There are several different forms of anxiety:
Separation anxiety is an age inappropriate fear of separating from one’s parents.
Generalized anxiety disorder involves excessive worrying about a range of everyday activities and events in a variety of settings. Children and teens often experience somatic symptoms such as stomach aches, headaches, or muscle tension in addition to feeling worried. These youth are often described as “worriers”.
Social anxiety is an intense fear of being negatively evaluated, embarrassed, or humiliated in social settings. This can manifest in some school situations, like speaking in front of others, or in a range of social situations interacting with other youth and adults.
Specific Phobias are fears about specific things like being in confined spaces, ways to travel, or being in specific situations. Many youth with specific phobias avoid the situations or endure them with anxiety or dread.
Therapy for anxiety:
Dr. Philip Kendall is an NIH grant award winning researcher who has developed two separate manualized treatments for separation anxiety, generalized anxiety, and social anxiety that we use at TCFBH. These manuals are evidence based practices for different forms of anxiety, meaning that there is a research base to support their efficacy.
The Coping Cat manual was developed for children ages 7 to 13. This workbook uses a “Scaredy cat” as a vehicle for learning to deal more effectively with anxiety. The cat in the workbook changes from a scaredy cat to a coping cat over time. The C.A.T. manual is used with teenagers ages 14 to 17.
Both treatment manuals teach children to distinguish anxiety from other feelings and to recognize their physical reactions to being anxious. Then, youth are taught to identify the thoughts and self-talk that they have in anxiety provoking situations, and to use more adaptive self-talk to cope in those situations.