This year’s Cecily’s Advocacy Conference comes at an unprecedented time in our country. We and our children are experiencing a situation that we have never been faced with before. Each family will have a different experience–no two situations will look the same. However, there are certain topics that are relevant to everyone. The keynote will discuss 3 main ones: resilience, validation, and self-compassion.

Resilience is a skill to be developed, and we know that children can learn it. It is only through working through obstacles and challenges that one can build resilience. Parents can help facilitate this in their child, largely by guiding them to adopt the right mindset.

Validation is key. Well-intentioned parents often go too quickly into problem-solving mode, missing the important step of having empathy first. The power of validation cannot be underestimated. Helping children process and grieve the changes and losses resulting from the pandemic, the anxiety as they reintegrate, and helping to normalize their feelings and experience will lead to feeling validated.

Self-compassion is related to success in life. There is a great deal of research showing the value of self-compassion. We will discuss the components of self-compassion and how to foster it for our children and ourselves.

Navigating a New Normal: Insights into Helping You and Your Child Thrive at This Time of Challenge & Change

Bonnie Zucker, PsyD
Keynote Speaker

9:30-10:15 am
Zoom Link: https://zoom.us/j/92327094468

Bonnie Zucker, PsyD is a licensed psychologist with a background and expertise in psychotherapy with children, adolescent, and adults. She received her doctoral degree from Illinois School of Professional Psychology in Chicago, her Master’s degree in Applied Psychology from the University of Baltimore, and her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from George Washington University. Dr. Zucker specializes in the treatment of anxiety disorders in children and adults and utilizes a cognitive-behavioral (CBT) approach. In addition to CBT, she integrates a family systems approach and works with parents to help them learn the most appropriate responses to their child’s anxiety disorder.

Dr. Zucker was named one of Washingtonian Magazine’s Top Therapists in the fields of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, OCD, Phobias, Troubled Child, and Troubled Adolescent in 2009.In addition to being active in conducting trainings on CBT for anxiety, Dr. Zucker wrote Anxiety-Free Kids: An Interactive Guide for Parents and Children (Prufrock Press), a two-in-one self-help book for children with anxiety disorders and their parents, Take Control of OCD: The Ultimate Guide for Kids with OCD (Prufrock Press), a self-help book for children and teens with obsessive-compulsive disorder, Parenting Kids with OCD: A Guide to Understanding and Supporting your Child with OCD (Prufrock Press), a book for parents of children and teens with obsessive-compulsive disorder, and Something Very Sad Happened: A Toddler’s Guide to Understanding Death (Magination Press), a self-help book for children ages 2-3 who have experienced the death of a loved one.


PARENT TALK
(with children in kindergarten-grade 5)

Helping your Child Thrive in Uncertain Times
Silvi Guerra, PsyD

10:20-11:05 am
Zoom Link: https://zoom.us/j/97832340330

In the best of times, parenting can be difficult, but parenting during a pandemic presents a whole new set of challenges. As the school year starts, our children will benefit from our guidance, understanding their feelings, and how to manage their emotions in order to have a successful academic year. This talk, for parents of students in kindergarten to grade 5, will provide evidence-based, age-appropriate strategies and tips on how to make this year a successful one, with both academic and social-emotional health in mind. Specifically, we will discuss how to address and talk to your child about their emotions to nurture your connection, which anxiety management strategies will best support their ability to self-soothe, and how to actively increase their experience of positive emotions such as hope and gratitude.


Biography

Silvi Guerra, PsyD. is a licensed clinical psychologist with strong clinical background and expertise in providing evidence-based treatment of anxiety disorders in children and adults. With extensive training in the field of psychology, she has worked with children, adolescents, and young adults with a range of socio-emotional, developmental and behavioral problems at all stages of development. She offers parenting consultations, individual therapy, group, and family sessions.

Known to her clients as “Dr. Silvi,” her treatment approach incorporates an evidence-based, empathic, culturally informed, and resilient methodology to psychotherapy with clients and their families. Dr. Silvi utilizes a cognitive-behavioral (CBT) approach and incorporates current research in neuroscience and developmental psychology to customize all client treatment plans. Dr. Silvi is also fluent in Spanish and provides (bilingual) culturally sensitive therapeutic services to clients from multicultural backgrounds.

Dr. Silvi completed her postdoctoral fellowship at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and Kennedy Krieger Institute’s Behavior Management Clinic. She completed her pre-doctoral training at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford University and the Community Clinic at Children’s Health Council (CHC). Dr. Silvi received her doctoral degree from Nova Southeastern University and her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from the University of Miami.

PARENT TALK
(with children in grades 6-12)

Helping your Child Thrive in Uncertain Times
Bonnie Zucker, PsyD

10:20-11:05 am
Zoom Link: https://zoom.us/j/92327094468

Parents have an essential role when it comes to shaping their child’s experience. As we start the school year at this uncertain time in our country, children will need help with stress management and coping skills. This talk, for parents of students in grades 6 to 12, will provide strategies and tips on how to make this year a successful one. Specifically, we will discuss stress and anxiety management, how to foster a positive “can-do” attitude in our children, gratitude, and how to meet the social and emotional needs of your child. We will also spend some time on parent stress management, including parent self-care.

 

STUDENT TALK
(children in kindergarten-grade 5)

We Got This! When Times are Tough, I Get Stronger.
Silvi Guerra, PsyD

11:15 am – 12:00 pm
Zoom Link: https://zoom.us/j/97832340330

With the world changing rapidly our children are managing significant disruptions to their lives and daily routines. This talk will provide young students with strategies and tips on how to understand and manage big emotions in helpful and productive ways. My goal is to provide students with a toolbox of strategies that they may utilize throughout the academic year when big emotions try to take over. We will discuss emotion identification with use of age-appropriate visuals and calming strategies that they can engage with in both home and academic settings. We will discuss how to have a “can do!” attitude based on the principles of growth mindset in order to improve their sense of mastery and confidence. Finally, the power of positive thinking and emotions such as gratitude and hope will be explored.


STUDENT TALK
(children in grades grade 6-12)

It’s Not All Bad: Facing Challenging Times and Emerging Stronger
Erica Moran Etter, PhD

11:15 am – 12:00 pm
Zoom Link: https://zoom.us/j/92327094468

Children and teens are having to manage more disruption to their typical routines than ever before. As we begin a new school year, this talk will provide strategies and tips for how to manage stress and cope with anxiety as effectively as possible. Focusing on one’s self and what each child can control in their daily lives will be discussed. We will touch on the importance of sleep, nutrition, exercise, and maintaining social relationships during these uncertain times. Children and teens will learn that all emotions are acceptable and useful, and how to validate their own feelings. Lastly, the importance of positive thinking, gratitude, and developing resilience will be explored.


Biography

Erica Moran Etter, PhD, is a licensed psychologist with expertise in providing psychotherapy to children, adolescents, and adults. Dr. Etter completed her undergraduate work at Cornell University, earning a BA in both psychology and neurobiology. She then received her masters and doctoral degrees from the University of Denver’s Child Clinical Psychology Program. Dr. Etter completed her pre-doctoral training at Children’s National Medical Center (now Children’s National Health System), followed by a Postdoctoral Fellowship at Mt. Washington Pediatric Hospital. Dr. Etter has held previous positions as a faculty member at Mt. Washington Pediatric Hospital, and as a psychologist for the State of Maryland providing intensive treatment to children and adolescents in a residential treatment program.

Dr. Etter offers individual therapy, family therapy, group therapy, and parent consultations. To treat anxiety disorders, Dr. Etter utilizes primarily a Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) approach, incorporating family systems, motivational interviewing, and elements of Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) as needed for each client. She also has extensive experience utilizing Trauma-Focused CBT (TF-CBT) to treat post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as well as using Exposure and Response Prevention (E/RP) to treat obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). Dr. Etter uses evidence-based therapeutic methods and tailors treatment to each individual. Dr. Etter provides a warm, empathic, culturally-sensitive, and non-judgmental therapy environment for all clients.