Mrs. Breton - School Counseling

Tips and Resources

Mrs. Breton's School Counseling program/website

Welcome to Mrs. Breton's School Counseling Website! I am the school counselor at Biddeford Intermediate School. I have the joy of working with students through school counseling-based classroom lessons, small group counseling, and individual counseling. I also collaborate with school staff and parents in order to best meet the needs of students.

School Counseling-based Classroom Lessons

I visit each classroom multiple times throughout the school year and have the chance to interact with every student during these lessons. Lessons typically last 30 minutes in length and cover topics such as school readiness skills, understanding feelings of self and others, problem solving skills, and friendship skills.

Small Group Counseling

A variety of small groups are offered to students who may benefit from spending some extra time developing academic, social, or emotional skills along with their peers, and to students who are coping with similar life situations. Groups can have anywhere from 3-6 members and usually meet once a week, usually during their RTI time.

Individual Counseling

Some students can benefit from one-on-one counseling regarding academic, social, or emotional challenges. This however, it's not long term counseling. My role as a school counseling is to meet with students individual (as a Tier 3) for 4 weeks and decide during that time if the student needs more support/resources, like outside therapy.

Tips and Resources for the next few weeks

In some ways, it seems like everything I know has been turned on its head. In Maine, we are out of school for the next 2 weeks and I know many other areas are following suit. Cancellations, grocery store hysteria and non-stop information about the growing impact of COVID-19 have changed everything.

For any of us that struggle with anxiety (and even those who aren't typically anxious), this can be a difficult time. Today, I want to share a few practices that are helping me stay calm, as well as a few resources you might find helpful if you're looking for ways to support your own children.

Anxiety Fighting Strategy #1- Unplug

  • I understand the irony of this tip being delivered via email, but hear me out. We live in an age of information - we can find information on any topic, from any part of the world, whenever we want. While this can help us to stay informed , bombarding ourselves with unnecessary information can also lead to unnecessary anxiety. For me, this has meaning taking the facebook app off my phone, and severely limiting my consumption of the news.

Anxiety Fighting Strategy #2 - Gratitude

  • Rachel Hollis, an author who wrote "Girl Wash Your Face," a motivator speaker and a blogger says, It's impossible to feel anxiety and gratitude simultaneously. It's impossible to feel fear and gratitude simultaneously. It's impossible to feel anger and gratitude simultaneously. Fight negative emotion with gratitude!" Goodness, I wish this was that simple. Gratitude is powerful, I wholeheartedly agree but it sure is possible to feel multiple emotions at the same time. However, Gratitude is a helpful coping strategy.
  • That being said, while the current times are unsettling to say the least, there is also plenty to be thankful for. My family is healthy, due to this "corona-cation" (as we say in the Breton household) it's helped my family to slow down and enjoy each other while have enough toilet paper ;) When I sense anxiety coming from myself or my own kids coming in, I counter it with 3 things I'm thankful for.

Anxiety Fighting Strategy #3 -Focus on What I Can Control

  • There have been times over the last couple of days or so when I have felt like getting my circle of control game out and using it myself. It's so hard not to get lost in the rabbit hole of "what ifs," but worrying about things out of our control are not helpful. I cannot control how much food others buy at the grocery store, but I can control what we purchase. I cannot control whether or not other people go out when they are sick, but I can control how often we go out. I'm really trying to turn that anxiety into action!

Anxiety Fighting Strategy #4 - Keep Things As Routine As Possible

  • Unfortunately there has been SO MUCH disruption to our normal lives for better or worse. It is so helpful to stick to a normal routine as much as possible. On Sunday morning, my husband still went and picked up donuts for us - our weekly tradition. We still have the same bed time routine with our kids. We still have regular phone calls with family, only we have starting face timing instead of just voice calls.

Anxiety Fighting Strategy #5 - Helpful Coping Strategies and websites

  • Most of your children will know my favorite Worry coping strategies, you can also use them at home. Grounding - is designed to ground you in, or immediately connect you with, the present moment. How it works? Ask 5 things you can see, 4 things you can hear, 3 things you can touch, 2 things you can smell and 1 thing you can taste. Typically, the child calms down by the time you get to 3 things you can touch. Lazy 8 breathing - Start with an 8 on its side, start in the middle, go up to the left and start tracing the left part of the 8 with your finger while you breathe in. When you get to the middle of the 8 again, breathe out while you trace the right side of the 8 with your finger. Do this as many times as needed. Star breathing - Start at any "breathe in" side of the star (shown below). Trace your finger over the breathe in side of the point hold your breath when your fingers gets to the tip of the point. Breathe out as you trace your finger over the other side of the point. Keep going until you reach where you started. When you trace the whole star, you will have completed 5 deep breaths. You can also use your own hand to do this same strategy. I will link a website below as well.

If there is ANYTHING else I can do to support you, PLEASE reach out and let me know. I know these are unprecedented times, and I want to make sure you are getting what your children need.

We've got this,