Dallas CBT offers cognitive behavioral therapy for separation anxiety. Separation anxiety in children results from significant fear and avoidance of situations where one is separated from a loved one. Therapy for separation anxiety teaches your child to decrease worry thoughts and to increase use of coping skills when separation occurs. Or treatment involves working closely with parents to ensure that new, healthier patterns are developed between sessions.
Separation Anxiety is characterized by intense and excessive fear when separated from the home or loved ones. Specifics of this fear can vary, and can include: excessive distress in anticipation of separating, worry about losing or being separated from important loved ones due to some unanticipated event (e.g., accident, kidnapping), refusal or reluctance to go to school or work, fear of being alone, refusal or reluctance to sleep away from home or a loved one, nightmares, and physical symptoms in response to separation. Understandably, this type of intense fear of separation can greatly impact one’s ability to function individually, as well as interfere with loved ones’ ability to function. In children, this may be noticeable as early as preschool, and can often result in a refusal to go to school.
Potential Signs of Separation Anxiety
- Significant worry that something bad will happen if separated from an important loved one (e.g., parent, significant other)
- School refusal, or refusal to leave a loved one
- Refusal to sleep separately from a loved one
- Significant fear of being alone
Cognitive behavioral therapy for separation anxiety involves identifying and changing themes in problematic thoughts and behaviors that keep your child anxious. Number of therapy sessions vary, but on average, substantial progress is seen in 12-15 sessions.
In therapy, your child will learn to identify and alter anxiety-provoking thoughts, build and improve upon coping skills, reduce avoidance, and improve the ability of both the child and the parents to separate in a healthy, adaptive, and supportive manner.