Finding the Support You Need: Helping Teachers and Parents in the Midst of School Uncertainties
Updated: Nov 17, 2020
The Fall 2020 semester of school has been a challenging start for many families, and even more new experiences face teachers. With so many hybrid, in-person, and virtual schooling options, families and teachers are pushing themselves to make choices in areas they’ve not had to consider before.
These circumstances can bring about or aggravate feelings of anxiety, even if you typically don’t have a lot of anxious thoughts.
Foundations Counseling offers a variety of specializations among their many clinical counselors, helping with all kinds of concerns. We spoke with Elizabeth Wager, LPCC-S and registered play therapist. She points out that you don’t have to have a major, life-altering event in order to find support through counseling; in fact, you may benefit from seeking assistance before you are feeling severe anxiety.
“You don’t have to wait until you’re having panic attacks,” she points out. “I take a more preventative approach. If you feel yourself getting irritable and overwhelmed more days than not, seek someone for support.”
Wager spent 10 years working in various levels of schools as a school-based counselor, so she knows first-hand the ways that anxiety can emerge in school settings, even during normal years.
“Counseling offers you a different perspective and you learn tools you might not have thought about. We validate and normalize the feelings you’re having, and I believe that people have the potential to find healing.”
Parents or teachers may feel like they have to hide all their feelings from the children in their care, but Wager sees some benefits to showing children how we as adults work through difficult emotions.
“Kids look at adults as their models, and they may not see a lot of healthy coping sometimes, so they struggle. It’s okay for adults to be genuine and acknowledge healthy worry, disappointment, frustration, & how they are coping with it,” says Wager. “The more the adults can model stability, security, & other healthy traits, the more the children & students can feel more safe, secure, less anxiety & therefore able to focus on learning.”
Wager’s specialty in play therapy allows children and adults to express themselves through the act of play, whether it’s a game of chess or checkers or playing with stuffed animals or coloring a picture. These activities help people to relax and find the words for what they are thinking about.
“We incorporate therapy into the activities, and we’re finding that adults need more fun in their lives. They need something fun and creative,” Wager explains.
As teachers and parents approach this school year, Wager sees an opportunity to find ways to focus on positive elements of life even when uncertainty can tempt us toward negativity.
“I think of Star Wars, where they say fear leads to the dark side. When things feel out of control, we remember that we only control ourselves, and begin working on what is within our control. Circumstances rock our world, but they don’t have to rock who we are as people.”
Wager likes that Foundations Counseling works hard to match individuals with a therapist who can serve them, whether they’re looking for play therapy, more traditional counseling conversations, or a therapist with a specific specialty.
“I like that we have so much diversity in our team: males, females, older, younger, they all have different specialties and backgrounds,” she says.
Want to speak with someone about finding support for school-year-related anxiety? Reach out to Foundations Counseling today!