Tag Archives: education

BOOK COVER

PSYCHOTHERAPIST, HOLISTIC NUTRITIONIST & NOW AUTHOR, KRISTINA VIRRO HELPS PARENTS & TEACHERS TACKLE TEEN STRESS

With rates of anxiety hitting catastrophic numbers among today’s youth, the question begs to be asked: “why are teens so darn anxious in the first place and what can we do to help?”  Relying on her firsthand experience giving hundreds of hours of therapy to teens, parents and families, author KRISTINA VIRRO takes a deeper look into this unsettling phenomenon to locate some of its root causes and possible solutions in her first book, THE ANXIOUS TEEN.

I recently spoke with Kristina and asked about her background and then about the inspiration for this book which offers valuable advice for parents, teachers and grand-parents and the teens in their lives.

As a psychotherapist and holistic nutritionist, I look at how the different parts of your life shape who you are, from your innermost beliefs about yourself to your eating and exercise habits.  I prioritize being transparent, non-judgmental, and supportive, while also challenging some of the seemingly automatic beliefs and thoughts you may have that prevent you from meeting your goals. I also pride myself on being open-minded and anti-oppressive in my work.   Models of therapy I am trained in and have been inspired by include: Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Solution Focused Therapy, Narrative Therapy, Emotionally Focused Therapy, and Trauma-Informed Care. – Kristina Virro.KRISTINA

What inspired this book focusing on teen stresses and anxieties and how parents/teachers can support or resolve these issues?  A main component of my master’s program involved being a full-time therapist intern who worked with individuals, couples and families in the community. It became clear very quickly that practically every single teenager and university student was struggling with anxiety. On top of that, the university I was studying at witnessed a shocking number of suicides among its undergraduate students that year. I couldn’t help but wonder why these teenagers’ concerns seemingly hadn’t been addressed before coming to university, and I was curious about how I could help parents, teachers and mentors take a more preventative approach to their teenagers’ mental health.th (4)

How was your own life – did you experience any major anxieties and if so, how did you deal with them?  I had taken a very organized, methodical approach to academia when I was younger: everything was planned out perfectly and by the age of 22 I’d completed my first master’s degree in journalism. After a few years in field though, I realized it wasn’t the best fit and I had to do a bit of soul searching. That’s when I experienced a crippling amount of anxiety. I’d gone from being someone who was “ahead of the game” with their entire life planned out to someone who didn’t know their purpose while their friends were working their way up in the real world. It was really, really hard. I dealt with it by seeing an amazing therapist who helped me get to know myself better and develop my resilience. IMG_2587 (1)

You have a background in various therapies, can you tell us how this expertise aided the creation of this book?  I gained so much insight about anxiety through providing family therapy to different people. Meeting with teenagers alone is one thing; you can discuss different strategies, coping mechanisms and other tools, but when you meet with the whole family, you can see pretty quickly how different dynamics might be contributing to the anxiety. What’s useful, though, is that from there you can see how everyone can be part of the solution as well.

What are a few of the signs that parents, teachers or mentors need to heed as potential ticking time-bombs when dealing with a “moody teen”?  Firstly, it’s important to be able to differentiate between when a teen is being moody versus showing symptoms of a legitimate mental health disorder. Everyone gets moody sometimes, but mental health disorders tend to change a person in more drastic ways such as affecting their eating habits, discouraging them from partaking in activities they once enjoyed, or isolating themselves. You can also learn a lot by just listening to how teenagers talk about themselves or life in general. Do they frequently put themselves down? Are they constantly worrying about the future? Are they unable to highlight any of their strengths? These could all be signs that an anxiety disorder is at play.th (2)

What do you hope readers gain by the time they turn the last page of your book?  I hope readers will realize that decreasing rates of anxiety in teens isn’t just a “teenage issue.” I’ve seen so many parents bring their kids to therapy in the hopes that I’ll “fix them,” when in reality, there are so many cultural, familial and generational factors that influence why teens are so anxious today. But parents, schools, friends and more can all contribute to helping teens feel more supported, too. I hope readers will be reminded that we all need to work together on this.

Any advice or assurances you can give readers that their “kids are alright”?  When a kid is struggling, it’s easy to become so consumed by the problem that we forget about their strengths. But the truth is teens are very resilient, malleable, resourceful individuals, which makes working with them very rewarding. They teach me so much and possess so many qualities that allow change to happen, and we need to remember to harness these.

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So whether you’re a worried parent or frustrated teacher, this book provides practical tips and useful tools designed to reduce symptoms of anxiety in teens and increase caregivers’ abilities to cope, too.

The eBook is available now via Amazon & iBooks for $9.99 or $20 for hard copy [ISBN #978-1-9994279] (see weblink below for book  purchase) and Kristina will be presenting several book signings and workshops across the GTA in the fall so watch for announcements here on this blog or via her website or social media.

www.fresh-insight.ca/shop-1

www.facebook.com/TheAnxiousTeen  

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ORT TORONTO GALA CELEBRATES ONGOING INT’L EDUCATION WORK + HONOURS CONTRIBUTIONS TO ART WORLD

Last night, ORT Toronto hosted its annual fundraising gala “Unfinished Business of the 20th Century – Restitution of Looted Art” at the Design Exchange in Toronto with a dinner and dessert reception plus a silent art auction. Thanks to my friend and PR colleague, Danielle Iversen who publicized the gala, I was invited to attend and help celebrate this year’s Honourees including Paul E. Bain (pictured below) partner at Dickinson Wright LLP, who was honoured for his work protecting artists’ rights and his dedication to several not-for-profit art organizations.20151018_212655…as well as Honourees for the ORT Recognition AwardJanis & Kenny Finkelstein, for their many years of dedication and support to the organization (below).20151018_195434Then the evening’s MC, Michael B. Miller (below) introduced the Keynote Speaker for this year’s gala…..20151018_194232….Donald S. Burris, one of the men behind the “Woman in Gold” case where a Nazi-appropriated Gustav Klimt masterpiece was returned to its rightful owner decades after the theft. Mr. Burris is a senior partner in the L.A. firm Burris, Schoenberg & Walden LLP, and he spoke about that case (recently told in the Helen Mirren/Ryan Reynolds feature film “The Woman in Gold”) and his pursuit of other art works stolen by the Nazis in World War II.  Talk about a fascinating presentation and what a riveting brush with history I experienced.

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20151018_205126Mr. Burris spoke at great length about the numerous trials, the international legal wrangling and ultimate triumph that brought the Klimt portrait of Ms. Altmann’s aunt back to the family, as well as comments regarding the other recent movie “The Monuments Men” which sadly did not tell the full true story of the Allies’ attempt to rescue and protect the greatest artworks in Europe’s private Jewish family collections.

Although the speech was a sobering reminder to all what happened seven+ decades ago, the evening was full of promise and positive celebrations for ORT Toronto which is an arm of World ORT, founded in 1880, the largest non-denominational, non-governmental organization providing “Education for Life” each year to over 300,000 disadvantaged students in 60 countries. The name is an acronym based on its original Russian name. ORTThrough its International Cooperation programs, ORT supports non-sectarian economic and social development in under-developed parts of the world, with vocational training and the provision of technical assistance.  ORT operates a global network of schools, colleges, training centres and programmes in Africa, Asia-Pacific, the CIS and Baltic States, Israel, Latin America, North America and Western Europe. ORT schools are highly regarded and are open to all children regardless of religious backgrounds.  http://www.ort-toronto.org/

ORT Executive Director, Lindy Meshwork says: “In these challenging times, we believe the key to a better world lies in education.  Since 1880 ORT has been providing the necessary skills and training to succeed, providing hope and the opportunity for a brighter future for students around the world.”
Exec. Dir. Lindy Meshwork with Danielle

Exec. Dir. Lindy Meshwork with event publicist Danielle

The evening also featured a delicious buffet dinner with a dessert reception after the awards presentations. There was a silent auction featuring artworks by renowned painters & photographers to help raise funds for ORT Toronto. Here are some candid photos of the guests, honourees and VIPs …and mazel tov to all for a fantastic night!

Harry & Esther Goodman enjoyed the festivities

Harry & Esther Goodman enjoyed the festivities

Danielle (left) joined my table for dinner and schmoozing.

Danielle (left) joined my table for dinner and schmoozing with Rochelle Covent (right)

Mr. Burris was enthusiastically  congratulated on his speech

Mr. Burris was enthusiastically congratulated on his speech

I ran into media colleague Georgina Bencsik at the buffet

I ran into media colleague Georgina Bencsik at the buffet

More media enjoying the dinner incl. Jody Glaser (above R)

More media enjoying the dinner incl. Jody Glaser (above R) with his wife Katherine

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L-R: Philip Strathy, Danielle, Sam Wales & Michael Miller

L-R: Philip Strathy, Danielle, Sam Wales & Michael Miller

A successful fundraiser & awards gala = good reason to kick up their heels!

Harry, Danielle & Sam kick up their heels

ABOUT THE EVENT:
GALA MASTER OF CEREMONIES: Michael B. Miller, Partner, Dickinson Wright, LLP
HONOURARY CO-CHAIRS: Carrie Katz + Ellen Miller
TRIBUTE COMMITTEE: Madeline Avedon, Rose Baum, Jeanne Beker, Joyce Chapnick, Justice Sandra Chapnik, Hedy Frisch, Edie Glazer, Julianna Greenspan, Marlene Hait,
Elise Kalles, Barbara Kingstone, Michelle Maderer, Laura Walsh & Israel Mida, Tom Mihalik,, Aviva Morgenstern, Harriet Morton, Marlene & Martin Rochwerg, Irene Reingold, Mary Richmond, Serafima Roll, Dorothy Cohen Shoichet, Elise Sieradzki, Justice Gertrude Speigel, Bella Tal, Sam Wales, Florence Weinstock, Liora Yakubowicz
ORT Canada – Charitable Number: 118834910 RR0001
Co- Presidents: Carrie Katz, Jacob Kincler & Arthur Silber
ORT Toronto
President: Janis Finkelstein,  Past President: Florence Weinstock
Executive Director: Lindy Meshwork
Director of Admin: Roni Maderer
Sponsored by BMO, Tom Mihalik: Tom’s Place and Janis & Kenny Finkelstein
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