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Date and Time
The ADAO 14-Week Anxiety, Panic, and Avoidance Behaviour Management program is a structured educational workshop, the focus of which is on providing participants with tools and information to assist them in managing their symptoms of anxiety.
Each week, following a check-in activity, facilitators will guide participants through a relaxation exercise. The focus of each session will be on information-sharing; however, the format will vary from week (e.g., group/individual activities, mini-lectures, role play exercises). Each session ends with a grounding exercise as well as a check-out activity. Facilitators are provided with session agendas, background reading material, presentation material, relaxation/grounding exercises, as well as participant handouts for each session. Each session is also supplemented with a gratitude journal exercise, resource-sharing, as well as a focus on connecting participants to the community.
During the first session, participants are introduced to anxiety, the different types, and its causes. Subsequent sessions focus on relaxation and related techniques; nutrition and physical exercise; mindfulness; and an introduction to the process of identifying and distinguishing between thoughts and feelings. Over the course of four weeks, participants are introduced to cognitive-behaviour theory and techniques (e.g., automatic thoughts, Socratic method, cognitive distortions, assumptions and core beliefs) as well as graduated exposure, introducing participants to both the theory behind these ideas as well as the tools used to manage related symptoms of anxiety.
Sessions are also dedicated to providing participants with information and strategies to manage feelings and emotions and two weeks of classes are dedicated to issues related to anger and assertiveness. The two final classes focus on anxiety and spirituality as well as a celebration of the progress made over the course of the 14-weeks.
Upon graduation from the program, the expectation is that participants have achieved short-term goals related to the reduction of anxiety symptoms (i.e., I'll pick up the groceries with my husband each week; I'll attend a social event twice a week). Further, the root causes of anxiety (i.e., anxiety-provoking thinking styles) have been explored and the process of self-management taught. Participants in the program are expected to develop:
Knowledge about anxiety conditions
An understanding of the impact of nutrition and stress on symptoms of anxiety
Self-management techniques including deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, and mindfulness techniques
An understanding of how automatic thoughts, unconscious rules / beliefs, and thinking styles contribute to anxiety
Effective communication skills
The ability to use graduated exposure to reduce symptoms of anxiety
Goal setting and follow-through
Positive coping strategies to replace negative coping strategies
Assertiveness skills (i.e., setting boundaries, constructive criticism)
Anger management techniques
An ability to cope with setbacks and plateaus
Participants are expected to have begun the process of re-integrating into previous activities (i.e., employment, school, social, family, and recreational). The program indirectly benefits the household members of the individuals who participate in the program, as they are often affected negatively by an anxiety sufferer's symptoms.
Participants are provided with a copy of "The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook, 4th Edition" (Edmund J. Bourne), a copy of "Mind Over Mood" (Christine Padesky with Dennis Greenberger) as well as a Participant manual, which is produced by ADAO. The manual contains additional reading material as well as an agenda and outline for each session.
Program cost, 4425; subsidized spaces are available