Little Boy | Anxiety in Children

The Centre for Emotion Focused Practice offers child counselling services, with both individual therapy and family therapy for young people.

A wide range of problems can be explored and worked through in a safe, non-judgmental, facilitated environment.

Anxiety is the #1 mental health problem experienced by children and young adults. The psychologists at the Centre for Emotion Focused Practice are experienced in treating anxiety of all forms in children and young people, including:

  • stress
  • social anxiety
  • school anxiety
  • Avoidant behaviours
  • adjustment difficulties
  • difficulties with school transitions
  • self-esteem issues
  • panic attacks
  • phobias
  • night time fears and anxiety
  • performance anxiety
  • OCD
  • perfectionism

Is anxiety in children different from adults?

Upset boy | Anxiety in children

Both children and adults experience anxiety. The issues they are anxious about may be different, but the effects of anxiety in children are as painful and as debilitating in adults.

A child’s symptoms can be classified much in the same manner as that of an adult:

  • Worrying thoughts or fears: Feeling of dread or excessive worries about a circumstance or situation. These worries translate into anxious reactions or physical symptoms and can thus be discerned by the parent.
  • Anxious reactions: When children are anxious, they are prone to avoidant responses such as resisting, avoiding or refusing to do something or to go somewhere. For example, a child who is new to a school may not want to go there and may show resistance. He or she may cling to the parents and seek comfort. An older child, on the other hand, could exhibit anger and protest vociferously.
  • Physical symptoms: Symptoms of panic such as racing heart, sweaty hands, shaking, stomach upsets, headaches, nausea and other symptoms of physical distress.

Signs that you child could be suffering from anxiety

If your child has many of the following symptoms, then he or she could be suffering from anxiety

  1. Anxious behaviour when trying new things or going to new places.
  2. Refusing to go to school or to staying in an unfamiliar place.
  3. Excessive worries and a multlitude of fears
  4. Wants a parent in the room always when preparing to sleep.
  5. Difficulty falling asleep.
  6. Always seeking reassurance from parents excessively.
  7. Gets upset when separated from parents.
  8. Displaying physical symptoms such as racing heart, sweaty hands, shaking, stomach upsets, headaches, nausea, etc., when there’s no medical reason for such symptoms.
  9. Displaying symptoms of perfectionism
  10. Gets upset when something is not the way he or she likes it to be.

Does your child need a psychologist?

Girl dragging teddy | Anxiety in children

Many children go through anxious or challenging situations in their lives. This is a normal part of childhood and they generally learn to manage such situations without any lasting detrimental effect. In fact, in the face of challenging situations, children learn resilience that will help them all through their adult life.

However, sometimes a child may not be able to manage a certain situation or circumstance, is unable to cope, and he or she could then start exhibiting behaviours or symptoms consistent with anxiety.

Asking yourself these questions could help you decide if your child needs professional help in treating anxiety:

  • Is the child being more sensitive or more emotional than usual?
  • Is the child sad, withdrawn, or aggressive?
  • Has this behaviour been persisting for more than a week?
  • Is the child finding it difficult to eat or sleep?
  • Is your child’s anxious behaviour interfering with his or her ability to perform daily activities?

A child psychologist can help in treating anxiety by first aiding the parents in comprehending what their child is going through, and then assisting the child in dealing with his or her fears and worries, using strategies to build resilience and gain coping skills for life.

At the centre, with the help of our child counselling services, children are able to find resolution to their anxiety problems, lowering their stress and anxiety, by finding healthy solutions for their conflicts and issues. The Centre for Emotion Focused Practice is a safe, secure, and ethical place where the child gets the opportunity to explore his or her emotions and forge out an effective and long lasting change.

To find out more about our child counselling services or to get an appointment, please call the Centre for Emotion Focused Practice at (03) 9820 5577.

The centre’s therapists are all fully qualified and strive for empathy, genuineness, respect and a positive working alliance during child psychology appointments. This has shown to be the best predictor of a curative outcome. Please visit our psychology practitioners‘ page to know more about the psychologists at the centre.

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