Children with a more inhibited temperament, or more careful outlook on life, tend to avoid situations, items, or people that are unfamiliar or feared, and whilst this keeps them safe, and reduces anxiety, it also prevents them from obtaining sufficient experience or practice at overcoming fear. In contrast, children who face their fears by experiencing mild discomfort in a safe environment, gain skills and confidence, and develop coping skills that they can apply in a range of areas when dealing with challenges, which increases resilience in numerous life domains. A child’s successful attempts to face feared situations or items, enables them to apply these newly learned coping skills to subsequent fearful or worrying situations as they gradually increase in difficulty.
Whilst these progressive situations often occur in the natural context of life experience for children, some children may require additional help or opportunities to achieve these skills. One method to help anxious children gain these skills, is by artificially creating hierarchical experiences of feared stimuli. This method is referred to clinically as, exposure therapy.
Facing fears and anxiety is tough for children and it’s important to develop a plan that balances engaging the child, with addressing the feared situations, whilst not overwhelming or overfacing the child. To do this we provide a structured hierarchical approach to anxiety using an evidence based programme validated through extensive research. This means we move with the child at a pace that ensures consistent progress, balanced with small increasing steps that move towards interacting or engaging with the area of concern.
I know how hard it can be trying to find the right fit for your kids, that’s why I offer a free 15 minute telephone consulation.