School Anxiety & Refusal for Educators

Course Type: 

  • Foundational Services

Foundational Services Type: 

  • Workshop/Networking Meeting

Course Date: 

Thursday, October 12, 2017 - 9:00am to 11:00am


This presentation will review the criteria for school avoidance and school anxiety (SASR) and identify strategies to assist students, families, and schools to promote re-engagement in the school setting. SASR is defined as failure to attend school or inconsistent attendance due to emotional and/or behavioral reasons. SASR also includes students who attend school but refuse to engage in school requirements. Students with SASR often struggle with social deficits as well as associated mental and emotional disorders. Understanding their cognitive and emotional development and customizing therapy to address the SASR child’s unique needs is vital to successful treatment.

An overview of a school anxiety/school refusal (SASR) program at Alexian Brothers Partial Hospitalization Program will be provided. Using established models for SASR (i.e., Kearney & Albano, 2007) combined with known exposure and response prevention treatments, this program is specifically designed to address avoidance-seeking behaviors for students not attending school. This program model employs common elements from cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and exposure and response prevention (ERP) approaches, as well as more unique strategies such as actual in-vivo exposure with a teacher in the classroom. The program also integrates clinical school liaisons who work to bridge treatment in the partial hospitalization program with the student’s home school to assist with generalization and successful return to school. Further, the program employs a family component including parent coaching and family therapy. Parents are taught strategies which focus on creating structure and consistency at home utilizing rewards and consequences. Parents are also taught ways to communicate with their children and adolescents based on their cognitive and emotional development.

The presentation will review specific interventions designed to increase motivation for school attendance and promote active school engagement for the child and family. Factors that contribute to avoidant behaviors will be explored as well as ways to identify students who are at-risk so as to provide early therapeutic responses. Professionals will learn how to develop therapeutic strategies for SASR and engage students and their parents in effective communication and language that promotes self-advocacy and independence for the student. Utilizing a multi-disciplinary approach, participants will learn ways to create rapport with families and build relationships that will hold them accountable for school attendance, truancy issues and establish community services and supports. In addition, audience members will learn specifically how to apply behavioral modification techniques, family systems approaches, parent training, academic accommodations, and other collaborative approaches to working with adolescents who struggle with SASR.  


Jacqueline (Jackie) Rhew, M.A., LCPC, CADC - Alexian Brothers Behavioral Health Hospital

Presenter Bio: 

Jackie Rhew, Alexian Brothers Behavioral Health Hospital

Jacqueline has worked in hospital, educational and private practice settings, both in the Chicagoland area and overseas, including South America and the Middle East. She has considerable training in treating adolescents & adults dealing with school refusal, eating disorders, self-injury, substance abuse, gaming addictions, grief issues, trauma, depression & anxiety utilizing individual, family and group therapy. Jacqueline utilizes dialectical behavioral therapy, rational emotive behavior therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, narrative therapy, as well as exposure response prevention & relational therapy during the therapeutic process.

Jacqueline served as Assistant Director for seven years for the School Anxiety/School Refusal Program at AMITA Health Alexian Brothers Behavioral Health Hospital in Hoffman Estates, a program she was instrumental in creating and developing. She provides training both locally and nationally on topics including anxiety, school refusal, parenting and self-injury. Jacqueline has co-authored several publications including School Refusal in Children & Adolescents and has also been featured on both Chicago ABC Channel 7 and CBS Channel 2 newscasts highlighting her work with adolescents struggling with avoidant school behaviors as well as bullying in the schools.


Grades K-12 School counselors, social workers, nurses, psychologists and administrators




North Cook Intermediate Service Center

2340 Des Plaines River Rd.

Des Plaines, IL 60018



Cancellation Policy


Should you find it necessary to cancel your registration, please do so 7 days in advance of the event. Cancellations after that date will lead to you/your district forfeiting the right to a refund or non-payment of the registration. Because we understand that, as school personnel, circumstances change from day to day and scheduling conflicts may arise at any time, you may send someone from your district in your place.

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