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The Wise Minds Project

The Wise Minds Project

Psychology is simple, says Tanya Moscrop Cantelo, not easy, but simple.

A clinical psychologist, former teacher and mother of two, Tanya has launched a new project here in Orange that aims to empower children with simple strategies to better deal with the stresses of life.

As part of her new venture, the Wise Minds Project, Tanya will be facilitating a series of workshops aimed at giving kids and their families evidence-based psychology skills that build resilience, develop positive thinking and will benefit them well into adulthood.

“I'm really hopeful and passionate about it. I've been working in private practice for over a decade with children, adolescents and families and I find there have been rising numbers of referrals,” said Tanya.

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“I'm seeing a rising clinical need, waiting lists are long and so I had this idea that kids don't need to wait until they are presenting with anxiety or depression or overwhelmed emotions. I realised that all kids can benefit from doing similar cognitive thinking skills and behavioural strategies.”

Tanya has seen just how effective these skills can be in her own children.

“I use them all day to day. I challenge my own thinking or say things out loud as a matter of course, but then I'll hear my eldest daughter say something calming or use positive thinking skills with her brother and realised these kids can do it, we just need to teach it to them,” she said.

“I'm really hopeful that if we can put these evidence-based, resilience building strategies into a proactive preventative space then we can see more happy kids and happy households.”

Taking the first steps into this new venture, Tanya will be running two workshops in the October school holidays period for primary aged children — an area she has seen a real need.

“The younger you start with these positive thinking skills, then, like anything with kids, it becomes part of their routine and the way they see the world,” she said.

“Friendships, starting school, changing schools, social media, building empathy and kindness, bullying — there are all these issues that children and adolescents are dealing with and parents are trying to deal with, so I'm hopeful I can help all of the above with some evidence-based strategies in positive thinking, in building empathy, building self-awareness around your own emotions, how to regulate emotions, how to effectively communicate behaviour, expected behaviours, why other people might react in certain ways… there are just so many cognitive and behavioural skills that kids could benefit from.”

While the Wise Minds Project workshop will obviously be effective for children presenting as anxious or with low mood, it is really those kids who might not have had contact with a psychologist before that Tanya is keen to target.

“It's also a place for kids to come in their holidays and meet other children and put into place friendship skills, empathy roleplaying, building confidence, we’ll look at lots of different areas,” said Tanya who is hoping to grow the Wise Minds Project workshops into a series covering different themes.

Group numbers are limited to a maximum of 20, although if the interest is there, Tanya may add extra workshop dates.

“After these workshops kids are going to walk away with skills that they are going to remember and use day-to-day,” said Tanya.

“I'm always saying to clients that the strategies that I teach kids, adults, are skills people will have for life that are going to set them up for life to deal with peers, teachers, employment — just day-to-day stresses.

“I think sometimes people think strategies that are powerful must be very difficult, they must be really complex, but they are not; they are really simple. It is just about learning them and putting thing into practice and having people to support you to put those into practice and they are just so far reaching. I'm excited about it!”

Tanya will be running two workshops this school holidays: Wise Minds (8-12 years girls) on 3 October, and Wise Minds (8-12 years boys) on 10 October. Both workshops will take place at CWA Hall in Robertson Park, 10am to 3pm. Cost is $165.

For more information or to book your place visit wisemindsproject.com or contact Tanya directly tanya@wisemindsproject.com

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