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The Book: Anxiety and the Gift of Imagination | Robin Alter

The Book: Anxiety and the Gift of Imagination

I spent many years trying to follow the standards of best practice in the field of child/clinical psychology, which recommends using Cognitive Behavioral Therapy with kids. I talked to kids about the thoughts they were having in their heads and encouraged them to change those thoughts, which only resulted in a lot of blank stares or unruly behavior. I then began to use all the knowledge I had accumulated over the years about how children actually think, which is very different from an adult’s thinking, and applied it to helping children with their anxiety. That’s when everything seemed to fall into place and kids began leaving my office transformed. They weren’t leaving a little bit better; they were leaving different— with their heads held high, smiles on their faces, bursting with positive self-esteem and pride. They left with a new understanding of themselves and tools to tackle their wild and crazy imaginations when they spun out of control. After witnessing this extraordinary success with many young clients, I felt compelled to write this book and make this material available to more parents and children than I could ever see individually in my office.

Praise for Anxiety and the Gift of Imagination:

“Very readable and accessible. Concerned parents are likely to find it both reassuring and filled with practical advice.”

—Paul Harris, Prof in Psychology, Harvard University


“There is something for everyone in this book. There are chapters written exclusively for children, which will leave them feeling proud of their exceptional imaginational abilities, along with tools to better direct them. There are creative strategies for parents and therapists, (even seasoned ones like myself), who work with anxious children.

With this book Alter has made an important contribution to the literature on childhood anxiety and treatment and has added something valuable to our collective ‘tool boxes.'”

—Dr. Debby Zweig, Psychologist, Child and Adolescent Anxiety Clinic, York Central Hospital


“Dr. Alter shines a light on a common problem and offers practical and useful information that can liberate children and their parents from the restrictive world of anxiety and stress. She turns upside down what may have been debilitating and offers a kaleidoscope of possibilities that help children lead more fulfilling lives. An important breakthrough in how we understand and assist children with anxiety!”

—Sylvia Pivko, MSW, RSW, Executive Director Blue Hills Child and Family Centre


“As a psychotherapist who works only with adults I wanted to commend Dr. Alter for her excellent book. Not only is her format and message accessible, helpful and respectful to parents and their children who struggle with anxiety, but her theory and the tools she provides has a wider application for all adults who may, at times, be held captive by their imaginations. Dr. Alter has a calm and understanding manner that comes through in her writing. She makes the managing of a vivid imagination fun and de-stressing.”

—K. Chiotti