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Parent-Child Guide to Coping with Anxiety: Helping Our Brains Manage Strong Emotions
Dessy Marinova, PhD | Illustrated by Lora Marinova
FriesenPress | Dessy Marinova / Softcover / Jun 2022
9781039120846 (ISBN-10: 1039120849)
Families and Parenting / Anxiety, Phobia & Panic
price: $34.95
308 pages
In Stock (Ships within one business day)

This unique guide pairs the expertise of a trained child psychologist with the fresh voice and perspective of her young daughter to help children and their parents embark on an emotional regulation journey while strengthening their relationships and nurturing their confidence to overcome life obstacles. The young readers will learn, alongside their caregivers, how to set goals, deal with setbacks, and live a life in line with their values. Dr. Dessy and Lora’s guide will help us better understand ourselves and our loved ones, recognizing why we feel and act the way we do and deepen our empathy and care for each other.

Using a holistic approach, Dr. Dessy offers step-by-step guidelines on managing strong emotions anytime and anyplace. With simple language and fun illustrations, Dr. Dessy and Lora explain how our brains work, with Aimie (the amygdala) making us feel, Brightie (the cerebral cortex) making us think, and Dooie (the pre-frontal cortex) making us act. By keenly understanding how these parts of us act and interact, and practicing the lessons and exercises offered in this guide, you and your child will be empowered to face fears in any setting. The toolkit with strategies will help children and other family members enjoy events, places, and situations avoided in the past or suffered through because of baseless worries and a thousand “what ifs.”

Intended primarily for parents/caregivers with children aged eight to twelve and mental health professionals, this guide addresses a growing societal problem: Research shows that anxiety disorders are the most prevalent mental health conditions worldwide, impacting the quality of life of millions of children and their families. But whether it’s anxiety issues or any other strong emotions, this book will help people get a handle on why they feel the things they feel and learn what to do about it. Indeed, the readers will be equipped to use proven science-based strategies to cultivate a resilient mindset preparing them to tackle life’s biggest challenges.


“Aimed at children between the ages of 8 and 12, Dessy Marinova’s manual provides valuable insights into emotional wellness for preadolescents. . . Presenting illustrations and insights by the author’s young daughter, Lora Marinova, the guide thoughtfully balances science and accessibility. . . Filled with fun activities, this manual will help readers of all ages deal with anxiety.”--Kirkus Reviews

“The guidebook is both accessible to parents and child-friendly. . . This is a true parent-child workbook. . . The book includes clear directions for which exercises should be done together, which are best done by parents first, and which children can handle on their own. It also models a spirit of true partnership, understanding, and mutual respect: Marinova’s eleven-year-old daughter contributes to portions of the book, including illustrations and insights that identify the sources of childhood anxiety. . .

For adults, the book explains how to model effective behaviors for children and shares coaching techniques for supporting children’s social-emotional development. . ." --Foreword Clarion Reviews

"This book? is a gem because it's created jointly by Dr. Dessy and her daughter, Lora. It provides a real-life toolkit that helps parents and children together tackle a complex and frustrating issue on coping with emotions and anxiety in manageable steps using easy-to-use joint worksheets. Together parents and children learn, reflect, and build new ways of thinking and coping with their difficult emotions. . . Children will particularly like the real-life relatable examples from Lora and be drawn to the illustrations to explain abstract concepts and strategies.

As a child psychologist, I found this is an accessible, engaging, and practical book that offers a new integrated way of thinking and parenting a sensitive or anxious child. It is a first of its kind where the parents also need to slow down and look deeply at themselves and mutually participate in understanding and coping with their own adult feelings along with their child's. It shows parents and children how to be curious about their own minds, develop a new relationship to their difficult thoughts and emotions and build small daily practices in their lives so they can say to themselves, 'I can cope.'"?
—Dr. Melody Ashworth, Ph.D., clinical psychologist at The Willow Centre , Canada

"Dr. Dessy and her daughter, Lora, obviously put a lot of intelligent thought and colorful creativity into this workbook for parents and children. The parent-child guide to coping with anxiety has a lot to offer people. It goes well beyond anxiety management. I think of it as more of a holistic guide to life. . . I was impressed by the active learning components for parents and children throughout the book. Dr. Dessy pulls it all together by calling the reader to task, prompting them to fill in the blanks. Parent-Child Guide to Coping with Anxiety: Helping our Brains Learn to Manage Strong Emotions is not just a book about anxiety management. It's a book about life."
—Dr. Glendon Rayworth, Psy.D., clinical psychologist at The Cognitive and Interpersonal Therapy Centre , Canada

"The inner child of the adult author resonates clearly with the inner child of her co-author – daughter. Similarly, the author's command of scientific knowledge resonates with the clear portrayal of this to the reader – be it a child, a parent, or a therapist.
Rx: read it, learn it, live it, own it, and use it."
—Dr. Sol Goldstein, MD, child psychiatrist

"Dr. Dessy's and Lora's guide is a gift for families who want to learn how to better manage anxiety and other strong emotions. Parents will appreciate the friendly, patient, and reassuring tone. Children will love the cheerful illustrations and true-to-life examples.

Offering a refreshing perspective, Dr. Dessy emphasizes that we can learn to understand, accept, and even befriend our intense feelings. With skillful integration of techniques from Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, as well as mindfulness, Dr. Dessy delivers a range of valuable, practical strategies. I especially appreciated the emphasis on parental reflection, practice, and modeling of the skills we want our children to learn."
—Dr. Lana Zinck, Ph.D., school and clinical child psychologist, Canada

"We had a lot of fun reading the workbook. Aimie, Brightie, and Dooie characters are a very clever and neat way to help kids visualize their emotions. . . The kids really identify with the child's examples and illustrations in the book."
—Alice Popova, parent

About the Author and the Illustrator:

Dessy Marinova, Ph.D., is a school and clinical psychologist with over 20 years of experience with children, adolescents, and adults. Dr. Dessy maintains a practice as a psychologist, provides consultations to schools and mental health professionals, and delivers workshops for parents and teachers. This book is the culmination of more than twenty years of professional experience with children, adolescents, and their families on two continents: Europe and North America. Read more at

Lora is the daughter of Dr. Dessy Marinova. Starting at age 4, Lora helped her mother create the main characters in this book, and by age 11, they both have translated evidence-based strategies into language that kids can easily understand. Lora also created all the illustrations and provided many examples from her own life, and her observations of her peers, to help clarify and explain the various lessons and practices.

Dr. Dessy and Lora live in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

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