Acceptance And commitment therapy (Act)
ACT is based in a contextual theory of language and cognition known as relational frame theory and makes use of a number of therapeutic strategies, many of which are borrowed from other approaches. ACT helps individuals increase their acceptance of the full range of subjective experiences, including distressing thoughts, beliefs, sensations, and feelings, in an effort to promote desired behaviour change that will lead to improved quality of life. A key principle is that attempts to control unwanted subjective experiences (e.g., anxiety) are often only ineffective but even counterproductive, in that they can result in a net increase in distress, result in significant psychological costs, or both. Consequently, individuals are encouraged to contact their experiences fully and without defence while moving toward valued goals. ACT also helps individuals indentify their values and translate them into specific behavioral goals.
ACT has good evidence to be effective for Chronic pain.
Our therapists at LifeWorks are able to carry out suitability assessment for Act therapy. Please contact our staff for more details.
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Psychological services for children and adolescents
Children and adolescents may need help with a wide range of issues at different points in their lives. Parents may also need help and advice to deal with behavioural or other problems their child is experiencing.
Mental health problems in young people can lead to tragic consequences, including suicide, substance abuse, inability to live independently, involvement with the correctional system, failure to complete high school, lack of vocational success, and health problems.
We offer mental health services and support for children and young people who have difficulties with their emotional or behavioral wellbeing. We adapt a comprehensive mental health care approach for children and adolescents where appropriate treatments are used.
Psychological services for children and adolescents
Depression refers to a group of symptoms and behaviors clustered around three core alterations in experience: changes in mood, in thinking and in activity, sufficient to cause impairment in personal and/or social functioning. Mood changes typically include sadness and/or irritability accompanied by a loss of pleasure, even in cherished interests.
In Children and adolescents the presenting features may be behavioral consequences of their internal mental state. Self-harm, disinterest in general appearance, withdrawal and loss of interest may all reflect an emerging or current depressive disorder. This is increasingly likely if these behavioral features cluster together in time.
Other more non-specific behaviors that should evoke concern for an abnormality in mental state include promiscuity, sudden unexplained and persistent levels of irritability and aggression and deterioration in schoolwork for no apparent reason. The latter set of behavioral changes is not indicative of a depressive disorder but should encourage those working with children to consider this possibility.
There is evidence for cognitive behaviour therapy and family therapy in the treatment of depression in adolescents and children. LifeWorks Holistic Counselling centers offers CBT for children and adolescents going through depression.
Anxiety is useful in certain situations, some of the time. But, children who suffer from an anxiety disorder experience fear, nervousness, shyness, and avoidance of places and activities that persist despite the helpful efforts of parents, caretakers, and teachers. Children who experience a specific list of anxious symptoms, more frequently and intensely than peers, are more likely to also experience significant disruption in their lives. This disruption can interrupt or even stop him or her from participating in a variety of typical childhood experiences such as: attending school, joining social, athletic or recreational clubs, meeting age expected demands such as sleeping through the night, doing homework, and making friends.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
Children and teens with this disorder worry excessively and uncontrollably about daily life events. Their worries include fear of bad things happening in the future such as global warming or parents divorcing, being on time or making mistakes, a loved one becoming ill or dying, personal health, academic performance, world events, and natural disasters.
Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)
Children and teens with this disorder have obsessions, or unwanted thoughts, images, or urges that make them anxious or uncomfortable, and/or they engage in compulsions (repetitive physical or mental behaviors) in an attempt to reduce their anxiety or discomfort. Some compulsions may include repeated hand washing, checking, tapping, or mental routines (such as counting backwards from 100 and selecting “good” images to think about). An example of an obsession is “I might get sick and die from touching a bathroom door,” followed by the compulsion of washing hands for 5 minutes to reduce the anxiety and perceived likelihood of becoming sick.
Phobias are characterized by persistent, excessive and unreasonable fears of an object or situation, which significantly interferes with life, and the child or teen is unable to control his/her fear. Some common phobias for children and teens include fear of dogs and insects, swimming, heights, loud noises, and injections (needles).
Children and teens have an intense fear of social and/or performance situations because they worry about doing something embarrassing or being negatively judged by others. They may avoid social activities such as going to parties, performing in recitals, speaking to peersor adults, or even going to school.
Treatment of Anxiety Disorders:
At LifeWorks Holistic Counselling center we offer talking therapies such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) to address your needs and the type of anxiety you present with. We can help children going through these conditions.
CBT can help you understand and deal with the causes of your anxiety and our therapists are trained to help you find strategies to cope.
Although CBT is the first line of treatment, occasionally CBT does not work on its own. We have a psychiatrist who is available to discuss medication to help if your anxiety problem has not got much better. A type of antidepressant known as an SSRI is most commonly used.
Children and teens could have PTSD if they have lived through an event that could have caused them or someone else to be killed or badly hurt. Such events include sexual or physical abuse or other violent crimes. Disasters such as floods, school shootings, car crashes, or fires might also cause PTSD. Other events that can cause PTSD are war, a friend’s suicide, or seeing violence in the area they live.
Unfortunately many sufferers do not seek treatment, but PTSD rarely resolves itself without professional help. The longer a person suffers from PTSD the harder treatment becomes, so we encourage any sufferers or guardians of sufferers to seek treatment as soon as possible. It is also more difficult to treat complex PTSD resulting from multiple and sustained trauma or abuse than it is to treat PTSD caused by a single trauma.
The psychological treatments that are likely to be offered are Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR) or Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT).
As a child grows and develops, he learns different skills. These skills are known as developmental milestones. There is normal variation around what age children will achieve a specific developmental milestone. Developmental delay refers to a child who is not achieving milestones within the age range of that normal variability. Most often, at least initially, it is difficult or impossible to determine whether the delay is a marker of a long-term issue with development or learning or whether the child will ‘catch-up’ and be ‘typical’ in their development and learning.
It is important to identify developmental delays early so that treatment can minimize the effects of the problem. Children with delayed development manifest heightened behavior problems and thus appropriate therapies to address these issues play an important role in over all progress.
Autism spectrum disorders (ASD)
Autism spectrum disorder is characterized by social-interaction difficulties, communication challenges and a tendency to engage in repetitive behaviors. However, symptoms and their severity vary widely across these three core areas. Taken together, they may result in relatively mild challenges for someone on the high functioning end of the autism spectrum. For others, symptoms may be more severe, as when repetitive behaviors and lack of spoken language interfere with everyday life.
Each child or adult with ASD is unique. Treatments and supports that work for one may not work for another. As a result, each person’s treatment plan should follow a thorough evaluation of strengths as well as challenges.Behavioral therapies are the foundation of treatment for most children on the autism spectrum. When behavioral therapies are not enough to curb harmful behaviors, the family may want to discuss other options, such as adding medication, with their child’s doctor.
At LifeWorks Holistic counselling center we provide assessment and therapeutic services for children with development delays. Please discuss with our staff for more details.
We carry out the following assessment s for kids with development delays to help you guide through the process and also for School report making purposes.
- Intake assessment ( usually an interview with Parents )
- School observation sessions
- Observation of Child in a therapy setting ( at LWHCC)
- Different categories of assessments i.e Psychoeducational assessment , Psychoeducational and IQ assessments Psycho diagnostic assessments
- Parent feedback and preparation of School reports
- Feed back to School staff, Teachers, Learning support assistants to support formulate therapy goals.
Please note that a Child may require one or the other assessment s depending on the need and indication.
Our therapists are able to use a range of rating scales and Psychometric -computer based as part of various assessments shown above.
Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder is a neurobehavioral disorder characterized by a combination of inattentiveness, distractibility, hyperactivity, and impulsive behavior. Symptoms include difficulties with attention to tasks, being forgetful in daily activities, difficulties in organizing, and following through. Hyperactivity symptoms can include being fidgety, restless, talking or interrupting others excessively and being impulsive.
ADHD is generally identified early in life and manifests through behavioral problems in school, or difficulty understanding, completing tasks or being easily distracted by others. It is estimated that unto 5 percent of school-age children are diagnosed with ADHD; with boys receiving the diagnosis more often than girls. Females are more likely to present with inattentive features. Untreated ADHD has been shown to have long-term adverse affects on academic performance, vocational success, relationships with others, and social-emotional development.
ADHD is successfully treated with both therapy and medications. Therapy provides skills to help the person more easily direct themselves to tasks and assignments as well as become more knowledgeable about their behavior to regulate it better.
Our therapists at LifeWorks Holistic Counseling will carry out a holistic assessment of your child/adolescents needs to guide you through the therapy.
Please discuss with our staff for more details.
1. What is it?
Tests and exams can be a challenging for any one, particularly for children as it is part of school life for children and young people and their parents orcarers. But there are ways to ease the stress.
2. What are the symptoms of exam stress in children?
Children and young people who experience stress may:
- Worry a lot
- Feel tense
- Get lots of headaches and stomach pains
- Not sleep well
- Be irritable
- Lose interest in food or eat more than normal
- Not enjoy activities they previously enjoyed
- Seem negative and low in their mood
- Seem hopeless about the future
3.What are the treatment modalities at LWHCC for exam stress?>
Having someone to talk to about their work can help. Support from a parent, tutor or study buddy can help young people share their worries and keep things in perspective.
Encourage your child to talk to a member of school staff who they feel is supportive. If you feel your child isn’t coping, it may also be helpful for you to talk to their teachers at school. Try to involve your child as much as possible.
Some young people feel much better once exams are over, but that’s not the case for all young people. If your child’s anxiety or low mood is severe, persists and interferes with their everyday life, it’s a good idea to get some help. A visit to LWHCC is a good place to start.
4.What can you do to help your child?
- A balanced diet is vital for your child’s health, and can help them to feel well during exam periods.Some parents find that too many high-fat, high-sugar and high-caffeine foods and drinks (such as cola, sweets, chocolate, burgers and chips) make their children hyperactive, irritable and moody. Where possible involve your child in shopping for food and encourage them to choose some healthy snacks.
- Good sleep will improve thinking and concentration. Most teenagers need between 8 and 10 hours’ sleep a night.Allow half an hour or so for kids to wind down between studying, watching TV or using a computer and going to bed to help them get a good night’s sleep. Sleep will benefit your child far more than a few hours of panicky last-minute study.
- Be flexible around exam time. When your child is revising all day, don’t worry about household jobs that are left undone or untidy bedrooms.Staying calm yourself can help. Remember, exams don’t last forever.Make sure your child has somewhere comfortable to study. Ask them how you can best support them with their revision.
- Help them to study. help them to come up with practical ideas that will help them revise, such as drawing up a revision schedule or getting hold of past papers for practice.To help with motivation, encourage your child to think about their goals in life and see how their revision and exams are related to them.
- Talk about exam nervousness. Remind your child that feeling anxious is normal. Nervousness is a natural reaction to exams.If anxiety seems to be getting in the way rather than helping, encourage your child to practice the sort of activities they will be doing on the day of the exam. This will help it feel less scary on the day.Help your child to face their fears and see these activities through rather than escape or avoid them. Encourage them to think through what they do know and the time they have already put into studying to help them feel more confident.
- Encourage exercise during exams. Exercise can help boost energy levels, clear the mind and relieve stress. It doesn’t matter what it is – walking, cycling, swimming, football and dancing are all effective.Activities that involve other people can be particularly helpful.
- Everyone is different. Help them to remember that everyone’s different and to try not to compare themselves to their friends.
- Don’t add to the pressure
Sometimes most children’s pressure at exam time comes from their family.Try to listen to your child, give support and avoid criticism.Before they go in for a test or exam, be reassuring and positive. Let them know that failing isn’t the end of the world. If things don’t go well they may be able to take the exam again.After each exam, encourage your child to talk it through with you. Talk about the parts that went well rather than focusing on the questions they had difficulties with. Then move on and focus on the next test, rather than dwelling on things that can’t be changed.
- Make time for treats
Think through with your child some rewards for doing revision and getting through each exam.Rewards don’t need to be big or expensive. They can include simple things like making their favorite meal or watching TV.When the exams are over, help your child celebrate by organizing an end-of-exams treat.
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD):
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a group of behavioural symptoms that include inattentiveness, hyperactivity and impulsiveness.
Symptoms of ADHD tend to be noticed at an early age and may become more noticeable when a child’s circumstances change, such as when they start school. Most cases are diagnosed when children are 6 to 12 years old.
2.What does ADHD feels like?
The symptoms of ADHD usually improve with age, but many adults who are diagnosed with the condition at a young age continue to experience problems.
People with ADHD may also have additional problems, such as sleep and anxiety disorders.
The symptoms of ADHD in children and teenagers are well defined, and they’re usually noticeable before the age of six. They occur in more than one situation, such as at home and at school.
The main signs of each behavioural problem are detailed below.
The main signs of inattentiveness are:
- Having a short attention span and being easily distracted
- Making careless mistakes – for example, in schoolwork
- Appearing forgetful or losing things
- Being unable to stick at tasks that are tedious or time-consuming
- Appearing to be unable to listen to or carry out instructions
- Constantly changing activity or task
- Having difficulty organising tasks
The main signs of hyperactivity and impulsiveness are:
- Being unable to sit still, especially in calm or quiet surroundings
- Constantly fidgeting
- Being unable to concentrate on tasks
- Excessive physical movement
- Excessive talking
- Being unable to wait their turn
- Acting without thinking
- Interrupting conversations
- Little or no sense of danger
These symptoms can cause significant problems in a child’s life, such as underachievement at school, poor social interaction with other children and adults, and problems with discipline.
3.What are the causes of ADHD?
ADHD tends to run in families and, in most cases, it’s thought the genes you inherit from parents are a significant factor in developing the condition.
Research shows that both parents and siblings of a child with ADHD are four to five times more likely to have ADHD themselves.However, the way ADHD is inherited is likely to be complex and isn’t thought to be related to a single genetic fault.
Research has identified a number of possible differences in the brains of people with ADHD compared to those who don’t have the condition, although the exact significance of these isn’t clear.
Other studies have suggested that people with ADHD may have an imbalance in the level of neurotransmitters in the brain, or that these chemicals may not work properly.
Various other causes have also been suggested as playing a role in the development of ADHD, including:
- Being born prematurely (before the 37th week of pregnancy)
- Having a low birthweight
- Brain damage either in the womb or in the first few years of life
- Drinking alcohol, smoking or misusing drugs while pregnant
- Exposure to high levels of toxic lead at a young age
However, the evidence for many of these factors is inconclusive, and more research is needed to determine if they contribute to ADHD.
4.What are the treatment modalities at LWHCC for ADHD?
These medications aren’t a cure for ADHD, but may help someone with the condition to concentrate better, be less impulsive, feel calmer, and learn and practice new skills.
As well as taking medication, different therapies can be useful in treating ADHD in children, teenagers and adults. Therapy is also effective in treating additional problems, such as conduct or anxiety disorders, that may appear with ADHD.
Some of the therapies that may be used are outlined below
Psychoeducation means that you or your child will be encouraged to discuss ADHD and how it affects you. It can help children, teenagers and adults make sense of being diagnosed with ADHD, and can help you to cope and live with the condition.
Behaviour therapy provides support for carers of children with ADHD, and may involve teachers as well as parents. Behaviour therapy usually involves behavior management, which uses a system of rewards to encourage your child to try to control their ADHD.
If your child has ADHD, you can identify types of behaviour you want to encourage, such as sitting at the table to eat. Your child is then given some sort of small reward for good behaviour, and removal of a privilege for poor behaviour.
-Social skills training
Social skills training involves your child taking part in role play situations, and aims to teach them how to behave in social situations by learning how their behaviour affects others.
-Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)
Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is a talking therapy that can help you manage your problems by changing the way you think and behave. A CBT therapist would try to change how your child feels about a situation, which would in turn potentially change their behaviour.
There are other ways of treating ADHD that some people with the condition find helpful, such as cutting out certain foods and taking supplements. However, there’s no strong evidence these work, and they shouldn’t be attempted without medical advice.
People with ADHD should eat a healthy, balanced diet. Don’t cut out foods before seeking medical advice.
Some studies have suggested that supplements of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids may be beneficial in people with ADHD, although the evidence supporting this is very limited.
It’s advisable to talk to your GP before using any supplements, because some can react unpredictably with medication or make it less effective.
5.Which treatment modality is better for me?
Treatment for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) can help relieve the symptoms and make the condition much less of a problem in day-to-day life.ADHD can be treated using medication or therapy, but a combination of both is often best.Treatment is usually arranged by a specialist, such as a paediatrician or psychiatrist.
6.What can you do to help your child?
Caring for a child with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) can be draining.Although it can be difficult at times, it’s important to remember that a child with ADHD can’t help their behaviour. People with ADHD find it difficult to suppress impulses, which means they don’t stop to consider a situation or the consequences before they act.The impulsive, fearless and chaotic behaviours typical of ADHD can make normal everyday activities exhausting and stressful.
-Be sure that your specialist helps you understand the difference between ADHD and other problems your child may have.
-Think about who else needs to know about your child’s ADHD, such as their school or nursery.
-Find out the side effects of any medication your child takes and what you need to look out for.
You may find the below advice helpful.
-Plan the day
-Set clear boundaries
Try to focus on just one or two behaviours at a time.
Watch for warning signs. If your child looks like they’re becoming frustrated, overstimulated and about to lose self-control, intervene. Distract your child if possible, by taking them away from the situation, which may calm them down.
Keep social situations short and sweet. Invite friends to play, but keep playtimes short, so your child doesn’t lose self-control.
-Exercise: make sure your child gets lots of physical activity during the day. Walking, skipping and playing sport can help your child wear themselves out and improve their quality of sleep. Make sure they’re not doing anything too strenuous or exciting near to bedtime.
-Eating: keep an eye on what your child eats. If your child is hyperactive after eating certain foods, which may contain additives or caffeine, keep a diary of these and discuss them with your GP.
-Bedtime: sick to a routine. Make sure your child goes to bed at the same time each night and gets up at the same time in the morning. Avoid overstimulating activities in the hours before bedtime, such as computer games or watching TV.
1.Can children be depressed?
Depression doesn’t just affect adults. Children and teenagers can get depressed too.
Some studies in the UK show that almost one in four young people will experience depression before they are 19 years old.
It’s important to get help early if you think your child may be depressed. The longer it goes on, the more likely it effects your child’s life and turn into a long-term problem.
2.What does depression looks like in children?
Signs and symptoms of depression in children, differ than adults and they may represented in a form of behaviors or actions, they often include the following:
- Sadness, or a low mood that doesn’t go away
- Being irritable or grumpy all the time
- Not being interested in things they used to enjoy
- Feeling tired and exhausted a lot of the time
- Have trouble sleeping or sleep more than usual
- Not be able to concentrate
- Interact less with friends and family
- Be indecisive
- Not have much confidence
- Eat less than usual or overeat
- Have big changes in weight
- Seem unable to relax or be more lethargic than usual
- Talk about feeling guilty or worthless
- Feel empty or unable to feel emotions (numb)
- Have thoughts about suicide or self-harming
- Actually self-harm, for example, cutting their skin or taking on overdose
- Some also have physical symptoms, such as headaches and stomach aches.
- Problems at school can be a sign of depression in children and teenagers and so can problem behaviour, especially in boys.
- Older children who are depressed may misuse drugs or alcohol.
3. What causes depression in children?
Sometimes depression is triggered by one difficult event, such as parents separating, a bereavement or problems with school or other children.
Often it’s caused by a mixture of things. Some of these causes are:
- Family difficulties
- Physical, emotional or sexual abuse
- A family history of depression or other mental health problems
4. What are the treatment modalities at LWHCC for depression?
– Children and young people with suspected depression should have a diagnosis confirmed and noted in their medical records. Diagnosing depression in children and young people can be difficult, and confirming and recording their diagnosis can help them to get access to the right treatment. Our team can offer the following, Depression diagnosis
– Psychological therapy: Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) for children
– Medication management
Treatment modalities mentioned above is designed based on diagnosis outcomes, in terms of the severity and the level of depression.
5.Which treatment modality is better for me?
Treatment considerations in all settings
Most children and young people with depression should be treated on an outpatient or community basis.
Before any treatment is started, healthcare professionals should assess, together with the young person, the social network around him or her. This should include a written formulation, identifying factors that may have contributed to the development and maintenance of depression, and that may impact both positively and negatively on the efficacy of the treatments offered.
Psychological therapies used in the treatment of children and young people with depression should be provided by therapists who are also trained in child and adolescent mental health.
Therapists should develop a treatment alliance with the family. If this proves difficult, consideration should be given to providing the family with an alternative therapist.
A child or young person with depression should be offered advice on the benefits of regular exercise and encouraged to consider following a structured and supervised exercise programme of typically up to three sessions per week of moderate duration (45 minutes to 1 hour) for between 10 and 12 weeks.
A child or young person with depression should be offered advice about sleep hygiene and anxiety management.
6.What can you do to help your child?
Encourage, allow and create opportunity for the child to express themselves and share their thoughts and feelings. Try to find out what’s troubling them and how they are feeling.
Consider the following while communicating with the child:
-Whatever is causing the problem, take it seriously. It may not seem a big deal to you, but it could be a major problem for your child.
-If your child doesn’t want to talk to you, let them know that you are concerned about them and that you’re there if they need you.
-Encourage them to talk to someone else they trust, such as another family member, a friend or someone at school.
-It may be helpful for you to talk to other people who know your child, including their other parent.
-You could also contact their school to see if they have any concerns
1.Can children be anxious?
Children tend to feel anxious about different things at different ages. Many of these worries are a normal part of growing up.
8 to 3 years old children may feel anxious and it is called separation anxiety. They may become clingy and cry when separated from their parents or carers. This is a normal stage in children’s development and tends to ease off at around age 2 to 3.
It’s also common for pre-school children to develop specific fears or phobias. Common fears in early childhood include animals, insects, storms, heights, water, blood, and the dark. These fears usually go away gradually on their own, unless it affects the child’s functioning and development, then it needs intervention.
Throughout a child’s life there will be other times when they feel anxious. Lots of children feel anxious when going to a new school, for example, or before tests and exams. Some children feel shy in social situations and may need support with this.
In general anxiety is a normal feeling, unless it affect the child’s functioning, quality of life and development. Severe anxiety like this can harm children’s mental and emotional wellbeing, affecting their self-esteem and confidence. They may become withdrawn and go to great lengths to avoid things or situations that make them feel anxious.
2.How does anxiety looks like in children?
Signs and symptoms of anxiety in children, differ than adults and they may represented in a form of behaviors or actions, they oftencannot understand or express that they are feeling. Some of anxiety symptoms include the following:
- Become irritable, tearful or clingy
- Have difficulty sleeping
- Wake in the night
- Start wetting the bed
- Have bad dreams
In older children you may notice that they:
- Lack the confidence to try new things or seem unable to face simple, everyday challenges
- Find it hard to concentrate
- Have problems with sleeping or eating
- Have angry outbursts
- Have negative thoughts going round and round their head, or keep thinking that bad things are going to happen
- Start avoiding everyday activities, such as seeing friends, going out in public or attending school
- See more about the physical symptoms of anxiety (dizziness, tiredness,noticeably strong, fast or irregular heartbeat (palpitations), muscle aches and tension, trembling or shaking, dry mouth, excessive sweating, shortness of breath, stomach ache, feeling sick, headache, ..)
- Have angry outbursts
3.What can cause anxiety in children?
Some children are more prone to worries and anxiety than others.
- Children often find change difficult and may become anxious following a house move or when starting a new school.
- Children who have had a distressing or traumatic experience, such as a car accident or house fire, may suffer with anxiety afterwards.
- Family arguments and conflict can also leave children feeling insecure and anxious.
- Teenagers are more likely to suffer with social anxiety than other age groups, avoiding social gatherings or making excuses to get out of them.
4.What are the treatment modalities at LWHCC for anxiety?
The type of treatment offered will depend on your child’s age and the cause of their anxiety.
- Counselling can help your child understand what’s making them anxious and allow them to work through the situation.
- Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is a talking therapy that can help your child manage their anxiety by changing the way they think and behave.
- Anxiety medicines may be offered to your child if their anxiety is severe or doesn’t get better with talking therapies. They are usually only prescribed by doctors who specialize in child and adolescent mental health.
Treatment modalities mentioned above is designed based on diagnosis outcomes, in terms of the severity and the level of anxiety.
5.Which treatment modality is better for me?
It is clear that a number of causes of general anxiety in childhood can be prevented or managed by sensible handling. This is also true for many of the speciﬁc fears, there are practical things that parents can do when these arise.
For the illogical fears which are not severe enough to be called phobias, simple explanations and reassurance will help many children gradually get over them.
Anxiety or fear which is causing the child or teenager prolonged distress, or is interfering with everyday events such as going out with family or friends or having relationships or hobbies, will often need special treatment. This treatment will nearly always take place in a clinic without the child having to be admitted to hospital.
6.What can you do to help your child?
A child is experiencing anxiety, there is plenty parents and carers can do to help.
Encourage, allow and create opportunity for the child to express themselves and share their thoughts and feelings. Reassure them and show them you understand how they feel.
- If your child is old enough, it may help to explain what anxiety is and the physical effects it has on our bodies. It may be helpful to describe anxiety as being like a wave that builds up and then ebbs away again.
- It’s more helpful to focus on exploring solutions with your child, instead of just talking about all the things that could go wrong.
Other ways to ease anxiety in children
- Teach your child to recognize signs of anxiety in themselves and to ask for help when it strikes.
- Children of all ages find routines reassuring so try to stick to regular daily routines where possible.
- If your child is anxious because of distressing events, such as a bereavement or separation, see if you can find books or films that will help them understand their feelings.
- If you know a change, such as a house move is coming up, prepare your child by talking to them about what is going to happen and why.
- Try not to become anxious yourself or overprotective – rather than doing things for your child or helping them to avoid anxiety-provoking situations, encourage your child to find ways to manage them.
- Practice simple relaxation techniques with your child, such as taking three deep, slow breaths, breathing in for a count of three and out for three.
- Distraction can be helpful for young children.