Mental health disorders like anxiety and OCD are considered some of the most common conditions. As a parent, you want to do everything you can in terms of helping your anxious child. While certain therapies are effective for some disorders, many people find them difficult to engage with or complete. A recent article by Science Daily discusses new research that looks for ways to make treatment easier to handle for people who need it most.

The Research

Helping your anxious child can be challenge. This research has found new techniques on the best methods for helping your anxious child. Recent published journals have found that the behaviors people use to avoid anxiety could become part of an effect treatment. The study focused on safety behaviors – the things people do to make themselves feel less anxious. Wearing gloves when touching dirty items, avoiding eye contact in stressful situations, or distracting oneself while doing something they fear are all examples of safety behaviors.

Psychologists traditionally thought that eliminating these types of behaviors entirely was the best method to helping your anxious child. But they found that changing those behaviors and giving patients more control was more effective.

The researchers followed 157 participants. The participants ranged from low-level anxieties to those diagnosed with OCD. The researchers found that using new safety behaviors during exposure therapy was slightly more helpful to participants than their usual safety behaviors. The most important part of this process is allowing the patient to be the one who decides when they are ready to move forward with reducing the use of safety behaviors in therapy. This is different than the normal approach most therapists use. Typically, patients are encouraged to drop all safety behaviors at the beginning of therapy.

The researchers believe that safety behaviors have the potential to make therapy more effective. They hope the results of the research help therapists shape new approaches to best help each patient. This new approach could be a great strategy for helping your anxious child.

Asheville Academy is here to help

If you’re struggling with helping your anxious child, Asheville Academy is here to help. Asheville Academy is a therapeutic boarding school for young girls, ages 10-14. Through our clinically intensive program and nourishing environment, your child can be guided to a healthier path.

For more information about Asheville Academy for Girls, contact us today at 800.264.8709