful because we can separate fact from fiction and ‘urban legend’. Knowledge is powerful and knowing when to ask for help is a sign of intelligence!  Being able to ask questions freely is a great help to reducing students’ stress. For the anxious student, breaking down the steps into manageable baby steps has proven very stress-relieving as well! Being able to talk in a safe environment away from the school day where students can voice their opinions, fears, and concerns reduces stress and anxiety.  They are in a place where they can be their true selves.  Meeting regularly can help keep the student on track and not get off-course further reducing stress.

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Summer Program Series: Radically Open DBT Intensive for Over-Controlled, Shy Teens in St. Louis with Dr. Kirsten Gilbert

Summer Program Series: Radically Open DBT Intensive for Over-Controlled, Shy Teens in St. Louis with Dr. Kirsten Gilbert

DBT Class With Licensed Clinical Psychologist Dr. Kirsten Gilbert

When your teen experiences stress, anxiety, and perfectionism, you want them to find the best options for help. One great resource in the St. Louis area is Kirsten Gilbert, PhD. Kirsten is leading a RO-DBT class this summer, starting June 17th.

What’s the story behind the program, and why do you like the work?

Radically Open Dialectical Behavior Therapy (RO DBT) is an evidenced based adaptation of standard DBT that targets 'over-controlled' personality. Although self-control is valued in our society and is helpful, too much self-control, in the form of over-control, can lead to a variety of problems that easily go unnoticed and are difficult to treat. Over-control is often characterized by inflexibility/rigidity, rule-governed and perfectionistic behaviors and over-controlled individuals are often shy, risk-averse, tend to suppress or hide emotions, don't like making mistakes and often feel socially awkward, anxious, or lonely. Over-control is a personality style that characterizes many disorders, including some forms of depression, anxiety, and anorexia nervosa.

I like this work because we help over-controlled teens relax rigid rules, be open to new situations and feedback, help them learn how to play more and how to socially connect with others.

In society today, teens have so much pressure to always be working harder, longer, and to be perfect, and RO DBT recognizes that some individuals are almost TOO good at this. These teens need to learn how to be flexible, interact socially, and learn how to make mistakes every once in a while.

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Summer Program Series: Leaps and Bounds Occupational, Speech, and Feeding Therapy Programs

Summer Program Series: Leaps and Bounds Occupational, Speech, and Feeding Therapy Programs

Spotlighting great programs in St. Louis:

This summer, Compassionate Counseling St. Louis is spotlighting summer programs that provide awesome services for anxious, angry kids and teens. This week we’re looking at Leaps and Bounds Occupational Therapy.

I’ve toured the Leaps and Bounds campus, and I love how they integrate OT to help kids managing their emotions. Read below for some great, interesting answers about their summer camp programs.

What supports do you provide for parents?

We offer occupational therapy, speech/ language therapy and feeding therapy. Our programming includes both individual and group options.  Therapy can focus on a variety of skills, but some of the areas that we address include: sensory processing, feeding, communication, literacy, attention, behaviors, motor skills, emotional regulation, executive function and social skills. We also provide home programs for parents to help facilitate progress during the course of therapy. 

We also offer summer camp options.

Our camp is much smaller in size than a typical summer camp and we can offer more supports to help kids be successful. We get excited each year to see kids create friendships and increase confidence in our summer camps.

How do you help kids who have behavioral issues?

​As licensed occupational therapists, it is our job to look at why the behavior is happening and figure out the best plan to manage it. Sometimes, the behavior is a result of poor sensory processing. In those situations, we would determine if we need to alter something in the environment to help the child or remove the stimulus.  We address behaviors differently depending on the reason they are occurring. Our goal is to help each child feel confident, comfortable and successful within the group.

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Dealing With a Panic Attack At School: Proven Strategies That Work

Dealing With a Panic Attack At School: Proven Strategies That Work

Nobody enjoys having a panic attack…

But they're particularly awful when they happen at school. On top of experiencing all of those physical symptoms - shortness of breath, tense muscles, pounding heart - you're worried about how other people will respond to you. 

One of the most helpful first steps is to find a calm area, alone, and go there.

This can be as simple as leaving to use the restroom and finding a stall to sit in - you can always let your teacher know you had to leave for the restroom, and few people will want any details if that's your excuse. 

In the moment, try to ground yourself.

I like to use the 5 Senses Scavenger Hunt - name one thing that you see, one thing that you hear, one thing that you smell, one thing that you can physically touch, and check in with how your mouth tastes. This helps bring you back into your body and the moment. 

Next, try focusing on slowing your breathing.

Try breathing in through your nose for

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Panic Attack Management: 5 Simple Steps

Panic Attack Management: 5 Simple Steps

Don’t judge yourself!

Many people report experiencing panic attacks about panic attacks. Of course it makes sense to wish that you didn’t have to experience them. Or to wish that you were different. But when we judge ourselves, we can make this an unhealthy cycle - the panic, the guilt about the panic, the panic about the guilt about the panic… it’s a panic cycle! So break the cycle, and be kind to yourself. And practice your steps, even before you need them.

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