Author: Michelle Barratt - Clinical Psychologist, and Clinical Director of Michelle Barratt Psychology, a Brisbane and Redland Bay Clinical Psychology Practice - Promoting the Healthy Wellbeing for Children and Adolescents.

The following information on Anxiety will give you some insight to what Anxiety is and how it presents. 

Michelle Barratt Psychology aims to provide treatment for anxiety at the highest standard; implementing support and treatment that not only endeavours to support a person feel heard and understood, but a treatment plan that empowers their clients to reverse and work through the causal factors of anxiety or depression in order that they can implement preventative strategies to help protect them in the future.  We aim to support all children, all adolescents, and all adults, couples and family's work through their depression to succeed in their ultimate wellbeing. If you are unsure about what you are dealing with, please don't hesitate to contact us to support you through the next step of either working out what to do or how to proceed with an appointment.



Adolescents experiencing anxiety of any form can be incredibly inhibiting for them.

Anxiety is experienced by children and adolescents for a number of reasons: Feeling threatened, experiencing or having experienced high levels of conflict, fear, feeling helpless, having their basic needs unmet, experiencing severe health issues, peer pressure, isolation and being bullied and could be experienced after an incident of trauma or long periods of trauma.

Impact of Anxiety:

Often it can limit or inhibit the enriched experiences parents wish for their children to have so that they can learn and grow within themselves. Anxiety can inhibit an adolescent’s ability to build strong and secure bonds with peers and thus social skills that they require to develop and forge more opportunities for themselves are again lost. Most importantly anxiety can inhibit a child or adolescent to build high self-esteem, self-worth and acquire the confidence they need to go out and enjoy the things they often only imagine or dream of doing. Severe anxiety can cause low concentration, poor memory and can at times develop high levels of stress for the child or adolescent because they can feel themselves getting behind in school and this is where parents offer struggle with school refusal with their children.

As mentioned above, anxiety can impact on a child's ability to make friends, and impair their ability to feel heard and understood as very important people. All parents want their children to grow up healthy, confident, strong and happy within themselves and this is where psychological therapy can support your child and or adolescent.

Psychological interventions or psychological treatments such as understanding their anxiety and its triggers, as well as play therapy, role playing and imaginal and or exposure therapy can go a long way toward helping children manage and alleviate their anxiety. For adults, Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) can be an effective intervention for anxiety. It is therefore imperative that if you see any signs of anxiety that it is addressed as soon as possible.

Some signs of anxiety from three different parts of our functioning:

  • Behavioural Symptoms

  • Cognitive Symptoms

  • Physical Symptoms

Physical symptoms of anxiety

  • Blushing

  • Sweating

  • Shaking/trembling

  • DizzinessTachycardia, rapid heartbeat

  • Muscle tension

  • Nausea

  • Numbness or tingling in arms, hands or legs

  • Diarrhoea

  • Headaches

  • Butterflies in the stomach

  • Nail biting

Behavioural symptoms of anxiety

  • Agitation/restlessness

  • Pacing

  • Pressured speech

  • Fidgeting with ones hands

  • Avoidance of feared situations or objects

Cognitive symptoms of anxiety

  • Confusion

  • Inability to concentrate

  • Mind going blank

  • Recurrent thoughts


Research has found that men, women, children and adolescents have all been found to struggle with depression.  Depression is not an illness that suddenly occurs overnight; rather it is considered as an insidious illness that stealthily develops within a person over time where, one day a person might wake up to discover that they are feeling overwhelmingly sad, demotivated, with little energy or pleasure to engage in the things they used to.  Sometimes people say they cannot remember when it all began, or when they felt depressed for the first time, they just know they don’t feel right – that something deep inside them is different. 


Although there are similar factors that show in depression for men, women, children and adolescents; for example (and not all of them need to exist at the same time), it needs to be understood that depression can present itself differently from one person to the next and that there can all also be many different causes too. 

For your children, and adolescents alike, you might notice the following symptoms: 

  • Little to no self-worth - not making good decisions to support themselves in school or with their peers.

  • Change in sleeping patterns – ‘struggling to fall asleep’ ‘waking up’ at night and not being able to fall back to sleep and struggling to wake up in the morning when you wake.

  • Change in appetite.

  • Loss of weight or weight gain by 5% of your standard general weight in the last couple of weeks.

  • Less ability to control emotions: e.g., increased levels of pessimism, anger, guilt, irritability and anxiety.

  • Appetite is usually reduced, and may individuals feel that they have to force themselves to eat.  Not wanting to sit at the dinner table with the family, or not eating their lunch.

  • Lower levels of tolerance than usual.

  • Emotions experienced during the day are incredibly variable: for example, feeling better in the morning but increasingly unhappy as the day progresses.

  • Reduced capacity to find pleasure in doing things or in what one ‘used to’ find pleasure in and,

  • Not looking forward to doing things anymore – even when exciting things are planned that used get them excited.

  • When they withdraw from their hobbies. 

  • Reduced pain tolerance: you are less able to tolerate aches and pains and may have a host of new ailments.

  • Changed sex drive: absent or reduced

  • Poor concentration and memory, and unwillingness to address homework requirements: 

  • Reduced motivation: it doesn’t seem worth the effort like it did before to do anything – a real sense of ‘meaninglessness’

  • Lowered levels of energy and disengagement.

  • Social impairment – difficulty dealing with work or relationships, and a withdrawal from their friends.

  • There may be frequent reference to death, suicide ideation, or suicide attempts.  These thoughts can range from a believe that others would be better off if the person ‘with depression’ was dead, to other recurrent thoughts of committing suicide to actual plans on how to do it.

Please note: that in regards to any thoughts of suicide – that immediate support is recommended, please dial 000 and review the Crisis Support Section on Contact Us


Psychological Therapy for children and adolescents can help them understand what the causal factors are for them having developed depression.  It provides them with the insight to begin to understand themselves, and discover how they operate best within their inner world and interact with their outer world or environment.  Once they develop an awareness of their needs, and possibly what was missing for them, we can teach them coping strategies to ensure they can communicate more effectively to obtain their needs, as well as develop behaviour strategies and routines that optimise their functioning.  We review their problem solving, time-management, organisational, and communcation skills, and ensure they increase thier skills to make these areas in thier life as effective as possible. 


As children grow and become adolescents they develop a different appreciation for peer relationships, and so we evaluate their social skills and check in with any ruptures in they might have experienced in the past so that they can understand what they need to develop int terms of social skills building as well improve their self-esteem and resilience.

Please don't hesitate to contact us to discuss how we can support your child.  If you suspect they have depression, anxiety, adhd, or are self-harming, please feel free to call us or email us in the contact form below to set up a Parent Appointment to discuss the best support for your child, or to just obtain advice or support for us to support you on what best to do next.


Author: Michelle Barratt - Clinical Psychologist, and Clinical Director of Michelle Barratt Psychology, a Brisbane and Redland Bay Clinical Psychology Practice - Promoting the Healthy Wellbeing for Children and Adolescents.


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Qld 4066.

Tel: 0411 731 516

Fax: (07) 3009 0075


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Michelle Barratt is a Fellow of the Clinical College at the Australian Psychological Society.