How Can Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) Help My Child with Anxiety?

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Cognitive behavioral therapy is a treatment of choice for anxiety in children as well as adults. What is wonderful about this treatment for kids though is that it's very practical, fast and hands on. The purpose of the therapy is helping kids to change and take a second look at what their perceptions are of the thing they're anxious about, whether that's friendships, or taking tests, or dirt and germs, going from teaching kids that they really have a choice about how to think about a situation that their first thought is not going to be the one that they can trust.

It's not going to be accurate or reliable, that's how worry works, and helping them to get in the habit of taking a second look and looking at the situation from a more accurate perspective. That's the first step in cognitive behavior therapy, but the B for behavior is really about taking the show on the road.

So whatever your child is afraid of, once they've learnt the skills about correcting their misperceptions, then you really want to help them interact in the situation. If they're afraid of dogs, you're going to slowly expose them, it's what it's called to interacting with dogs, maybe that's first at a pet shop where the dogs are behind glass, in a cage or they're sleeping.

A situation where a child can really take a closer look without being afraid that they're going to have actual contact with a dog. Over time with with future sessions and you have more and more contact, make that contact positive and your child really gets a sense of mastery remember that kids don't want to be anxious, they really don't like avoiding things, they just don't know another way.

Cognitive behavior therapy really teaches them skills for a life time about what to do when you are afraid of something.