Child Psychologist Shares Resiliency Tips
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Child Psychologist Shares Resiliency Tips

Aurélie Weinstein wrote her new book for children, “Amy in the Rain: How She Overcame Her Fears,” during the COVID pandemic.

After 37 years with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and now with the AJT, , Jaffe’s focus is lifestyle, art, dining, fashion, and community events with emphasis on Jewish movers and shakers.

Dr. Aurélie Weinstein grew up in Grenoble, France, with a family that was very involved in the Jewish community. She met her husband, who is from Atlanta, on a youth leadership trip to Israel.

After moving to Atlanta, Weinstein earned a master’s degree in psychology, then a Ph.D. in developmental psychology from Georgia State University. Her practice is focused on helping children become resilient after adversity, and she took a position with St. Jude Hospital to better understand the resilience of childhood cancer survivors.

Now, Weinstein has a new book for children, “Amy in the Rain: How She Overcame Her Fears,” which she wrote during the COVID pandemic. “In my therapy practice, I often use books to explain struggles. I felt that some of them focused too quickly on fixing the problem and not enough time developing a character relatable enough to learn solutions. I decided to create a character who was inspired by real children. Amy has a personality with interests and aspirations, and not just a carrier of fears. When children suffer from anxiety and fears, they are more than just their challenges, they are individuals with love, hope, compassion, and aspirations.”

Dr. Aurélie Weinstein is a developmental psychologist and family therapist with a private practice in Sandy Springs.

To synopsize, Amy was initially fearless. She loved princesses, mermaids, and fairies, playing outside and reading. After some negative experiences with thunderstorms and heavy rain, she developed a fear of going outside. The more she avoided going outside, the more scared she became. With the help and support of a kind fairy, she learned to confront her fears and become more comfortable outside until she was able to enjoy the outdoors without concerns. The 37-page book is designed for kids five to 10 years old.

Weinstein also teaches child psychology at the graduate and undergraduate level at Georgia State University and Georgia Gwinnett College, and most recently as an assistant professor in psychology at Kennesaw State University. She was recently nominated for a College of Humanities and Social Sciences teaching award and is known for engaging students by helping them apply concepts to their own situations. “I frequently share personal stories which help them [students] connect with me and to destigmatize challenges that so many of us face,” she said.

In her Sandy Springs practice, Weinstein notices that lately more children are coming for anxiety-related challenges. “In 2020, many of my clients had fears of contracting COVID, becoming sick, dying, or losing their family or loved ones. Some children preferred to be locked down so they would not be separated from their parents. Others felt lonelier as they weren’t seeing friends,” she said.

Weinstein’s picture book, “Amy in the Rain,” is intended for children five to 10 years old.

Other issues occurred in 2021 when schools reopened. Some children began showing separation anxiety, problems sleeping alone, and more night terrors.”

Summarizing her advice to parents, she said, “I had a tendency to reassure my kids when they had fears. I felt it was my role as a mom to make sure they are never scared or worried. I was always there to come to the rescue. I realized that this was not what they needed. Rescuing them was feeding their worries, leading them to be more and more scared.

“I changed my approach towards encouragement, and trust in them that they can handle challenging situations. Believe in your children, believe they are capable, let them make decisions and make mistakes, you will give them skills for life. Children will build confidence and strength when they feel supported, loved and encouraged.”

For young children, she uses Child-Centered Play Therapy. For children and adolescents with anxiety, phobias and O.C.D., she applies Exposure and Response Prevention and Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy. For clients who have suffered from trauma or abuse, she employs Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing. For children exhibiting disruptive behaviors and anger issues she practices. The Incredible Years Program, specialized for children who have difficulty regulating their emotions.

Weinstein is active at Ahavath Achim Synagogue as board director and president of Z’havah, the young women’s Sisterhood group. She founded the Atlanta Jewish Theatre Company before the COVID shutdown stopped many of the arts performances and events. She is planning bookstore signings and reaching out to Jewish schools for readings.

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