Monday, November 05, 2012

Take a Stand Against Bullying

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This excellent, authentically portrayed video demonstrates the power that we as adult supports, peers, and bystanders have to help those around us who may be struggling with mental health issues as a result of bullying and other stressors. This was a project of the Peel District School Board in Southern Ontario. Please watch and share.

If you are a parent of a bullied child and looking for resources, please visit This resource was written for you, to help you navigate the school and community systems that are intended to support your child and keep him/her safe.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Bullying is Not a Game: Education & Intervention is the Key

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Bullying is Not a Game

Over the last few weeks I have been honoured to be invited to speak at several events designed to raise awareness about bullying, it's devastating effects on mental health, and to provide strategies for parents to help them support their children who are bullied.

Did you know that bullying occurs about every 7.5 minutes on the playground and every 25 minutes in the classroom in Canada? Did you also know that when a bystander steps in and attempts to stop the bullying behaviour, it will stop within 10 seconds 57% of the time?

Bystanders, you have power! You can make a difference.

The Ontario Safe Schools Act gives that power to any bystander who may witness bullying at a school. Whether you are a janitor, a bus driver, a cab driver, a parent, or someone from the community walking by and you witness bullying behaviour, you have the right to step in and say, "This behaviour is unacceptable". We can call the principal, notify a playground monitor. If we step in, we may be saving a child or a young person from experiencing continual abuse in a place where they should feel safe.

We have several workshops coming up in the next few weeks, and I encourage you to participate and learn how you can contribute to making our schools safer for ALL our children.

November 10, 2012: Port Colborne Baptist Church @ 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
I will be presenting alongside Dr. Lisa Barrow, author of In Darkness Light Dawns - Exposing Workplace Bullying. Our focus will be workplace and school bullying awareness, and strategies that community members can use to prevent bullying. Community resources will also be shared to support those who may be currently experiencing bullying at work or at school.

November 14, 2012: Holy Cross Secondary School, St. Catharines @ 7 p.m.
Holy Cross SS has decided that they will hold at least one bullying awareness workshop every year, to assist parents and students with bullying prevention. In this first session, I will be presenting material from my book (co-authored with Laurie Flasko), Bullying is Not a Game: A Parents' Survival Guide, and will share strategies with parents for ensuring their child is safe at school.

November 22, 2012: Laura Secord Secondary School, St. Catharines @ 7 p.m.
Sponsored by the Education Foundation of Niagara, Laurie Flasko (co-author of Bullying is Not a Game) will be accompanied by her daughter, Amanda to retell their story of victimization, trauma, and recovery as outlined in the book. Their presentation will be followed up by a panel of community stakeholders, some of whom contributed to the book, to share resources, advice, and to show parents where to seek help for themselves and their children.

November 29, 2012: Fort Erie Secondary School @ 7 p.m.Sponsored by the Education Foundation of Niagara, Laurie Flasko (co-author of Bullying is Not a Game) will be accompanied by her daughter, Amanda to retell their story of victimization, trauma, and recovery as outlined in the book. Their presentation will be followed up by a panel of community stakeholders, some of whom contributed to the book, to share resources, advice, and to show parents where to seek help for themselves and their children.

Admission to all of these events is FREE. To find out more about any of these dates, please visit my other website:, or call direct 905-329-6169.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Put the Past Behind You

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Put the Past Behind You

(excerpted from When the Last Straw Falls: 30 Ways to Keep Stress from Breaking Your Back – now available at

February 19th, 2008 marked the 1st anniversary of my mother’s passing. She died in her sleep, suddenly and unexpectedly in my home, and it was, as you might imagine, a very shocking, sad, and traumatic experience for our family.

Looking back at that time, I wonder how I managed to get through the shock of finding her, calling 911, notifying my father and my siblings, dealing with the coroner, the funeral home, taking care of my kids, and all the rest. It seems that my crisis training served me well, and I was able to go handle the extreme stress of that situation despite my grief.

Almost one year later, as I continued to deal with the ongoing fallout of losing my mom, I realized that other issues that had remained latent while she was alive were beginning to surface. And with those issues, came feelings of intense anxiety and panic that I had not experienced for decades. 

As I battled with this rise in anxiety, I often found myself feeling as if I had lost my bearings and was flailing around frantically for something to hold on to. And I found that stability in the most unexpected places.  Good friends. Faith. And in my office.

Let me explain that last one... several years ago I recorded the audio program, “Getting Past Your Past”. It occurred to me as I was rifling through my files, looking for something that would help me through this crisis, that perhaps if I expect people to listen to my advice that I should listen to it as well. So I grabbed the CDs and plugged them into my car, feeling a little sheepish and wondering if listening to my own recording made me a narcissist...

To my surprise, the woman on the CD sounded bright, confident, and sure of herself (not the same person who was listening at that moment)! She had some rather profound things to say, which were coincidentally strangely relevant to my current situation.  I thought... “why not pay attention to her? She sounds like she might have something there...”  I took it one step further on the advice of a good friend, and printed myself a workbook – and went through the exercises detailed in the “LET GO” section of the program.  

As bizarre as that sounds, it was what I needed at the time. I was reminded that I need to forget my past, remembering only what it taught me. That I have much to be grateful for and that the events of my past have contributed to the person that I am today.  That I am still that strong, confident, bright woman I heard on the CD, and that vulnerability is not the same as weakness. 

Through the process I was reminded that strength is fluid, and often dependent on your circumstances and the resources you have available at the time that those difficult circumstances arise.  I was reminded too of the resources that have helped me through other past trials, and that all I need to do is to rely on them rather than ignoring them – and my strength can be restored.
The whole concept of getting past one’s past is one that is so worthwhile in the quest for less stress. If you have read my book, Anger Solutions! Proven Strategies for Effectively Resolving Anger, you will recall the story of Everett Worthington, whose mother was murdered in her home by a group of teens who broke in while she slept.  Dr. Worthington is now recognized as one of the pioneers in forgiveness research.  
Another leader in the area of forgiveness research is Dr. Frederic Luskin, author of the book, Forgive for Good.  One of the things I noted from Dr. Frederic Luskin’s work is that when you recall the events of the past that caused you hurt and pain, and you have not yet learned to forgive and let go, you will experience the hurt just as if it were happening for the first time. That is to say that the anxiety, stress, sadness, anger – and all the other negative emotions that may be associated with that event, create just as powerful a physiological response in the body as when it happened the first time. So each time you recall a hurtful event, you are inducing the stress/anger response at full strength in your body.
Both the research of Dr. Luskin and Dr. Worthington has scientifically proven that through forgiveness, you can boost your immune systems, have healthier platonic and intimate relationships, significantly reduce your stress, and effectively prolong your life expectancy.  
There's More! This excerpt is included in a F*REE report entitled, "Getting Past Your Past" based on the Self-Help Audio CD Program of the same title, and the book, When the Last Straw Falls, both by Julie Christiansen. To get your copy of this free report, please contact us through our website contact tool:, and we'll send it to you right away.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

RIP Amanda Todd: Bullying is Not a Game

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RIP Amanda Todd: Bullying is Not a Game

I was dismayed to hear of Amanda Todd’s death this week, particularly after watching for myself her desperate cry for help in her YouTube video. This poor girl was victimized by an Internet predator who then ensured he would get the most mileage out of his victimization of Amanda Todd by launching the cyberbullying process. It is a shame that people (if you can call them that) like this unknown, faceless predator exist and are allowed to operate freely and with anonymity on the Internet, but it is more a shame that others did not rise and come to this girl’s defense. Instead, some decided it would be more entertaining if they just continued to victimize her over and over again. The victimization went far beyond “having a little fun at someone’s expense” when faceless cowards who hide behind the veil of anonymity provided by social media encouraged her – incited her to commit acts of self harm and ultimately drove her to suicide.

The Internet is a great thing. It can be and has been used to do a lot of good in the world. But like anything, the Internet has a dark side, and sadly Amanda Todd knew this all too well. Young people today do not realize the power that the Internet has to harm their reputations not just for a short time, but for life. Digital dirt is real – more real in some cases than actual dirt. Actual dirt can wash off, but like Amanda said, “I can never get that picture back”.

Parents – this is why you must be active and participating in your kids’ lives in a practical and supportive way. I do not encourage “helicopter parenting”; however, I do believe that when your children are tweens or young teens, it is best to have some controls in place as they spread their cyber wings. In order to keep my children safe from Internet predators and cyberbullying, it was mandatory for them to add us as “Friends” when they opened a Facebook account. We also installed tracking software on our computer to monitor where our young kids were travelling on the net and to be able to ensure that they were safe while online. After our personal experience with cyberbullying, I encourage EVERY parent to do the same.
Here’s what happened to us. My daughter who was maybe 13 or 14 at the time opened a Myspace account against our wishes, and was using MSN regularly as well. This was right about the time when investigative journalists in the US were reporting how many predators had been caught during their undercover investigation of Internet luring. We forbade her to use Myspace but she re-activated the account secretly. It took a so-called friend hacking her MSN account and trying to ruin her reputation by emailing nasty things to her entire list to teach her how powerful and dangerous online communication can be. Overnight all her friends started treating her differently, distancing themselves from her and refusing to speak to her. Only one person – her cousin – stood up for her. Finally someone explained why no one was speaking with her, and we were able to prove that she was nowhere near a computer when the nasty messages were sent, and that they had to have been sent by someone else. Had an open conversation not happened immediately, she might have been a social outcast among her peer group for the rest of her teen years, without ever knowing why. This folks, is how it starts. With the help of her techie father, she resolved the issue quickly and discontinued her MSN and Facebook accounts. Fortunately for us and for her, it was a lesson she learned after the first incident.

Things might have been different though, had we not stayed on top of her Internet activity. It also helped that she trusted us enough to tell us right away that something was fishy about her MSN account. I thank God everyday that we caught it early and that our efforts to stop the cyberbullying were successful. We never found out who did it although we had some suspicions. That’s the thing about cyber communication – it is so easy to remain in the shadows and do things that one would never ever do in the light of day. So Moms and Dads, I cannot say this enough: be available for your children and BE AWARE of what is happening with them.

My new book, co-authored with Laurie Flasko tells of her daughter's journey through several years of bullying and lays out a detailed plan for parents of how to intervene on behalf of your children. Amanda Todd’s parents did what they could to help her and I applaud them for doing everything in their power to keep their little girl safe. The challenge is that we only know what we know, and that is why Laurie and I wrote Bullying is Not a Game: A Parents’ Survival Guide. How do you know your child is being bullied? What should you do if you suspect it is happening? How do you negotiate a safety plan with the school? When is a good time to switch schools? Is switching schools enough? What do you do when your child is too sick or anxious or depressed to attend regular classes? Where should you go to seek help? What kind of help is the right help? Is medication the right thing for your anxious or depressed child? How do you manage your own mental health while trying to support your child? All of these questions and more are answered in this book.

One of the most important messages of Bullying is Not a Game is the one I want to share now. Parents: you are your child’s best advocate. No one knows your child like you do. If you feel like the school isn’t doing enough, then step up and advocate for your child. If you feel like the police need to be called, call them. Document everything: dates, times, people involved. Print cyber-messages so that you can show them to the police. Write down a sequence of events, symptoms, anything you think might be useful so that your child doesn’t have to be re-victimized by telling his/her story over and over again. Before you accept medications, ask about the side effects and consider ALL your options for treatment. Rather than think of your child as suffering from mental illness, think about how to restore your child’s mental health, self-esteem, and self-efficacy. These things are stripped away by relentless bullying but they can be restored with the right treatment and support.  

It pains me to know it is too late for Amanda Todd and for the many young people like her who saw no way out except to end their lives. There are countless other Amanda Todds out there who need support, intervention, treatment, love and caring to get through their bullying experience. Her death doesn’t need to be in vain. We can work together to create a safer world for our children at school, at play, and online. Parents – it begins with you. It ends when we as a community at large say enough is enough. Bullying is Not a Game.

Oct. 15, 2012

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

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Face Your Fears


I have heard fear described in this way: “False Expectations Appearing Real”. In other words, fear is the culmination of those things you anticipate could happen, but never do  that constitute fear. Just as faith is described as a belief or a certainty that something positive or good will happen, fear is the belief or certainty that the worst will happen. 

Would you rather live your life in anticipation, or in trepidation? Fear has got to be one of the worst feelings in the world to experience.  While fear has its place, it does not always serve us well. 

On a trip to Newfoundland with a large group of friends, one of our group decided to take us on a tour of his old stomping grounds. We followed him off the highway down a narrow dirt road, shrouded by bushes and saplings. After we had all parked, he started us off down a dirt trail and into the bush. He didn’t tell us where we were headed, just “someplace he had to show us”. Although we were a little concerned with his secrecy, we kept on following because we trusted him. Not 500 meters into the trail, he stopped and pointed down. “Take a look at this,” he said, pointing to a fresh bear track in the moist dirt. “That’s fresh – but don’t worry. It is a small bear – likely a cub. If he’s with his mother, they won’t come near us.”

For a moment, I felt that familiar sensation of fear rising in my gut, and I could tell I wasn’t alone. After all, my three kids were with me, along with a whole bunch of other people’s kids! As if on cue, he turned to us and said, “Look, I grew up hanging out in this bush. If I say you’ve got nothing to worry about, you’ve got nothing to worry about! I promise you, this hike is going to be worth it.” So we put our fears aside, trusted his judgment, and forged ahead. We hiked the trail, heading uphill for several more minutes and soon came to a clearing, where there was a pool of shallow fresh water surrounded by a mix of cruciferous and deciduous trees. The pool was being fed by a gentle waterfall. The water was so clear and sparkling that immediately several of the teens in our group including my own kids decided to kick off their shoes and wander in. We thought this was the treat our friend had brought us to see. Instead, he called to us that we had to keep going further into the bush because there was more.

More? By now, we had not just faced our fear of the long forgotten bear cub and his hungry mama, we were entranced with the thrill of the climb – what else might we find on our hike into the bush? As we ventured higher and higher, I could hear something like wind rustling through the trees. We got closer and suddenly below us was a thundering waterfall – an absolutely beautiful sight! The water was rumbling down over a rock face, into a pool below, which then fed the stream that eventually settled at the pool we had only just seen. From where we were standing, we could feel the intensity and the sheer force of the water as it cascaded the rocks, and our faces were kissed with the mist rising from the flow.

Needless to say, after several pictures, dips in the rock pool, and minutes of video footage, we all reluctantly agreed to leave this beautiful spot, and return to our cars. Remarkably, on the way back down the trail, we all carefully stepped over the bear track – some even paused to take pictures of it up close – all without experiencing any fear at all. Isn’t it remarkable that one person’s interpretation of an experience is enough to dissipate the fear response? Perhaps had our friend not been our guide that day, we would have ventured no further, and we would have missed out on experiencing a majestic view of nature up close and personal.

What are you afraid of?  Does that fear serve you, or does it control you?  If you do not learn to master fear, then fear will become your master. Wouldn’t you rather be in control?

Let me share a tool that will help you to face your fears on a conscious, intentional level.  Ask yourself these questions:

  1. What is happening right now?
  2. How do I feel about what is happening right now?
  3. What does this event mean to me? What impact does it have on my life immediately? What is the lifetime value of this event?
  4. How would I like this to turn out? (What outcome do I want?)
  5. What can I do to create the outcome(s) I desire?
  6. What have I been doing so far when situations like this come up?
  7. Has my current plan of action been working? If yes, why – If no, why not?
  8. What is the worst thing that could happen if I try a new approach to this challenge?
  9. What is the best thing that could happen if I try a new approach to this challenge?
  10. What is my plan of action based on everything I know now?
Taking this conscious, objective approach to the fear-inducing stressors in your life will enable you to make informed decisions about how to deal with each stressful event, without panic, anxiety, or fear.

This is an excerpt from chapter 8 of When the Last Straw Falls: 30 Ways to Keep Stress from Breaking Your Back. Available exclusively from

Thursday, September 06, 2012


View Julie Christiansen's profile on LinkedInYesterday, my Facebook post went something like this: “Good bye summer – it was a slice; back to school – hope my students are nice.” This silly little rhyme was followed by a “high five to all the parents who work from home".

While the post was a little tongue in cheek, the sentiments were sincere. I thoroughly enjoyed my summer break from teaching, and was able to work the other aspects of my business at a less frenetic pace. It was an absolute joy having time to read, soak up some sun, and to putter in my garden while ensuring that my patients and customers still received caring, personalized service. Also, like many students and teachers heading back to school, there is always a little hint of anxiety associated with a new start. “Will my teacher be nice? Will the other students be friendly? Will my students be respectful? Will my classroom have air conditioning?” Seriously, every new change brings with it even a slight sense of trepidation, and rightly so.

Finally, I had to give a shout-out to other parents like me who work from a home office. Having the kids home for the summer (whether they are 8 years old or 18) carries another set of happy challenges for home-based entrepreneurs who need to get work done. When your 18 year-old texts you and says “I’m bringing my friends back here from the Mandarin to hang out...” the first question is, “WHEN?” (so you can change out of your pjs), and “How many friends?” (so you can guesstimate how much the noise levels are going to go up in your house), and finally, “For how long?” (meaning – how much work time will I lose? Maybe this is a good time to go to Staples to buy my office supplies). I call this a happy challenge, because even though kids can be a distraction and get in the way of work, they are a home-based working parent’s priority. Being there for them is why we work from home (that and the freedom to work in pyjamas).

All kidding aside, here are some takeaways from a silly Facebook post that may help you in the future.

One: Everyone needs to take a break or slow down now and then. After about five or six years of going hard with work, I decided enough was enough and I desperately needed to slow down. Last summer, in addition to teaching 3 days a week in Toronto, I was working desperately to complete my 300 hours of practicum training for my Master’s Degree, and trying to keep my business customers happy, never mind being available for my kids. Then in the fall, I returned to George Brown College for the regular fall/winter semester, picked up additional hours there, and finished my practicum. Then came the New Year and two more books – one a long job that was finally completed, and another that was written from start to finish in about 45 days. In between all of that I developed and published new curriculum for Anger Solutions. By the time summer came around, it was time to bring it all to a screeching halt. Now, I don’t claim to be any kind of super-woman, I just like to work hard and see great results; but then again, aren’t you just like that too? You work hard, you give your best to your families, children, partners, customers, students, etc., and you love to see positive outcomes. The thing is, that if we don’t take time to step back, take a break, and refresh/recharge, we will eventually crash and burn out. Not everyone has the luxury of taking summers off like teachers do, but when you have an opportunity to take a break – a weekend, a one-week vacation or a three-week holiday – wherever you can find time to recharge, take it.

Two: Every change carries an element of anxiety with it. That doesn’t mean that you should resist change. The truth of the matter is that change is happening all around us. We can either embrace it or we can buck it. Resisting change produces more anxiety and trepidation. Embracing change helps to lessen the anxiety but converting the interpretation of the change event into something exciting rather than something to fear. Just think of little kids who are starting school at the kindergarten level. They have been to JK (in most cases) and already know that leaving Mom and Dad is not as scary as it was last year. But they also might be worried about if their new teacher will be nice of if their friends will still be their friends. On the other hand, they are so excited about their new school gear, and their “first day of school outfits”, that in many cases, they are just bursting to get out of the car and into the school yard. If only we adults could balance those measures of fear and excitement – dealing with change would be a much easier and exciting task.

Three: Happy challenges are all around us. It may be balancing the demands of a home-based business, dealing with rapid growth in your industry, a rash of customer orders that all come in at once that instantly make you super, super busy, or a whiny dog who doesn’t care that you have a newsletter to write – he just wants to go for a walk. I call these happy challenges because they are “good problems” to have. Rapid growth in your industry means opportunity for your business to grow. A rash of orders means that your customers are loyal – they love your product, and it means that you are in demand. A whiny dog is a reminder that every now and then you need to step back from work and just take a break. A quick walk around the neighbourhood with my whiny dog Forrest Gump helps me to clear my head, to breathe, and to keep my heart healthy. It also helps to prevent saddlebag syndrome and numb bum from sitting at my computer for too long. The difference between a happy challenge and a hassle is all in your perception. If you perceive these gifts as problems or pains, that is how you will approach them. If you perceive them as opportunities and pleasures, then you will have less stress and enjoy the journey much more.

P.S.: Bullies are Back to School Too!

For some students, returning to school is a real source of trepidation, not for the reasons listed above, but because of their fear of children who bully. Bullying is a serious issue that is pervasive in both our schools and workplaces; however, there is a new resource for parents seeking to help their children deal effectively with bullying. Bullying is Not a Game: A Parents’ Survival Guide is now available – place your order at . You can also find the book at Heritage Christian Bookstore in the Grantham Plaza St. Catharines.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Help a Niagara Small Business go Full Time

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My friend, Lezlie Harper Wells is taking a step of faith to go full time into her business. Niagara has a rich history and a part of that history includes being part of the route that escaped slaves and abolitionists used to bring slaves to freedom. We can never understand the obstacles, hardship, terror, and uncertainty that faced those who risked their lives to obtain their liberty in this way - but Lezlie's tours help to bring these realities to life for her customers. Lezlie is a direct descendant of Kentucky slaves who followed the underground railroad to Fort Erie where they settled and lived out their lives, and her passion for underground railroad tours shines through in everything she does. Please check out her website on by clicking on her picture above, and donate. As someone who has built a small business from the ground up with no external financial support (loans, grants, fundraising), I know how long and arduous a journey it can be. There were many times, when a little help from some friends would have gone a long long way. I hope you will take a look at Lezlie's proposal and make a small investment in her business success.

Friday, July 06, 2012

Anger Solutions Group Classes in Niagara

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Anger Solutions

Learn How to Deal with Anger and Stress

Is anger interfering with your life? Are you overwhelmed by stress? Wondering how to communicate with the people in your life more effectively? Is anger causing you trouble in your relationships or at your workplace? Have you gotten in trouble with the law because of your anger? Would you like to learn how to respond to other people’s anger?

Sign up for the Anger Solutions class, and in just 4 sessions, (8-hours) you can come to understand what anger is, why anger is such a volatile emotion, and most importantly, you will learn how to express and resolve anger appropriately.

The classes will be facilitated by Julie Christiansen, B.A., M.A. Julie is an expert on anger and stress and is a published author and Master Anger Solutions Coach. Learn more about Anger Solutions by visiting:

All classes take place at 14 Dixie Road, St. Catharines (Off Wood Street between Carlton and Geneva Streets).

The dates for the next class are:

July 24, 2012, 6-8 pm

July 31, 2012, 6-8 pm

August 7, 2012, 6-8 pm

August 14, 2012, 6 – 8 pm

Class Registration: $200.00 + GST* for the full program - includes light refreshments and take-home notes.

Call our toll-free number 1-866-754-6169 or locally,  call 905-329-6169 to get registered.


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

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Anger Solutions™ Train the Trainer Summer 2012 Session

August 22 to 24, 2012

White Oaks Conference Resort and Spa, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario

"...Enjoyed the informal, interesting presentation and feel I have gained confidence, assurance and encouragement to pursue my counselling efforts and development of group therapy. "

"I loved Julie's training style. Interactive, respectful and just an all-around pleasure to listen to. An excellent, comprehensive package. "

Why Anger Solutions™?

• Anger Solutions™ increases awareness of anger precursors

• Self esteem and assertiveness components teach effective strategies for expressing anger

• Provides alternatives to violence or risk taking behaviours

• Everything you need to run an effective group counseling or coaching sessions in one package

• Full Toolkit for Facilitator Training also included

• No more repeated trips to the library or on the internet for hours of research : Anger Solutions™ is “plug and play” – all the tools you need are listed in the manual

• Success rate of this program is over 85%. Email to request your FREE report on the difference between Anger Solutions™ and traditional Anger Management

• Tools to measure your program’s success are provided

• Having Certified Trainers on-site ensures program continuity despite staff turnover

• One year membership to the Canadian Association of Anger Solutions Providers is included in tuition

• Position your agency as the source of Anger Solutions™ Training for your geographical area

Registration Fee: $1,395 per person*

*Special Discounts available: Fee for Certified Anger Solutions Facilitators $995

 Call 1-866-754-6169 to get registered

To enroll in the One Day Boot Camp August 22nd, call 1-866-754-6169

REGISTRATION DEADLINE is July 30, 2012. You will be provided with registration confirmation, with details regarding the training agenda as well as directions to the facility if you are coming from out of town. Registration fee includes resource materials, renewable non-exclusive license to use Anger Solutions™ and a one-year Certified Trainer Level membership to the Canadian Association of Anger Solutions™ Professionals. Cancellations prior to July 30h are subject to a 25% cancellation fee. Late cancellations and no-shows are non-refundable. Please email us at or call Julie at 1-866-754-6169 to request a complete workshop information package.

Friday, May 11, 2012

New Guide for Parents Shines a Light on Bullying


Local Authors Shine a Light on Bullying in New Guide for Parents

Niagara Falls, ON: Imagine what it must be like to be the parent of a bullied child, to feel helpless after countless calls to the school to complain about the bullying behaviour, only to be told it has been taken care of. Imagine the hours that might be spent seeking out resources in the school or in the community to help a traumatized child recover from repeated incidents of bullying. How do concerned parents ensure that their child will be safe at school, maintain a balanced home life, and navigate the system to secure timely and appropriate support services for their child? Laurie Flasko’s daughter, Amanda was bullied through her final year of elementary school and into high school. The bullying was so severe that Amanda became ill, suicidal, and developed post-traumatic stress disorder. Bullying is Not a Game: A Parents’ Survival Guide details the Flasko family’s journey as they navigated the school, legal, medical, and mental health systems to secure a safe place for Amanda, and to move along the road to recovery.

In Bullying is Not a Game, Laurie Flasko and Julie Christiansen share practical advice and tips for parents on how to “get through and survive” the experience of bullying. Flasko and Christiansen acknowledge that bullying is becoming too much the norm rather than the exception in our schools. They also recognize that with more and more children taking their lives as a result of bullying, that society is at the tipping point, and radical change must take place in order for this trend to be reversed. “We hope that this new book will serve as a practical guide for parents of bullied children, to show them that there is hope, and that recovery is possible. We stress that the parents are their child’s best advocate, and provide a host of resources to help parents navigate the very muddy waters of bullying”.

Bullying is Not a Game is endorsed by Dr. Debra Pepler of York University who wrote the foreword. It also includes submissions from Barbara Coloroso, Niagara Regional Police Services, the District School Board of Niagara, the Distress Centre, the John Howard Society, and several community stakeholders and private practitioners who are concerned about the effects of bullying. The book will be released on May 29th, 2012 at White Oaks Conference Resort and Spa. This event is open to the public.


Event Details:

Book Launch

Tuesday, May 29, 2012 at 7 p.m.

White Oaks Conference Resort and Spa

RSVP: or

For Interviews Contact:

Julie Christiansen

Laurie Flasko

• According to, Bully-related suicide can be connected to any type of bullying, including physical bullying, emotional bullying, cyberbullying, and sexting, or circulating suggestive or nude photos or messages about a person.

• Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death in Canadian youth age 10-24

• Bully victims are between 2 to 9 times more likely to consider suicide than non-victims, according to studies by Yale University

• A study in Britain found that at least half of suicides among young people are related to bullying

• 10 to 14 year old girls may be at even higher risk for suicide, according to the study above

• According to statistics reported by ABC News, nearly 30 percent of students are either bullies or victims of bullying, and 160,000 kids stay home from school every day because of fear of bullying

• While relational or social bullying is the most severe and causes the most damage, research shows that most teachers without specialized training see relational bullying as the least severe form of bullying, and will most often do nothing to intervene when they see social bullying occurring

• Research demonstrates that “bullying results in ... severe psychological trauma and PTSD symptoms similar to those found in complex PTSD characteristic of battered women and childhood abuse” (

About the Authors:

Laurie Flasko - Laurie Flasko is a wife, daughter, sister, friend but her most important accomplishment is mom to a beautiful successful young woman. She is also a professional speaker, coach and trainer. She brings twenty years of experience in the fields of leadership, customer service, and teambuilding. Genuinely committed to the success of others, she inspires her audience to reach for extraordinary. Laurie is a member of Canadian Speakers Association as well as the National Speakers Association. Visit

Julie Christiansen - An internationally recognized speaker, and published author, Julie Christiansen brings close to 20 years experience in group and individual counseling. Branded as “Oprah for the Office” and “The Anger Lady” by her clients, she has been compared to the likes of Brian Tracy and Jack Canfield. She holds a B.A. in Psychology and a M.A. in Counselling Psychology, and teaches Psychology at George Brown College. Julie created the Anger Solutions™ Program, which is now in use in several cities across Canada and internationally. As an expert on anger and stress, Julie is a sought after guest expert for print, television, and radio media. Her passion lies in helping people to create radical, positive, and lasting change through her coaching, training, and corporate programs – all provided by her company, Leverage U. She is the author of several books including Getting Past Your Past (Audio), Anger Solutions, When the Last Straw Falls, and Anger Solutions by the Book. Visit or

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Write a Book about Anger in 30 Days? Done!

View Julie Christiansen's profile on LinkedInAbout 33 days ago, I posted on Twitter and Facebook that I intended to write a brand new book in 30 days. My last book project took three years... count 'em... that's 365 days times 3, and we are still awaiting a press date. So I suppose that my insane objective of putting a book together from outline to cover within 30 days was beyond ambitious, and perhaps my way of shaking off the doldrums of a previously drawn out process. By posting my intentions through social media, I had ALL the motivation and accountability one could ask for. And so it began, with the formulation of an outline. After three tries, I had an outline I could work with. Chapters one and two flowed fairly effortlessly out of me, and I had them completed within the first two days (the introduction as well). Chapters three and four followed along at about the same pace, and I marvelled at how easily the ideas were pouring out in a way that was coherent and ordered. Somewhere between chapters five and seven, I realized that I had some notes lurking around from 1998 when I first thought of writing on this topic, but alas when I found them, three or four pages were missing of the 8 page document. So I went on a hunt for my floppy disks and then realized that we no longer have a computer with a floppy disk drive - what to do? My next step was heading off to the computer supply store and purchasing an external floppy drive for my laptop. Armed with this new piece of hardware, I went on a search for my lost files, and found them - on the VERY LAST disk I had to check! Sadly, much of what I thought was missing, I had already written into the new manuscript, but I was glad to find the lost notes all the same. In the middle of this, I got an order for a product that hadn't been created yet, which meant I had to create a brand new workbook and an accompanying manual for Anger Solutions facilitators to use with youth - I worked three days straight on that project, and spent another designing a cover and proofreading/editing, and off that one went to the printers. So having lost four days on my book writing project, I had to get my butt in gear. Also, during this time, I arranged to have a cover designed with my three time designer, Mark Beaudry of Couch Studio ( The clock was ticking, and I had to keep myself in line. I worked on the project whenever I had a spare moment, in between grading students, prepping to teach my new in-class courses, and seeing patients. Soon it was taking shape with only two chapters left to write. This brought me to Day 22. The last two chapters digressed from my outline which had served me well up until that point. While I tried to pull my thoughts together for the closure of the book, I went back to the beginning and did a once through, proofreading, editing, and making changes or expanding on some ideas that seemed a little thin. The final sentence of the last chapter was completed around 1:30 p.m. on February 20th, Day 28. I sent the completed manuscript to a colleague to do one final proofread for me, and sent out letters requesting celebrity endorsements for the book. So here we are at 33 days, and I have just received the final cut of my book cover design, and now it's time for the big reveal.

Yes - I said I would write a book in 30 days, and I did it. I actually can't believe it - but there it is. In all truth, I left off from writing this book for 14 years because I was afraid that I would not be able to do it, and when it came down to it, this was the easiest bit of work I have ever done! I am very proud of it, and will post little excerpts from it in the coming weeks so you can have a taste of the content. The book will be officially unveiled at Faith Tabernacle in Ottawa on the weekend of March 30th, but for now, here's a look at the cover.

Anger Solutions By the Book: Biblical Principles for Resolving Anger will soon be available through my website,, as well as through Facebook (once I figure out how to do that!) :).

To everyone who cheered me on and gave me your support, thanks very much!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Anger Management Gone Wrong in Florida

View Julie Christiansen's profile on LinkedInSo here's what came across the Anger Solutions news desk this morning, and I had to share... anger management only gets a small honorable mention in this story; however, it is notable to see that the events of this story played out immediately following an anger management class. To be fair, people who go to anger management classes with no intention to learn or change, will do neither. They will only get their certificate to prove to the judge that they attended and that seems to be enough.

Sadly, for the victim of this crime, the perpetrator's attendance to anger management was not enough in this case. Here's the story - the original version of which can be found at this link:
Fowler gets 30 years
Published: Wednesday, January 25, 2012
MILLARD K. IVES Staff Writer
A man who killed his friend in anger, less than a day after leaving an anger management class, has been sentenced to 30 years in prison after pleading guilty to second-degree murder.
Jimmie Nathan Fowler, 29, apparently believed his estranged wife, Ruth Brown, was cheating with his friend, Willi Culpepper, when he shot him to death last year in Fowler's Montclaire Road home in Leesburg, according to Lake County sheriff's officials and prosecutors.
"He just wouldn't believe there wasn't anything going on between them," prosecutor Bill Gross said of Fowler.
A plea deal made this month calls for Fowler to serve at least 29 years of the sentence. He could have received life if convicted in a jury trial.
Fowler allegedly told his estranged wife afterwards that he had shot someone. He also told deputies where they could find the murder weapon.
According to Gross, the shooting occurred the early morning of June 19, 2011, apparently after Fowler, Culpepper and the latter's "almost" fiancee, Marry Kollydas, and others spent the wee hours of the morning drinking and doing drugs at Fowler's home.
Gross said Fowler was convinced that his wife, who had just moved out their home, and Culpepper were sleeping together, "maybe because they were seen at a bar at the same time."
Culpepper and Kollydas went to Fowler's home on June 18 in an attempt to convince Fowler he wasn't cheating with his estranged wife.
Gross added Fowler had just got home from an anger management meeting.
Culpepper thought he had convinced Fowler there was nothing going on between him and Brown, and even invited him to his home for dinner.
Afterward, the three went back to Fowler's home with at least one other person where a night of partying spilled into the next morning.
Gross said Culpepper was about to leave the home shortly before 6 a.m. when Fowler pulled out a .357-caliber handgun
According to an arrest affidavit, Kollydas told deputies that Fowler, went to a bedroom, grabbed a handgun out of a black bag under the bed, came back to the living room, and shot Culpepper in the arm and abdomen.
"Are you kidding me?" Culpepper allegedly said.
When Culpepper asked Fowler why he shot him, he responded, "Because you've been (messing) with my girl."
Fowler fled before being captured by deputies, the affidavit added. Culpepper was later pronounced dead at Leesburg Regional Medical Center.
Want to know about a viable alternative to anger management classes? Visit

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Anger Solutions: Pain vs. Pleasure

View Julie Christiansen's profile on LinkedIn
People are always asking, "What makes Anger Solutions so much more effective than traditional anger management?" This is no simple question - as there are many facets of Anger Solutions that come together to make it an exceptional program. Today I want to share with you one of our great leveraging tools that help to contribute to our continued success. You heard about this a little from a previous posting in which I shared the story of Trey, and how I used pain as leverage to move him towards where he wanted to be.

This leveraging tool first conceptualized by Sigmund Freud is called, "The Pain/Pleasure Principle". It simply states that: Human beings will do more to avoid pain than they will to obtain pleasure.

Think about that for a minute: Human beings will do more to avoid pain than they will to obtain pleasure.

Ain't that the truth! Women will endure a great deal of abuse before they opt to leave a relationship. Employees will often put up with harrassment, put-downs, poor leadership, and all sorts of workplace challenges before they decide to leave a job. People will put up with all sorts of misbehaviour from loud, rowdy neighbours before they decide to call the police, start community action, or move to a quieter street. We have known this for years... that we must be highly frustrated or dissatisfied with a situation before we will attempt to make a change.

Why is this? Perhaps because there is safety in what we know. You've heard that old statement: "Better the devil you know than the devil you don't..." There is also a certain fear that is associated with changing - perhaps we will make the mistake of going from the frying pan into the fire.

This is also true when it comes to making behavioural change. It is so easy to do what we've always done - especially when there is some benefit in our current choice of action. Even if your present anger style is causing you pain, if you get the least amount of payoff from it, you will likely continue to use your old style because it is less painful than the perceived pain of trying to create change. We do this all the time - choose what we perceive to be the "lesser pain" rather than opting for what will bring us the "greater pleasure" in the long run.

Here's an example: Jon Smith is angry at his wife. He doesn't know how to talk to her without hurting her feelings, so he hides his anger by going out to the bars after work. This is causing him pain as well - because he is in effect alienating his wife and creating more distance between them. However, the perceived pain of confrontation is too much for him to handle so he avoids it by choosing the "lesser pain" of retreating to the bars. Jon's problem is that he has not considered the "greater pleasure" of what might happen if he sits down with his wife and has that difficult conversation. He is too afraid of the immediate discomfort and cannot see past that to how his relationship with his wife might be better if they just talk it out.

Anger Solutions challenges this way of thinking and encourages people to address the pain/pleasure principle on a conscious level. This proves to be an incredible leveraging tool - try it for yourself!

How would you apply the principle of pleasure and pain to the following situations?

1. Quitting smoking

2. Foolish binge spending

3. Losing you temper at work

Here's a Hint:

List the perceived benefits of each behaviour (or the "lesser pain") and remember what William Glasser says: "People do what makes sense to them..." If there is even a little benefit in the behaviour although it is painful, people will continue to do it.List the downside - what is truly painful about this behaviour (the "greater pain")?

Identify why it doesn't make sense. The key here is to emphasize the painful aspects or consequences of the behaviour...

Ask yourself: If by changing my behaviour, I could achieve the same or better feeling of pleasure without experiencing so much pain, would I change?