Kids experience anxiety and worries just like the rest of us. As a clinical psychologist, I’m excited to have created a book series that gives children the tools required to help them build resilience through the story characters and practical strategies and exercises. This can all be done in ways that speak directly to them, in their own language, through the story characters and practical exercises that I’ve created in my Kids Hero Book Series.– Dr. Susan Hunt, Registered Psychologist
Interviewed by Lorrie Holmes
According to registered psychologist and children’s author, Dr. Susan Hunt, we know that trauma and stress can trickle down to families and children. Knowing this, Dr. Susan Hunt created a series of children’s storybooks and workbooks that address these issues in a child-friendly way. She explains to us that the goal of this series is to open up the lines of communication among families, and provide them with the skills they need to build resilience and overcome various struggles that they face. We have enjoyed reviewing the Kids Hero Book Series and agree that these stories and accompanying workbooks affectively open up the communication between children and parents to provide education about anxiety while helping to develop strategies and skills for children who experience worries. And now, in her own words, we are happy to share our recent interview with Dr. Susan Hunt.
Q & A WITH DR. SUSAN HUNT, REGISTERED PSYCHOLOGIST
KIDS NEWS & REViEWS: Thank you so much for sharing your Kids Hero Book Series with us. I really enjoyed reviewing this project and found it very valuable for both children and their families to share together. There are so many parts to this that open up communication and leave room for contemplation and development. Can you tell us, in your own words and as the creator of this beautiful program, where the inspiration came from to create this unique combination of storytelling and child psychology tools for children who experience worries or live in a first responder family.
DR. SUSAN HUNT: Of course! I guess it all started at home for me since I live in a first responder family and this is what inspired me to write the first storybook and workbook combination. The second book theme was written because I work with a lot of kids who suffer from anxiety and I saw the need to develop a storybook and workbook about anxiety that could act as a tool to help kids work through these emotions.
For the first storybook and workbook called A Hero Lives In My Family: A Story For Kids Of First Responders, parents who are first responders know how difficult it can be coming home at the end of their work day – where they could have experienced stress or even trauma – and then communicate to their children or spouse about why they may be acting or feeling a certain way. Both the storybook and workbook explain in child friendly words, the first responder’s job. This is done in a positive way, to help their children understand their job and the thoughts and feelings it can bring about.
KiDS NEWS & REViEWS: It sounds like you have a lot of professional and personal experience to draw upon in the, A Hero Lives In My Family storybook and workbook. Can you tell us more about this.
DR. SUSAN HUNT: In my clinical practice, one of my focuses is working with first responders and their families. I grew up in a first responder family. My mother and grandmother are retired nurses. My sister and sister-in-law are also both nurses. And my brother is a police officer. My aunts and uncles also work in law enforcement. My grandmother served in the Canadian Women’s Army, and my Great Uncle was a Flight Lieutenant in the Canadian Army. My mother-in-law is also a retired nurse and my father-in-law was a member of the RCMP. And, last but not least, my husband is also a police officer. In raising our own kids, I wanted them to understand the emotional demands of their dad’s job because as I work with police officers, paramedics, firefighters, nurses, and military members, this education and support is very much needed. A Hero Lives In My Family: A Story For Kids Of First Responders, along with The Heroic Families Workbook, are for kids and families of first responders and they provide families with story character examples that help in educating children about these roles and responsibilities and how they impact upon everyone.
KiDS NEWS & REViEWS: That’s amazing! As an early learning creative arts educator I have used the community helper theme many times in classrooms with young children. As I reviewed this combination of storybook and workbook, I also saw the value in using this theme in classrooms for teachers to share with their students who are learning about community helpers and just wanted to add this to your story and encourage teachers to check this out as well.
KIDS NEWS & REVIEWS: Next, I would like to talk about your second theme – The Worry Troopers, which is equally valuable to kids and their families and provides so many tools to actually move kids through their anxiety. As an adult, I personally love Cognitive Behavioural Therapy because I feel it provides explanations and examples for us to follow and make sense of. I also feel these are very valuable tools for kids, parents, and even teachers and anyone else who works with or supports kids in their development – both emotional and cognitive. Can you tell us more about this second theme and how it helps kids understand and manage anxiety.
DR. SUSAN HUNT: Yes, but first I would like to start by explaining that the goals of both book themes are to build resilience and to provide both children and their families with practical skills. The Worry Troopers Heroic Guide to Overcoming Anxiety: this is a skill-based, interactive workbook that teaches children with anxiety, various coping strategies to overcome their worries. This series is grounded in evidence-based Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) to help children learn fun and heroic skills to cope with anxiety while also learning positive thinking strategies. CBT is an evidence-based treatment strategy for anxiety. Using this approach, I was able to fill the workbook with strategies that can help kids overcome worries.
Children can have fun while learning heroic skills to cope with anxiety, along with positive thinking strategies.Dr. Susan Hunt
Dr. Susan Hunt is very gifted at weaving both storytelling and psychology into such deep subject matters, and we see that some pretty high profile families are amongst the recipients who are benefitting from using these titles!
MORE ABOUT DR. SUSAN HUNT
Dr. Susan Hunt is a registered psychologist who works with adults, children, teens, and families in her private practice at www.drsusanhunt.com. She conducts psychological assessments, works with individuals who are struggling with various mental health issues (e.g., Anxiety, PTSD, Depression, ADHD, ASD, Stress, Grief, etc.), and provides various therapeutic treatments/interventions (e.g., CBT, DBT, Family Systems Therapy, etc.). In addition, Dr. Hunt is an instructor at Douglas College. She teaches health and wellness courses for police officers, and is often quoted by local and national magazines for her expert advice and tips. In her private practice, she works with many first responders, their children, and families. You can also follow Dr. Susan Hunt on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.