As awareness and research grows in the area of child mental health, anxiety disorders in children have become increasingly better understood. The empirical literature provides evidence for the effectiveness of Cognitive-Behavioural approaches that include supporting children and their parents to learn strategies to help manage anxiety symptoms. According to Professor Ron Rapee, a leading Australian researcher in the area of childhood anxiety, treatment includes: psychoeducation, relaxation training, in-vivo or imaginal exposure, contingency management, parent training, cognitive restructuring and training in social and assertiveness skills. This treatment can be delivered individually or within a group, over 8 -15 weeks, 1-2 hours at a time. Research shows strong treatment gains with a large percentage of children being diagnosis free at the end of therapy and 1 year following treatment (Rapee, 2012).
The key to helping children overcome this condition is the recognition that symptoms are not necessarily something children “will grow out of”. By providing therapy early anxious children and their parents can be taught important skills they can continue to use throughout their lives in many situations. Effective psychological treatment can make a significant difference to the quality of life for families affected by anxiety.
Ref: Rapee, R.M. (2012). Anxiety Disorders in children and adolescents: Nature,
development, treatment and prevention. In Rey JM (ed), IACAPAP e-Textbook of Child and Adolescent Mental Health. Geneva: International Association for Child and Adolescent