THERAPY: 12 Quick Tips - Cruising the Galaxy
12 Tips for Starting Anxiety Therapy
Everything You Need to Know to Succeed
Anxiety can have a profound impact on the lives of young people, especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many children are experiencing heightened levels of stress, worry, and fear, which can significantly affect their learning, social interactions, emotional well-being, and family life. As parents, it's essential to understand how to support our children and when to take action.
Facing the challenges of anxiety head-on requires knowledge, patience, and a willingness to seek professional help when necessary. In this blog post, we'll provide you with 12 invaluable tips to help you navigate the journey of starting anxiety therapy for your child. These tips will equip you with the information and tools you need to succeed in supporting your child's mental health and well-being.
1. The journey of addressing anxiety in children requires a collaborative effort. It's crucial to involve a therapist who specialises in treating anxiety, particularly in children. While emotional regulation techniques can be helpful, a specialised approach that targets anxiety specifically will yield the best results. So, when seeking therapy for your child, be sure to find a professional who has experience and expertise in anxiety disorders in children.
2. Starting anxiety therapy is not a passive process. It demands time and effort from both you and your child. As a family, you must be actively involved in the therapy process, working together to implement strategies, practice exercises, and support your child's progress. The commitment you make to the therapy journey will greatly influence its effectiveness and the positive outcomes you can achieve.
3. At the outset, you may encounter resistance from your child. It's common for children to feel misunderstood or apprehensive about therapy. Recognise that it may take some time for your child to fully embrace the process and open up to their therapist. Patience, understanding, and consistent support will help your child feel safe and more willing to engage in therapy.
4. Consider the advantages of group therapy for your child. In a group setting, children can connect with peers who understand their anxiety challenges and provide encouragement. Through shared experiences and witnessing others' progress, children often find the motivation and inspiration to confront their fears and anxieties in a supportive and understanding environment.
5. Understanding the stress response is crucial in navigating anxiety therapy. Anxiety triggers the body's fight-or-flight-or-freeze response, and attempting to rationalise with anxiety in the moment is often futile. Instead, it's essential to learn strategies that help both you and your child manage the stress response effectively. By understanding and addressing the physiological aspects of anxiety, you can better support your child in their journey to overcome it.
6. One of the most effective approaches to treating anxiety is Exposure Response Prevention (ERP). It is considered the gold standard in anxiety therapy. Familiarise yourself with this evidence-based technique, as you will likely be participating in and supporting your child through various exposure exercises. Understanding the principles and rationale behind ERP will enable you to play an active role in your child's therapy and contribute to their progress.
7. Early intervention is key when it comes to addressing anxiety. If your child's anxious behaviours and symptoms have persisted for more than a month and are significantly impacting their daily life, it's important to seek professional support. Don't wait for an official diagnosis of an anxiety disorder to take action. By intervening early, you can help prevent the escalation of anxiety symptoms and promote your child's well-being.
8. Remember, addressing anxiety takes time. Your child is essentially unlearning a language they have become fluent in. They have been listening to their anxiety or OCD for a long time, and it will take time to rewire their thinking patterns and responses. Be patient and trust the therapeutic process. Celebrate even the smallest victories along the way, as each step forward is a testament to your child's bravery and progress.
9. Building a support network is vital for both you and your child. Connect with other parents who are navigating similar challenges. Share your experiences, strategies, and successes. Not only will you feel heard and understood, but you'll also gain valuable insights and ideas that can enhance your approach to supporting your child's anxiety therapy. Remember, you don't have to go through this journey alone.
10. As you embark on anxiety therapy, it's essential to personify anxiety. By externalising anxiety and giving it a name or character, you can help your child recognise and understand the thoughts and behaviours that fuel anxiety. This process allows your child to challenge and diminish anxiety's influence, empowering them to regain control and develop effective coping strategies.
11. Anxiety, in the right amount, can serve a protective purpose. Encourage your child to use Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) strategies to distinguish between helpful and unhelpful anxiety. By understanding their values and goals, they can determine when anxiety is getting in the way of their growth and well-being. ACT techniques can help your child navigate anxiety effectively and live a fulfilling life aligned with their values.
12. Lastly, it's important to establish specific outcomes and goals for your child's therapy journey. Work with your child and their therapist to create goals based on your child's values and aspirations. This will provide them with a sense of direction and purpose, driving their motivation to engage fully in therapy. Additionally, outline an Exit Plan, identifying the signs that indicate your child is ready to leave therapy and thrive independently in their mental health journey.
As you begin this transformative process, we encourage you to take the next step. Reach out to schedule a call with a therapist, explore additional resources, or watch our masterclass sessions. By taking proactive measures, you are paving the way for your child's growth, resilience, and well-being. Remember, you are not alone on this journey, and support is available to guide you every step of the way. Together, we can help our children conquer anxiety and embrace a brighter future.
HI THERE, I'M CLAIRE PEIRSON!
With a career working with young people spanning 20+ years, I'm privileged to have worked with hundreds of families in the Middle East and worldwide.
From teaching in primary schools, mindset coaching pro golfers to individual psychotherapy, I have focused my career on performance, dealing with intrusive thoughts and controlling anxious behaviour.
I now specialise in anxiety and OCD therapy for young people and coaching parents and schools how to support young people struggling with their worries.
Take the first step
In this training, discover if anxiety treatment is right for your child or teenager and how you can support them at home using simple evidence-based steps
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