Q & A With Orlando Child Anxiety Specialist

At GroundWork Counseling in Maitland, our child anxiety therapists specializes in the treatment of pediatric anxiety disorders, using evidence-based Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT).

 

How do children express anxiety? 

Similar to adults, children struggling with anxiety will often avoid what makes them anxious, which actually strengthens the fear, this can include avoiding social situations, going to school, or being separated from a parent.

What should parents know about their child’s anxiety? 

Parents should know that some anxiety is typical during various developmental stages for children; however, if their child is experiencing a significant amount of anxiety or engaging in avoidance behaviors it is important not to ignore the signs and seek support. Although providing accommodations may seem like the best option, it can be counter productive if it encourages avoidance, strengthening the anxiety. The sooner parents can teach their child to tolerate the anxious feelings rather than to run from them, the better they will learn to overcome it. 


What are some common sources of anxiety for children?

As a therapist specializing in childhood anxiety disorders, I see children come in for a variety of challenges related to fear. This includes social anxiety, which typically leads to school refusal behaviors, trouble separating from parents, which can cause for challenges during drop off times at school or sleeping independently. Other challenges include specific phobias (insects, dogs, etc), more generalized fears such as fears about death or harm coming to parents. Also, OCD, which is a type of anxiety disorder, can present in children as the need for order, symmetry, or the presence of intrusive and distressing thoughts that lead to high levels anxiety.

Can mindfulness and meditation help children with anxiety?

Mindfulness and meditation are wonderful tools for children who are anxious, however, when children are in the midst of anxiety or panic, introducing these tools is likely to be ineffective. Often by teaching children breathing exercises during times of anxiety we further emphasize that anxiety is something to be feared and avoided. When we begin to teach children tools to tolerate anxiety though evidence-based approaches such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), children begin to have power over their anxiety.

Can a parent’s own anxiety impact children’s anxiety?

Like most things, children learn by example. If parents teach children the world is a dangerous place through their words or their actions, children will often begin to adapt that belief. It is important that parents, especially those of anxious children, lead by example and exhibit “brave” behavior. 

Answers Provided By GroundWork Child Therapist: Courtney Rodrigue Hubscher


Speak With A Child Anxiety Therapist
407-378-3000

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