It can be difficult to see your child struggle with anxiety. Many parents try to remove obstacles from their child’s path in an effort to make life easier, but that can actually backfire. Katherine Dahlsgaard, PhD, ABPP, Clinical Director of the Anxiety Behaviors Clinic in the Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Behavioral Science , believes the best approach to treating a child is by treating the whole family.
“Parents find themselves stuck in an ever-expanding cycle of over-accommodation so their kids don’t have to feel anxious in the first place,” explains Dr. Dahlsgaard. “These parents know that they are doing their child a disservice but are at a loss as to how to stop, believing that doing so will somehow break their child or ruin their child’s attachment to them forever. If anything, the opposite is true.”
Dr. Dahlsgaard discusses how cognitive and behavioral therapy, or CBT, helps families learn to face anxiety and overcome it.