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Grad 2020 3

Theological Seminary

DMin Graduate Helping School-Aged Children with Anxiety

Facing Fears with Faith

Michèle Keijzer graduated from Providence with a MA (1992) and DMin in Counselling & Mental Health Practice (2020). She has worked as a school counsellor in various Christian schools in Winnipeg for more than 20 years. Here is an excerpt from an article entitled Helping School-Aged Children with Anxiety found on page 13 in our latest edition of the Eye Witness magazine.

“During my early years as a counsellor, I had concerns about my ability to make a difference. At first, I doubted the value of staying in Winnipeg as opposed to “working overseas” somewhere. That doubt lingered for a while, until one morning when I heard God’s inaudible but nonetheless very real voice say, ‘I have sent you to the broken-hearted.’

The final piece in the DMin program was to write a project-dissertation that makes a significant contribution towards the advancement of ministry. So I wrote a workbook for anxious children 8 to 15 years of age. It is written from a Christian worldview, with deliberate integration of spirituality, and which addresses the whole child.

The resultant (and as yet unpublished) workbook, Facing Fears with Faith: Learning to Handle Strong Emotions and Uncomfortable Feelings, serves to help children reach a simple understanding of how their brains work, while learning cognitive-behavioural techniques and self-regulation skills. Christian contemplative practises like breath prayer are integrated into each chapter with the overall aim of promoting spiritual formation while also reducing and managing worry and fear. The continuous repetition of these strategies facilitates the formation of new habits and brain pathways.

I may never have anticipated the direction my life has taken, but it is both a privilege and joy to work with children who trustingly open their hearts to me as they bravely face each new day. I have learned that my impact as a counsellor comes not from any momentous insights I might have, but rather from walking with children as they challenge their fears and are changed by the gentle breath of God’s Spirit.”

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Seminary Grad Video

Click here to watch the Providence Theological Seminary 2020 graduation video. This video follows recent MDiv graduate, Troy Dearborn, and shares his thoughts on getting a Providence education.