Anxiety Counseling Services for Children
Because some children are naturally shy, we tend to view anxiety in children as something they’ll outgrow in time. However, if the intensity of your child’s anxiety starts to interfere with their life and yours, it’s time to seek professional help.
If serious anxiety goes untreated, it tends to worsen with time because children will use avoidance to try to reduce their fear. As they try to avoid triggering those feelings, they only become more powerful.
Anxiety disorder in children is often treated with medication, just as it is in adults. Antidepressants tend to be the first choice to reduce anxiety, but Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) can also be a great help in calming a child’s fears. Over the last 20 years, studies have shown that CBT is the most effective treatment for severe anxiety. Unlike medication, anxiety counseling near me gives kids the tools they need to self-manage their anxiety, both now and in the future.
How Do You Treat Anxiety Attacks in Children?
Cognitive-behavioral therapy uses the theory that how we act and think affects how we feel. By changing dysfunctional behavior and distorted thinking, we can change our emotions. Most therapists will focus on behavior with younger children, but the goal is to unlearn avoidant behavior.
“Exposure and response prevention” is one of the most important techniques to treat fears and social anxiety disorder in children. The idea is to expose kids to anxiety triggers using incremental, structured steps in a safe setting. As they become accustomed to these triggers, their anxiety will begin to fade, so they can build up to more powerful triggers.
Traditional talk therapy is very different than exposure therapy. With talk therapy, a counselor will often explore the roots of their patient’s anxiety in order to change their behavior, which can be effective as well. In exposure therapy, we get rid of the fear by changing the behavior.
Exposure therapy is especially effective on social anxiety, OCD, phobias, and separation anxiety.
How Can Anxiety Counseling for Children Help Them Understand Their Illness?
It’s important for a patient and their family to get some distance from their anxiety and realize that it is separate from who they are as a person. It’s also crucial to help kids see how anxiety affects their lives. By mapping out the things those fears keep them from doing, like sharing meals, going to sleepovers, or sleeping in their own bed, kids decide how that makes them feel, and they can get a better understanding of how their anxiety works.
How Can Seeking Therapy Counseling Services Help?
If your child’s anxiety is affecting your family life, it may be time for professional help. Seeking Therapy Counseling Services, serving Chula Vista, California, and greater San Diego County, has years of experience helping children get through tough times. Our Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) can provide counseling in one of several styles that best fits your child’s needs. Call us today at 619-646-8283 or contact us online to ask questions and make your child’s first appointment.