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Friday, November 8th 2019

The New Social Anxiety: Managing the Impact of Social Media, Gaming and 24/7 Internet Access

Margaret Wehrenberg, PsyD
presented by Leading Edge Seminars

Multi-Faith Centre/Koffler House, 569 Spadina Ave, Toronto, ON M5S 2J7

The verdict is in: The internet is changing our brains and our social skills. The verdict is still out on absolutes about the damage or the benefits, but there is enough data in to begin altering our relationship to the devices we use every day.

Socializing in the online world, 24/7 Internet access, and gaming are exciting but also introduce startling risks for neurobiological changes that affect learning, nervous system reactivity and anxiety levels, not just in youth but at every age.

Increasingly, therapists are called upon to respond to conditions like FOMO (the fear of missing out) and NoMophobia (no-mobile-phone phobia). Clients are struggling to manage the challenges of living IRL (In Real Life) when overwhelmed by the Fantasy of Perfection and “Close Enough to Reality” images of life that impair emotional and skill development. And perhaps most pressingly, therapists need to be able to recognize, assess and correct maladaptive neurobiological changes resulting from clients’ excessive gaming and media exposure.

In this seminar you will explore the impact of screen time and gaming on learning and the nervous system; you will examine how social media affects social and emotional development; you will learn to identify the causes of and corrections for the addictive nature of new technology; and you will learn strategies to manage the anxiety outcomes of the new online social world.

You Will Learn:

How to reduce the neurobiological impact of rapid screen shifting, prolonged gaming and screen time
Strategies for youth to develop emotional management skills that combat anxiety and depression
How older adults can more easily navigate the stresses technology places on them as relationships with family are altered and the demand for fast change increases
Methods to diminish the power of anonymity and the Comparison Fallacy in social anxiety
To apply Grodzki’s “coaching style” therapy to combat the fear of “adulting” that interferes with romantic relationships, normal socializing, driving or working
To engage the default mode network to promote emotional awareness and creative problem solving—the antithesis of anxiety
How to develop “demand delays” that diminish the addictive nature of communication notifications, gaming and social media “likes”
How to help young adults to recognize and alter the Fantasy of Perfection and the demand to live an “amazing life” that interferes with actual skill development and damages genuine, appropriate self-esteem

About the Presenter:

Margaret Wehrenberg, Psy.D., a licensed clinical psychologist, is the author of 8 books on the treatment of anxiety and depression, including the best-selling, The 10 Best-Ever Anxiety Management Techniques and its accompanying workbook. An expert on the treatment of anxiety and depression, she also has extensive training and expertise in the neurobiology of psychological disorders. In addition to clinical work, she coaches business professionals on managing anxiety and contributes articles for The Psychotherapy Networker magazine. She has produced audio soundtracks available on her website for breathing, muscle relaxation and imagery. Margaret blogs on depression for Psychology Today.


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