Despite anxiety disorders affecting one in eight children, 80% of them are not being treated. We can do better for our children and we must, because research has shown that children with untreated anxiety disorders are far more likely to perform poorly in school, miss out on social milestones & experiences, and engage in substance abuse.
Fear and anxiety are normal parts of childhood, but how do we know when these normal human emotions become more problematic? Essentially, the most important thing to look out for is the degree to which this interferes in their day-to-day life. There are also physical, emotional and behavioral cues to lookout for before talking to a family doctor or seeking the help of other professionals.
To promote mental wellness in children with anxiety parents can show their children a more realistic way to view the world to challenge their fears of it. Sometimes their fears may be grounded in reality, so it is also important to not dismiss their anxiety completely. A clinic in Mountain Valley defined anxiety as, “The overestimation of danger and the underestimation of our ability to cope”. This can therefor point to how parents should consistently and gently challenge their anxious child’s “I can’t” with “You Can”. In addition to this, praise and reward children when they do push through their anxiety and participate in class, go to their classmate’s birthday party, ect.
For the parents who see their child’s anxiety become debilitating in day to day life, it is best to seek professional help. Mental health professionals can offer a strong foundation for children to learn how to cope with difficult emotions effectively now and throughout their life. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBD), Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), and Play Therapy are great treatment approaches to check for when picking a therapist for a child with an anxiety disorder. Research over more than 20 years has shown CBT is the most effective treatment for anxiety disorders, and DBT is also an extremely effective therapy with its main goal on regulating extreme emotions. Not all communication is verbal, and this is especially true for children, this is where play therapy comes in. Play therapy can be used to bring forth a child’s maladaptive behaviors and coping mechanisms which in turn allows the therapist to teach them effective behaviors.
For over 12 years I have been passionate about applying these treatments in my practice as well as other for children and adults. I would be honored to help provide your child with the tools they need to they can move forward in their life. Call or Email me today for a free consultation!
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Author - Scott Turner
Dedicated Therapist for Over 12 Years
The most critical development a person ever experiences is normally during their youth. It can be uncomfortable and difficult, but that pain increases when you’re a child dealing with social or emotional deficits.
This is where parents begin seeing Play Therapy as a helpful resource. Before the therapist begins sessions with the child, they may ask parents to partake in a pre-treatment assessment to gain some insight into the child’s situation, but from there the child’s relationship with the therapist becomes essential.
The therapist creates an environment with very few rules where the child feels free to express themselves, and it’s at this point that they can begin to assess the child’s play.
This assessment is important because play is the ‘language of the child.’ Playing is already an important part of mental, physical, and social development for children. Free play allows children to use their creativity to form better understandings of the world while also interacting with other children.
The best way to understand a child, then, is by observing their reactions to the things around them. Using either Nondirective or Directive approaches, or a mixture of both, child and therapist work together to communicate through the use of creative activities. The number of sessions for play therapy to be effective varies but can be up to 20 sessions. After this time frame, the hope is that the parent and the child have both received enough tools to continue improving without regular sessions.
While this blog has focused on children, adults can benefit equally from Play Therapy. It is a great outlet for anyone struggling to verbally express their difficulties.
For more information on Play Therapy, check out the links below or give Scott Turner a call today @ (810) 216-5610.
Author: Lyndsie Hosang
Guest blogger for Turner Therapy, LLC