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Treating Anxiety & Depression: Creative Strategies to Help Your Most Challenging Clients

February 6 – 10, 2023   |   9:00 am – 12:30 pm daily   |   USD$949 / CAD$1,234

Roy Kiessling - Interpersonal EMDR
Roy Kiessling - Interpersonal EMDR

About this workshop

Increase your toolbox of creative intervention strategies for treating clients with anxiety and depression.

Many clinicians encounter clients who have had long-term struggles with Generalized Anxiety, Social Anxiety, and/or Major Depression.

In this 5-day training, we will examine these diagnoses through the lens of hyper-arousal and hypo-arousal. This examination will provide both clinicians and clients a framework with which to understand the cognitive, emotional, somatic, and behavioral symptomatology that accompanies anxious or depressed experiences. We will also put clients in a psychosocial lens, processing the triggers that can occur intra-psychically, inter-personally, and environmentally. We will look at typical “resistances” that emerge when clients are asked to consider pharmacological intervention. And we will review “medication myths” that mental health and medical professionals can address to help overcome unnecessary or inaccurate fears. We will also discuss the impact that “medical Marijuana” has when used for treating anxiety and depression.

Participants will have many opportunities to explore non-pharmacological creative approaches to decreasing negative thoughts, feelings, and uncomfortable somatic experiences that can overwhelm depressed or anxious clients.

This training will also provide participants an opportunity to dramatically increase their toolbox of interventions by learning how to incorporate into their practice:

• breath work, Brain Gym, and other forms of exercise
• cognitive re-framing with writing prompts
• two-handed writing
• the therapeutic use of art prompts
• Aromatherapy
• solution-focused strategies
• Parts work from the IFS model
• positive self-talk, visualization, and guided imagery exercises
• soothing with the use of somatic resourcing

All these strategies can be used in conjunction with pharmacological treatment or as stand-alone interventions.

The creative techniques presented in this training will leave clinicians and clients alike feeling much more empowered and much less hopeless about treating anxiety, depression, and Affective Disorders.

Learning Objectives

  • Differentiate between hyper- and hypo-arousal and explain their connection to the “optimum window of arousal” as it pertains to treating anxiety and depression.
  • Explain the impact of intra-psychic, inter-personal, and environmental stressors and triggers on anxiety and depression.
  • Explain the advantage to verbally administering assessment tools for anxiety and depression and describe the non-verbal responses in clients that should be included in these assessments.
  • Describe at least three “medication myths” that clients may have regarding anti-depressants and implement responses designed to correct inaccurate information.
  • Explain the current research on “medical marijuana” and the limitations it has in treating anxiety and depression.
  • Distinguish between “response” and “remission” when anti-depressants are used and explain why remission is the desired goal for treatment.
  • Explain the impact that sleep deprivation has on exacerbating depression and anxiety.
  • Describe and implement at least two breathwork strategies to address either hyper- or hypo-arousal.
  • Implement two exercises from Brain Gym designed to either calm down hyper-arousal or activate hypo-arousal.

  • Implement writing, art, and body work techniques to move clients away from “what if” thinking.
  • Describe how Emotional Freedom Techniques can be used to calm the amygdala and reduce anxiety.
  • Implement drawing prompts to help discharge anxiety or increase self-confidence, hope and competence.
  • Describe visualizations to help clients address anxiety with “floating” or increase feelings of competence.
  • Explain how two-handed writing can strengthen self-compassion.
  • Identify and implement at least three strategies that incorporate somatic resourcing and Power Poses.
  • Identify at least two solution-focused strategies to treat depression.
  • Explain the role that “Parts Work” in the Internal Family Systems model can play in treating anxiety or depression.
  • Implement a strategy to decrease a negative self-monologue and increase more compassionate and positive self-talk.

CE Credits

This workshop is approved for 16.25 CE hours by Praxis Continuing Education and Training.

Already registered for this workshop?

Highlights from Lisa's October 26 virtual Q&A

Additional Workshop Details

Target Audience:
Marriage and Family Therapists, Clinical and Counseling Psychologists, Psychiatric Social Workers, Pastoral Counselors, Psychotherapists, Psychiatrists, Physicians, Nurse Practitioners, Occupational Therapists, Counselors, Graduate Students in Accredited Programs in these fields

What level of knowledge should the attendee have in this topic?

Daily Workshop Agenda

Time Frame Content (Topics)
9:00 am – 10:30 am Understanding the window of tolerance
Putting clients in a psychosocial context and processing the triggers of anxiety and depression
The art of administering questionnaires for assessment: PhQ-9 and Zung
Working collaboratively with physicians
10:30 am – 10:45 am Morning break
10:45 am – 12:30 pm Identifying and addressing medication concerns and myths
Understanding the impact of medical marijuana
Response vs, Remission in the treatment of depression
9:00 am – 10:30 am Exploring Non-pharmacological treatment approaches
Understanding the Impact of Sleep Hygiene on Depression and Anxiety
Experiential – Addressing Hyper-Arousal with soothing Breath work
Experiential – Using the meditative aspects of Brain Gym to address anxiety
Experiential – The Crossroad of a thought: What if vs. What is
10:30 am – 10:45 am Morning break
10:45 am – 12:30 pm Incorporating aromatherapy
Experiential – Working with EFT to dial down anxiety
Experiential – The Scribble: Using art therapeutically to discharge anxiety
9:00 am – 10:30 am Experiential – Using visualization and guided imagery to “float” with anxiety
Experiential – Two-handed writing: Bringing compassion and comfort to an anxious part
10:30 am – 10:45 am Morning break
10:45 am – 12:30 pm Experiential – Using Somatic resourcing strategies to soothe hyper-arousal
9:00 am – 10:30 am Experiential – Addressing hypo-arousal with Breathwork
Using “Power Poses” to increase confidence
Experiential – A 4-step approach to installing positive affirmations
Experiential – Writing prompt to promote joy
Experiential – Four Quadrant Art Prompt to access self-esteem
10:30 am – 10:45 am Morning break
10:45 am – 12:30 pm The Impact of exercise on depressed mood
Experiential – Brain Gym
Experiential – Visualization and Writing Prompt: Meeting challenges head-on
9:00 am – 10:30 am Experiential – Gratitude Walk and journaling
Solution-focused strategies for depression
Using IFS “Parts Work” to soothe depressed parts
10:30 am – 10:45 am Morning break
10:45 am – 12:30 pm Experiential – Art Prompt: Crystal Ball for future self-orientation
Processing and challenging the Inner Monologue of Depression
Additional strategies for self-soothing, control, empowerment, and support

*Breaks not applicable for CEs.

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