Treatment for a Child with Anxiety and Where to Find a Clinical Psychologist in Wynnum
When children show signs of anxiety, their parents often think it will disappear on its own – that the child is simply shy or nervous and will grow out of it. Sometimes, that’s the case; other times, the anxiety can become so overwhelming that it can interfere with the child’s quality of life and even the life of their family. If this happens, it’s essential to seek the help of a child psychologist in Wynnum.
Anxiety left untreated usually worsens over time because the child learns avoidance behaviours, which help temporarily. However, avoidance actually only exacerbates the problem in the long run as the child and possibly even the entire family works to avoid triggering the fear. Thus, the fear only grows more powerful.
Children with anxiety are often prescribed medication, just like adults. However, many people are unaware that there is another option that doesn’t involve drugs. Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) can be very helpful in treating anxiety in children. Unlike medication, CBT provides children with the tools they need to manage their own anxiety, both now and in the future.
What is CBT?
CBT is based on the belief that our thoughts and actions both affect our feelings. When we intentionally change dysfunctional behaviour and distorted thinking, we can change what we feel. When it comes to children, the focus is usually on behaviour – unlearning avoidance.
Exposure therapy is an important CBT technique. This involves exposing the child to situations that trigger anxiety in a safe, structured environment and giving them the tools they need to face their fears and, eventually, their anxiety is reduced or even eliminated. During talk therapy, the patient explores the anxiety’s origins in an attempt to change their behaviour. In exposure therapy, on the other hand, the patient focuses on changing their behaviour to treat the fear. CBT can be effective in treating many different types of anxiety including phobias, social anxiety, separation anxiety, and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).
The first step in exposure therapy is identifying triggers. Children are exposed to their triggers in their mildest forms at first and then gradually build from there. For example, if a child is afraid of dogs, they might confront their fears by looking at pictures of dogs, writing the word “dog,” or watching a video of a cartoon dog before watching a video of a real dog and, finally, coming into contact with a real dog in person. This allows kids to see that some of their fears are more manageable than they thought and gives them a sense of power over their anxiety.
Finding a clinical psychologist in Wynnum
If you’re looking for a clinical psychologist in Wynnum, Michelle Barratt Psychology can help. We treat patients of all ages and those with a wide range of problems including anxiety, depression, eating disorders, trauma, and more. We focus on evidence-based interventions such as CBT that are designed to help patients achieve the best possible outcomes. Contact Michelle Barratt Psychology today for more information.