It’s normal for children to experience fear and anxiety in response to some different situations from a very early age. In many children the anxiety or fear response is very short term and may even assist in performing well if at a low-moderate level. However, anxiety can also have a big impact on a child’s life which can be in the form of separation anxiety, specific phobias, social anxiety and trauma-related.
The anxiety response can be in a child’s behaviour, how they think about the situation and what they experience in their body physically. For many children, they are unaware of what is happening and the response to the anxiety itself can become part of the problem. For example, in an attempt to get rid of the feeling that comes with having anxiety, children will often try to avoid the situation that causes it. In some situations, this can be a helpful response to get them out of danger, or for them to know that they are not feeling safe. In other situations, it can be harmful to continue avoiding the situation as it may negatively impact on their quality of life i.e. not participating in an event or being involved in something that they would enjoy but may be anxious about it.
What kind of treatment is available?
Psychological treatment for anxiety in children is mainly cognitive behavioural therapy based which assists the child to explore the thoughts, feelings and behaviours of the situation that makes them feel anxious. This therapy aims to create a more balanced and helpful way of thinking about the situation as well as to reduce some of the behaviours that may keep the anxiety occurring.
At Wellbeing Therapy Space, we agree that based on research, the involvement of parents and caregivers in psychological treatment for anxiety in children is very important. Firstly, it can reinforce what is learnt in sessions at home and hopefully provide support and encouragement to undertake small challenging tasks. Secondly, it has been found that some of the thought processes that increase anxiety have been found in a child’s primary caregiver in the early stages of life. Therefore, it is vital that an awareness of how the situation is responded to is consistent with parents and caregivers from what was learnt in treatment.
Wellbeing Therapy Space can assist children to manage anxiety, and where possible, work closely with parents and caregivers to increase the benefits of therapy to ensure that they are long term and help the child’s well-being and enjoyment in life.
Author: Kara Travouillon
For more information contact Kara via this link.
Photo by Mike Wilson of Unsplash