Session 3


the youth’s identity, experiences and family traditions

Looking beyond the symptoms to understand the youth in your care

Anxious youth have unmet needs. They must feel safe in relationship with you in order for those alarm bells to quiet down. So where do you begin when faced with confusing symptoms that don’t make sense in the here and now? After all, you decided to become a caregiver because you wanted to provide care, right? Ultimately, this is easier said than done, since anxiety can appear as resistance to receiving the very care that you so deeply want to provide.

Resistance, aggression, oppositionality, excessive worry, and adherence to rigid, ritualized ways of doing things—especially around food, self-isolation and even self-harm—are just a few of the symptoms of an overactive alarm system that can be confusing and overwhelming for both caregivers and youth.

The first and most important thing you can do in caring for anxious youth is to honour them exactly the way they are. Focus on understanding them from the inside out and as an extension of their people, culture and traditions. You can begin by reflecting on the following questions:

You may not be able to answer these questions easily; they are meant to lead you into yearning to better know the youth in your care.

'It's your path but you don't have to walk it alone.'

Scroll to Top
Scroll to Top