Stan Godek

Managing Stress and Distress: How to Help

Managing Stress and Distress provides an accessible, straightforward guide to how in built stress responses lead to distress and problematic behaviour in young people, how mindfulness can build self-regulation and resilience, and the practical ways in which parents, carers, teachers and schools can help.


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Managing Stress and Distress offers an accessible introduction to how heightened stress levels in young people can lead to distressed behaviour and how to manage both. The evolutionary and psychological factors that often underpin stress responses and their resulting problematic behaviours are still not well understood. Managing Stress and Distress provides a complete, compassionate guide to what stress is, how it arises, the purpose it serves and the issues it can cause. The book takes a trauma-informed approach of managing short-term distress while also reducing long-term stress levels via a regular practice of mindfulness.


Managing Stress and Distress is for parents and carers; teachers, teaching assistants, early years practitioners, educational psychologists, school senior management teams and other education professionals; support groups; youth workers, group leaders and others interested in the wellbeing and socio-emotional development of children and young people.


Publisher: Pavilion Publishing and Media Ltd

ISBN: 9781803880914

Publication Date:  July 2023


Part 1: Introduction
1. What is stress?
2. A brief history of stress and distress
3. A psychological perspective
4. Neuroscience; Ten key things to know about stress and distress

Part 2: Stress and the brain
5. Key components of the brain
6. The HPA and stress chemicals
7. The negative impact of stress
8. Elizabeth Blackburn and the Telomere Effect

Part 3: Distress
9. The attachment process
10.The arousal response cycle
11. Emotional regulation or containment
12. Empathetic attunement, the secure base and exploratory behaviour
13. Internal working model
14. Distress and insecure attachment styles

Part 4: Managing distress
15. The arousal cycle
16. How to help at each stage
17. Nonverbal communication
18. Recovery and post-crisis
19. Analysis of incidents and looking after ourselves

Part 5: Stress and stages of development
20. Erikson’s stages of development
21. Pre-school to primary transition
22. Adolescence
23. Neuroplasticity

Part 6: Stress reduction
24. Chemicals again!
25. Mindfulness
26. Meditation
27. Breathing and breathing exercises
28. Imaging and visualisation
29. Shinrin-Yoku and Two Schools

Part 7: Conclusion
30. Summary
31. A last word to parents and carers
32. A last word to teachers and schools


Stan Godek is the founder and director of SG Training and Consultancy. He is a psychologist with a background of working with children affected by trauma. His work was informed first by attachment theory, and later by the theories of Erik Erikson and Alan Sroufe. He has worked in the UK, Ireland and Russia, and has also managed residential childcare services.

Stan has developed a wide range of techniques and exercises designed to help young people to self-regulate their moods and emotions, and to cope more effectively with the various negative experiences that have impacted on their lives. He draws on these techniques in workshops on how mindfulness techniques can improve concentration and learning in the classroom, and in the consultancy service he offers to primary and secondary schools, residential units and fostering agencies. He is the author of Mindfulness Techniques for Children and Young People: A Practical Guide.


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