Episode 25 | SPACE Group: Help Parents Out of the Black Hole of Teen Anxiety

anxiety online parents teens Oct 14, 2021

The Group Work Podcast. Find out what happens in the space where group therapy takes place.

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Jen Moyer, who runs a SPACE group, joins Katie to discuss how to support parents who have teenagers that suffer from anxiety. For these parents, life is probably tighter and more complicated than it needs to be. They may be overprotective and exert too much effort trying to support their teens. Jen and Katie discuss how parents can live more abundant and peaceful lives by finding new ways to support their anxious children.

As therapists, we have resources in our toolboxes to support parents whose kids struggle with anxiety. The SPACE (Supportive Parenting for Anxious Childhood Emotions) program is one of these useful resources. 

Jen Moyer is a Licensed Professional Counselor who is certified in Exposure and Response Prevention Therapy through the Center for the Treatment and Study of Anxiety at University of Pennsylvania.  

Tune in to learn about the SPACE group and how to teach parents to reframe what it means to support a child with anxiety.


[00:00] Who is Jen Moyer (Space Group)? 

[03:49] A great program for parents with kids who struggle with anxiety (Space Program).  

[05:15] Does your parenting style suggest that your child might have anxiety?

[07:47] Who is the Space Group for and who is NOT for?

[10:18] Should parents validate their child’s emotions when they’re feeling anxious?

[12:19] Setting boundaries for parents around their teen’s anxiety.

[14:22] How many teens naturally have anxiety? (A statistic)

[15:04] How parents feel after 12 weeks of the Space program. 

[16:00] A new definition of what it means for parents to support their teens. 

[17:35] Tell your parent clients to STOP doing these things for their teens who struggle with anxiety. 

[19:08] Challenges that parents in the Space group face. 

[22:42] Does the Space group require intake from parents? 

[23:44] Top tips for therapists who want to run a space group. 

[25:46] How important is exposure therapy for PARENTS (rather than their teens). 

3 Key Takeaways 

  1. Parents may find themselves ‘coping for their child’, which is a sign that their child probably struggles with anxiety. Teaching parents to set boundaries around their teen’s anxiety (rather than around their teens) can go a long way. 
  2. When a teenager is struggling with anxiety, parents do not have to choose between only validating their child’s feelings or telling them to toughen up. Rather, parents can learn to mix validation skills with confidence that their teens can handle their anxiety.
  3. Parents might feel guilt or shame when their therapist shows them a new way of doing things. Try to reassure parents that they can now support their child in a new way that may be better for them in the long run. 

Tools & Resources

What is SPACE treatment (Supportive Parenting for Anxious Childhood Emotions)

Connect with Jen Moyer: Work With Jen

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