Session 4


youth with anxiety through relationship

Developing insight

In Session 2 you saw a map of essential relational needs identified by Dr. Neufeld. All humans share these same relational needs—physical closeness, sameness, belonging, mattering, heart-felt love, and being understood—across the lifespan. When these needs are met, youth flourish; when they are not met, youth can become troubled and may develop distressing symptoms of anxiety.

Being able to recognize, read and respond to these needs should naturally lead you to an increased desire and ability to nourish your relationship with the youth you are caring for. As you begin to do this, their anxiety symptoms will become less troubling.

Take a few moments to reflect on the youth you are caring for and answer the following questions with them in mind. Does the youth in your care seek:

The answers to these questions will tell you a lot. A youth who is looking for these needs to be met by a caring, responsible and available adult is likely doing better than a youth who is not, or who is trying to meet their relational needs through their peers or social media. Regardless, identifying the ways a youth may be seeking relationship equips you with the insight you need to provide for needs that, if left unmet, will continue to fuel anxiety symptoms.

Helping to meet a youth’s relational needs

Once you have a better sense of who the youth in your care is and who they are most attached to, you can begin to meet some of their relational needs. Some ideas are listed below, but we encourage you to follow your intuition in creating the nourishing rituals that will meet the youth’s real relational needs and fit with your family. You know the youth best; trust yourself in providing what they need most for each of these needs:

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

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