What If My Child Won’t Go to Therapy?

So you have an anxious kiddo and you’ve tried teaching them to take deep breaths and to think positive thoughts. Maybe you’ve tried apps like Headspace or Calm or read books about worry. But your child just isn’t interested or worse, actively resists all your help.

Many kids with anxiety react the same way for lots of different reasons, and it can be a frustrating and heartbreaking experience for parents who really want to help. However, a recent study shows that you CAN help in a big way: by engaging in a treatment focused on teaching you, as the parent, to react in new ways to your child’s anxiety. This study showed that a treatment just for parents, which taught them how to respond to kids’ anxiety was just as effective as child-focused individual therapy. This study shows that you don’t need to force your child into treatment for them to get the help they deserve. Instead, look for a therapist who can help you use evidence-based methods for reducing the accommodations you make to the anxiety in your child’s life.

Julianna Sapienza, Ph.D.

Author: Julianna Sapienza, Ph.D.

Dr. Sapienza is a child clinical psychologist specializing in the treatment of anxiety in kids and adolescents
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Portland Psychotherapy is a clinic, research & training center with a unique business model that funds scientific research. This results in a team of therapists who are exceptionally well-trained and knowledgeable about their areas of specialty.