Although exposure-based treatments can be highly effective for helping clients overcome problems with anxiety, you can enhance treatment outcomes by paying attention to the way that you conduct exposure therapy. Successful exposure therapy follows these guidelines:
Avoidance of feared situations is a core feature of anxiety disorders. While avoidance is usually pretty easy to detect, some forms of avoidance are not so obvious. Indeed, some anxious kids may not overtly avoid a situation, but are sure to take specific actions to prevent a bad outcome. These actions are known as safety behaviors.
Because anxiety is a mind/body experience, the most effective treatment to address it is a mind/body solution. Therapists are most helpful when we begin to gently direct our clients away from the myriad details, and toward the nature and symptoms they are experiencing.
Fear of failure bedevils the lives of millions children, teens, and adults. As a result, procrastination often follows. Fortunately, you can rein in both your fear of failure and procrastination using the same techniques.
Let’s explore the thinking behind the fear of failure. Jeremy’s example may help. Jeremy’s fear of failure thoughts were like a thundercloud over his head. He believed he was a failure if he made mistakes or fell short of his goals. To avoid the short-term feeling of failure, Jeremy procrastinated and too often experienced the failure he feared.
Most teens report feeling stressed out every so often, but for teens who chronically worry, the sense of being one step away from disaster never really goes away. Minor troubles are often blown out of proportion, leading to heightened anxiety and sometimes all-out panic attacks. Yet when parents try to coax teens to let go of their fears, their efforts are often met with resistance.
How do we get through to teens to stop the cycle of chronic worrying and anxiety?