How does Psychotherapy help children to manage Anxiety?
May 08, 2023
Everyone knows that childhood is one of the most important stages in human development, since it lays the foundations of the future person in which we become. We will become older, and each important experience lived during these initial years can contribute to establishing the structure of the personality of the child. subject.
For this reason, child psychology professionals are interested in those experiences, experiences or eventualities that we live in the childhood stage, that is, for all that they affect us both positively and negatively in the present and in the future of the most little ones. Among these experiences, Much of the work of psychotherapists specialized in caring for children focuses on intervening in anxiety problems, since these are very common in the initial stage of the development of the human mind. Let's see how it works in this regard.
The characteristics of anxiety problems in childhood
Excessive anxiety is one of the main reasons for consultation that child psychologists around the world receive daily, and to solve this disorder in boys and girls of infant age it is necessary to put into practice a series of strategies and therapies based on the scientific method, just as it happens in psychotherapy adult.
Anxiety in children has its own characteristics, and in most cases it is usually more harmful to the mental health of the boy or girl who suffers from it in their own flesh.
As psychology professionals know, there are quantitative differences in the anxiety experienced by children regarding this same discomfort in adults, since infants experience anxiety problems that can be much more intense. But in the qualitative sphere there are also differences between children and adults, since little ones tend to be more sensitive and experience adversity differently. This difference can be seen in how infants tend to believe more in superstitions and imaginary threats that do not exist in the real world.
This is because their adult brain is not yet fully formed and therefore some areas of reasoning or rational and critical thinking have not yet reached their level. optimal maturity, so they are more likely to believe in magical or fantastic ideas as a "temporary" way of answering complex questions about how the world works. world.
In addition to that, children are more dependent on other people in their care (usually their parents or relatives) and feel unprotected more easily and frequently.
Regarding social norms, children also tend to have greater uncertainty when it comes to not knowing how to behave correctly, something that affects them much more and generates greater anxiety, due to this ignorance of social norms or behavior patterns. conduct.
- Related article: "Children's therapy: what is it and what are its benefits"
Psychological intervention in children's anxiety problems
Professionals in psychology and psychotherapy have established over several years of research and experience, a series of intervention protocols for childhood anxiety based on scientific evidence.
These professional strategies and techniques are used daily in psychology practices around the world. world to improve the mental health of boys and girls who present cases of anxiety or other disorders associates.
Below we briefly present the main intervention strategies with the highest percentage of scientific evidence to treat cases of anxiety in childhood.
1. controlled exposure
Controlled exposure is applied in those cases in which the patient has an exacerbated fear or an irrational phobia towards any type of harmless situations or objects.
This exhibition consists of presenting the stimulus that generates fear to the boy or girl in a progressive way, each more intensely so that the patient gets used to the source of the fear of it and ends up losing the fear for complete.
This type of intervention is carried out using a scientific methodology and must be applied by a specialized professional.
- You may be interested in: "Exposure therapy with response prevention: what it is and how it is used"
2. cognitive restructuring
The cognitive restructuring It is one of the main techniques used by psychotherapy professionals in cases of anxiety due to its high standards of scientific evidence.
This consists of questioning the beliefs that generate discomfort that the infant may harbor, as well as such as problematic, blocking or impeding ideas to achieve mental health optimal.
During the intervention process, the work of the psychotherapist consists of for the patient to reflect deeply on their maladaptive beliefs, understand that the problem lies largely in how she perceives the world around her and is able to replace them with more positive and adaptive ones.
3. emotional labeling
He emotional labeling it consists of expressing in words what makes them feel bad to stop fearing it so much and see it from a more distanced perspective. It is another highly used classical psychological procedure.
By expressing their own fears through writing or talking about what happens to them, the boy or girl will learn more about their own fears and will begin to learn effective ways to overcome the anxiety that they generate.
4. Training in relaxation techniques
Another of the strategies that professionals use is to train them in simple Mindfulness exercises so that they know how to focus on the present and get rid of intrusive thoughts.
With Mindfulness, children learn to better focus and control their attention and overcome anxious states based on excessive physical and mental agitation.
5. Social skills training
train them in social skillsso that they lose their fear of talking to other people and asking for help when they need it it is also one of the strategies most commonly used by psychotherapy professionals.
Since there are various types of anxiety related to exposure to social situations, teaching children various adaptive social interaction strategies and specific social skills will overcome their fears and problems various.
6. sleep routines
Finally, teaching them sleep routines that help them sleep well will also be very effective in helping children overcome their anxiety problems.
Not surprisingly, anxiety is often related to an obvious lack of sleep or maladaptive sleep patterns.
Do you want to train in psychotherapeutic care for boys and girls?
If you are interested in specializing in psychotherapy for children, the Master in Child and Adolescent Psychology offered by the SERCA Institute is what you are looking for. This 100% online training program of 60 ECTS credits addresses topics such as normal psychological development during childhood, assessment psychology of psychopathologies in boys and girls, family education, intervention in the most common disorders in this age group, and further. Upon completion, you will obtain your own Title issued by the Universidad San Jorge de Zaragoza.
- You will find more information about the Master in Child and Adolescent Psychology at this page.