8-Week Anxiety Management Group For Young People

Home / 8-Week Anxiety Management Group For Young People

Facilitated by Margot Heurtematte and Jenny Draisey

Child and Adolescent Clinical Psychologists

Margot Heurtematte

Margot Heurtematte

Clinical Psychologist
Margot is a Clinical Psychologist, French-qualified, who works with children, young people, adults, parents, and families. She specialises in offering individual and group psychological therapy to people struggling with difficulties associated with trauma, attachment, anxiety, depression, emotional dysregulation, parenting, and neurodivergence (ASD and ADHD). Based in Guildford (Surrey), she offers a compassionate and collaborative therapeutic space to guide her clients towards healing, self-exploration, and a more fulfilling life.
Dr Jenny Draisey

Dr Jenny Draisey

Clinical Psychologist
Dr Jenny Draisey is a Clinical Psychologist based around Guildford, Surrey who works with children and young people (aged 5-18) and their families. She specialises in assessing and treating young people presenting with a range of mental health difficulties specifically anxiety disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder, depression sleep difficulties, and anger and oppositional difficulties. Jenny believes that young people’s mental health difficulties require a holistic and systemic approach. This approach analyses and treats not only the person themselves but the system and environment that surrounds that person.
When?Where?
Tues 23rd April to Tues 25th June 2024The Guildford Institute
10:00am to 11:30amWard St, Guildford GU1 4LH

Anxiety is a universal emotion experienced at some point by people of all ages, from infants to the elderly. This emotion, deeply rooted in our evolutionary past, is a natural, healthy and common response to perceived threats or stressful situations, and it plays a critical role in human survival by triggering alertness and preparing the body to respond to danger.

Our ancestors, when confronted with imminent threats such as a predatory animal, had three instinctual responses (commonly known as the freeze-flight-fight response): freeze, hide or “play dead”; run as quickly as possible; fight or act aggressively. Modern threats, unlike the clear and immediate dangers our ancestors faced, are often psychological and social in nature, yet they trigger the same primal fight-or-flight response.

On a daily basis, healthy doses of anxiety motivate us to take action, such as preparing us for a challenging task, meeting deadlines, avoiding dangerous situations, or being cautious in unfamiliar environments. For instance, a moderate amount of anxiety about an upcoming exam can encourage a student to study in advance, leading to better preparation and performance.

However, when anxiety becomes excessive and persistent, or is triggered too easily, it can interfere with daily functioning. Instead of serving as a motivator, it can paralyse decision-making, reduce productivity, and lead to avoidance behaviours. Chronic anxiety can also have physical health implications, including sleep disturbances, muscle tension and pain, cardiovascular and gastrointestinal issues, and a weakened immune system.

Recent studies indicate that anxiety disorders are among the most common mental health conditions affecting young people today. Research suggests that approximately 1 in 3 adolescents aged 13 to 18 will experience an anxiety disorder at some point in their lives.

The bio-psycho-social model provides a comprehensive framework for understanding anxiety disorders, emphasising the interplay of biological factors (such as genetics and neurobiology), psychological influences (including cognitive patterns and emotional regulation), and social elements (like family dynamics, peer relationships, and digital media exposure). This holistic approach underscores the importance of addressing the multifaceted nature of anxiety through integrated treatment strategies that consider an individual’s unique biological vulnerabilities, mental processes, and social context.

This is where our 8-week Anxiety Management Group for Young People comes in. Our program is designed to help participants understand their anxiety, recognise its triggers, and develop evidence-based coping strategies to manage it effectively.

Over the course of eight weeks, we will explore a variety of topics and techniques, including:

 

 

 

We will start by discussing what anxiety is, how it affects the body and mind, and why it can become problematic.

Understanding the evolutionary basis of anxiety will help demystify this emotion and reduce the stigma around discussing it.

Participants will be encouraged to set personal goals for managing their anxiety.

These goals will be revisited throughout the program to track progress and make adjustments as needed.

 

 

 

This week, we’ll examine the vicious cycle of anxiety using Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) methodologies.

We’ll explore how negative thoughts, feelings, physical sensations, biological factors and behaviours interact to maintain anxiety.

Participants will learn to recognise these patterns in their own experiences, breaking the cycle through targeted CBT techniques.

 

 

 

This week, we’ll explore how thoughts, beliefs, and behaviours influence feelings of anxiety and we will teach practical techniques to modify these patterns.

Techniques such as cognitive restructuring will help participants challenge and adapt negative thought patterns, while the worry tree and worry time will offer tools for managing anxious thoughts in a structured manner.

Emphasis will also be placed on the acceptance of uncertainty and the practice of letting go; strategies essential for reducing the hold that anxiety has on daily life.

 

 

 

 In week 4, we’ll explore how avoidance, safety behaviours, and rituals contribute to the maintenance of anxiety.

Participants will learn about behavioural experiments as a method to test and challenge their anxious predictions.

Additionally, we’ll introduce exposure therapy as a method to gradually and safely confront feared situations, reducing anxiety over time. 

 

 

 

This week, we will delve into relaxation and mindfulness techniques as effective tools for managing anxiety.

Participants will be introduced to a variety of calming strategies, including deep breathing exercises, progressive muscle relaxation, and mindfulness practices.

These methods aim to calm the mind and body, reducing the physiological and psychological symptoms of anxiety.

Participants will have the opportunity to practise these strategies in a supportive environment and learn how to apply them in their daily lives.

 

 

 

Physical health significantly impacts mental health.

Our program will cover the importance of sleep, exercise, and nutrition in managing anxiety.

We will also focus on digital wellness, addressing the impact of technology and social media on anxiety.

Participants will explore the relationship between screen time and mental health, learning strategies to establish a healthier digital life balance. 

 

 

 

Resilience is key to managing anxiety.

We will focus on building self-esteem, fostering a positive self-image, and developing problem-solving skills.

These elements are crucial for young people to feel empowered in the face of anxiety.

 

 

 

As the program concludes, we will focus on preparing participants for the future.

This includes discussing how to continue practising the skills learned during the program and how to access further support if needed.

 

Our group sessions will be interactive, combining education with practical exercises. Participants will have the opportunity to share their experiences and learn from each other in a safe and supportive environment, creating a sense of community and belonging particularly valuable for young people. By the end of the 8-week program, our aim is for young people to have a toolkit of strategies to manage their anxiety, hopefully enabling them to lead more confident and fulfilling lives.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is the purpose of the youth anxiety group?

    The youth anxiety management group aims to provide a supportive environment where young people can learn effective strategies for coping with and managing anxiety.

  • What will the group involve?

    The anxiety group is a skills-based group and will involve discussions, interactive activities, and skill-building exercises focused on various aspects of anxiety management. More specifically, the group will involve goal setting, the development of coping strategies, relaxation techniques, and mindfulness practices. A simple exercise or home task will be set after each session, but these will be minimal and opportunities to complete any unfinished home tasks will be given at the start of each group session.

  • Who is the group designed for/who can attend?

    The group is open to young people who are experiencing anxiety or stress and are looking for support and guidance in managing their symptoms. Each anxiety group will be available to young people only and we will be running a range of groups for different age ranges each year (e.g. one group for ages 7-10, one group for ages 11-14, and one group for ages 15-18). We will also be offering a range of parent packages to go alongside each group, including parent workshops, parent support groups or individual parent sessions. 

    We have expertise in neurodiversity and will be organising groups specifically tailored for young people with autism spectrum conditions and ADHD. These groups aim to help participants understand and manage the unique challenges they face with anxiety and stress. We will announce the dates for these groups shortly.

  • What is the date, time and location of the group?

    The group will meet every Tuesday for 8 weeks during each school term, in the warm and comfortable library room at the Guildford Institute (Ward St, Guildford GU1 4LH), which is a short walk from both Guildford High Street and Brighter Spaces. This central location ensures easy access for students from Guildford’s schools. Each session will last 90 minutes. Please note, there will be no session during half-terms or bank holidays. 

  • How do people get referred to, or register for, the group?

    We collaborate with local schools and GPs who may refer you to our therapy group, with your consent. You can also reach out to us directly via email and we will send you a self-referral form and questionnaires to complete online. 

    Our youth anxiety management group is designed to provide a caring environment that addresses various forms of anxiety. However, we recognise that group settings may not be suitable for everyone due to individual circumstances or specific anxiety issues (such as severe symptoms or discomfort in social situations). 

    To ensure our group is the right fit for you, we conduct a 60-minute initial assessment with each young person and their parents/guardians. This assessment is charged separately, and you can find more details below. 

  • How much does the group cost?

    An initial individual assessment helps us decide whether joining our youth anxiety management group is the right step for you. This 60-minute session is charged £110 and includes personalised verbal support recommendations and signposting if required. Assessment reports can also be requested for an additional fee.  

    The cost for participating in our 8-week youth anxiety management group is £600. This fee is payable in full, either by cash or bank transfer, no later than 72 hours before the group starts.

  • How many people usually attend each group?

    The group size is typically between 6-8 participants

  • Is the group open or closed?

    Once we have identified the participants for the group, this group will then be closed for the duration of the 8-week programme.

  • Who runs the group?

    The group is run by two child and adolescent Clinical Psychologists, both of whom are experienced mental health professionals who specialise in working with young people and have expertise in anxiety management techniques.

  • What should parents and guardians do for the duration of the group?

    Due to our safeguarding policies, a parent/guardian must remain on site for the duration of the group, in case a participant decides to leave the group halfway through and needs to be looked after. There is a café on site for parents to use

  • What can I do if I want to leave a group halfway through?

    If you or someone else feels unsafe at one of our anxiety groups, please let one of the facilitators know and we will escort you to your parent or guardian on site.

  • What do I do if I no longer want to attend the group?

    Once you have registered and consented to attend the group, we are unable to offer any refunds if you/your young person decides to no longer attend the group. All participants are therefore required to confirm that they have read and understood the Terms and Conditions as part of the registration process. This is because the group is closed, and we would be unable to offer the space to anyone else. In this instance. If you/your young person is unable to attend a group session due to illness or injury, then the facilitators will make every effort to catch you/them up with anything that they have missed at the beginning of the next session.

  • Do you have any drinks or snacks?

    Most of our groups do not offer refreshments. However, there is a café on site to purchase food or drinks either before or after the group, and participants are welcome to bring a drink with them.

  • Can I bring sensory or fidget items to the group?

    You are most welcome to use fidgets or sensory items to our groups, with the proviso that these do not cause a distraction to other group members. If your item makes noise or involves movement or lights, this may be distracting or overwhelming for others in the group. The Group Leader may ask you to deactivate the sound/light function on sensory items (if possible), or to move the item out of view. If you do bring any fidget or sensory items, please ensure that you do so safely, and that you are considerate of the sensory profiles of others in the group.

  • Is the group confidential?

    The group is designed to be a safe space, and so therefore yes, confidentiality is a priority in the group. What is shared within the group stays within the group, unless there is a concern for the safety and well-being of a participant or others. Therefore, only information agreed upon by the participants will be shared with parents and guardians. As always, any requirements to share information due to safeguarding concerns will be dealt with on a case-by-case basis, and any breaks in confidentiality will be done in the participants best interests and will be thought through thoroughly and sensitively.   

  • What happens after the group programme has finished?

    Young people and their parents/guardians are welcome to book an appointment with one of the clinical psychologists facilitating the group for a de-brief and to discuss any next steps or further support that may be needed. Please note, the facilitators may not be able to provide that further support due to their limited availability, but they will do their best to signpost families to the relevant additional local services.

  • How can I make sure I get updated information about what anxiety groups are coming up?

    If you would like to receive emails from us about our groups, programs, and events relevant to you, please add your name and email address to our mailing list and we’ll include you in future emails.

  • I still have questions. Who can I contact?

    If you have questions or would like further information, please contact us on: 

    Jenny Draisey: jen@drjen-psychology.co.uk, or 

    Margot Heurtematte: margot.heurtematte@gmail.com

    Please note that our email inbox is not monitored outside business hours.