Should phobias in children be addressed early?

A phobia is an irrational fear of specific events, or animals, or objects. Somebody that suffers from a phobic anxiety experiences extreme fear when they are exposed to particular objects, creatures or environments. These feelings and episodes can lead a person to isolation, depression, anxiety and panic attacks I don’t think any of us especially like creatures of the 8 legged variety but a person that is affected with arachnophobia (fear of spiders) has an increased and debilitating fear while confronting a spider.

Phobias can appear at a young age and keep going for a lifetime. A daunting event or trauma at an early age is generally the cause of a phobia, although it can be a learned behaviour from a mother or father, or other close family member. Virtually all children will be afraid of something at some point in their life, being afraid of strangers, separation anxiety or just being afraid of imaginary monsters. These fears would mostly dissipate and possibly even be replaced by another; which is an absolutely normal part of our development. Should these worries and anxieties develop into something more, parents need to keep a close eye and try to recognise the signs and symptoms so as to reduce any detrimental effect for the child.

If childhood phobias are left untreated, the symptoms can rise from mild to extreme anxiousness and panic attacks. If for example, the phobia is severe it can have a negative impact on the child’s social progress and well-being. There is a wide variety of childhood phobias like being afraid of beetles, to not being able to tolerate going out. Another way of trying to lessen the symptoms of the phobia is by having the child face the circumstance head on, and face the animal, item or circumstance instead of planning to avoid it. This approach can be beneficial but runs the risk of actually intensifying the symptoms and the child wishing to avoid the situation even more.

Avoidance can be extremely attractive but it actually contributes to these habits becoming behaviour forming. It is highly recommended to resolve these habits rather than avoid them to lessen the possibility of carrying these anxieties onto the adult years.

These phobias can be addressed early utilising hypnotherapy in a very simple and positive way. Hypnosis is extremely successful in treating children and adolescents as they have a far greater imagination at their young age. Children enjoy imagining and making use of their creativity to formulate the tools and strategies to beat their fears.

Sometimes, just 1 or 2 session of hypnotherapy can be beneficial enough to tackle these phobic disorders and anxieties.

Andy Cox, a professional hypnotherapist, that works with children, from Assured Effects Hypnotherapy based in Dorset, said “I enjoy working with children to overcome phobias. It is a very quick process and stops the child’s world becoming smaller”.

Clinical Hypnotherapy in Poole, Dorchester, and Wimborne, Dorset; Specialising in confidence, anxiety, stress, insomnia, weight control, phobias, and smoking cessation. Fully qualified & insured, 9 years experience working with over 1,500 clients.

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