Children's Therapy Archives - A Step at a Time

Supporting children with angry feelings

Posted by | anger, anxiety, BWRT, Children's Therapy, confidence, low mood, self-esteem, Stress | No Comments

Why do we get angry?? Everyone has a different response to anger, and the reason for this is that everyone interprets the environment, relationships and situations differently. This is dependent on previous experience, developmental stage and our understanding of our own emotions and triggers. As such, no response to a situation is right or wrong, but merely our own response formed from our pre-learnt reactions. For children, as their brain development is in an escalated period and changing daily, their response to situations may not be what is deemed ‘acceptable’ or ‘desired’ but will, like our own responses, be a response to the emotions that they are feeling internally and the learnt responses they have developed to date. These may be their ‘fight-flight-freeze-faint’ responses, they may be responses learnt from previous experiences or they may be learnt responses from the people around them. So, where do these responses come from?…

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How to recognise signs of poor mental health in children and 5 ways to support children at home.

Posted by | anxiety, Children's Therapy, confidence, depression, emotional eating, grief, low mood, parent separation, self-belief, self-esteem, separation anxiety, Stress, Teenagers, well-being | No Comments

The thing about mental health, is that we all have it. If we imagine it as a swinging pendulum, throughout out life times, our mental health moves between good mental well-being and poor mental well-being, depending on life circumstances, events and situations. Everyone can have days when their mental health feels more sensitive, but for some, realising that their mental health is suffering and needs support can be a shock. For children and teenagers, brain development is ever changing and moving, children’s pre-frontal cortex – the part of the brain that supports rational thought, seeing perspectives, solving problems and regulation continues its development throughout childhood and adolescence. So, we cannot expect our children to know how to manage their own feelings without guidance and support. In addition, as their primary responses come from their limbic brain system we can often see strong emotions, reactive and instinctive responses to issues –…

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5 tips to supporting children in separated families

Posted by | anxiety, child therapy, Children's Therapy, loss, parent separation, relationships, sensitive children, separation anxiety | No Comments

Family separations bring with them a great deal of emotions, for parents, children and the wider family. As parents adjust to co-parenting finding ways to connect, interact and support children in an optimal way is paramount. Whilst some families glide into co-parenting, others can find that the transition is more difficult and the uncertainty of the best ways to support children can feel difficult to navigate. So, whilst the list of strategies and approaches is endless, here’s five ways that you can underpin your behaviours and reactions to co-parenting to best support children in the transitions. Keep child centred – work at their pace Co-parenting is an adjustment for parents and children, however, for children, the transition can be fraught with anxiety, worry and uncertainty. Particularly around when they will see their parent again and what will happen next. In many cases, parents may have been planning or been aware…

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10 Resources to support children with anxiety

Posted by | anxiety, books, child therapy, Children's Therapy, confidence, life coaching, self-belief, self-esteem, separation anxiety | No Comments

If your child is prone to anxiety, offering them support and knowing what to say, can feel really difficult. Offering children an environment where they feel able to talk without judgement, feel accepted and have their emotions respected becomes fundamental to helping them to grow their confidence and resilience. At its core, for children to feel more in control we need to help them build their resilience skills. Resilience is all about our ability to manage situations and bounce back from difficulties. In order to foster resilience we need: To develop children’s awareness of what their emotions mean To support children to develop the vocabulary for their emotions To help children to recognise their triggers and know what the feelings are that occur when faced with them To support children to learn positive coping mechanisms to manage their feelings In this blog, i’ll be sharing ten resources that you can…

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Motivating children, teenagers (and adults) to get things done

Posted by | boredom, Children's Therapy, confidence, excuses, self-belief, Stress, Teenagers | No Comments

Motivation is the word on everyone’s lips right now, at its fundamental core, as the world becomes a peculiar place and boredom and monotony sets in, removing us from the from the initial novelty factor how do we help our children and teenagers (as well as ourselves) to get motivated, and most importantly, is that even what we need? What is motivation? Motivation is defined as: “a reason or reasons for acting or behaving in a particular way”. Motivation can be intrinsic – coming from us, where we have a personal motivation to achieve something or extrinsic – where we do something because we are told to, or there is a reward for it e.g. money, success It indicates that we have a desire, or purpose which drives us to get things done. But, how does that fare in a pandemic? When we have countless days ahead of us? No…

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Supporting Separation Anxiety in Older Children

Posted by | Adventures of Brian, anxiety, Children's Therapy, confidence, self-esteem, sensitive children, separation anxiety, Stress | No Comments

In many cases, people can forget that older children can be as prone to separation anxiety as younger children and toddlers. In fact, as the years tick by, as a therapist, I see more and more children experiencing separation anxiety. What does it look like? In its simplest terms, separation anxiety, is when a child, teen or an adult is scared/afraid to be away from a particular person. Albeit a parent, guardian, partner or a pet. The concept of being apart from them creates severe anxiety. This can include physical and emotional symptoms: Headaches Stomach aches Crying / distress Begging or pleading not to leave Screaming Panic (inc. shaking, hiding) Retching or being sick Fear of leaving the significant person A fear that something ‘bad’ will happen if they are not with them A fear of being alone Refusal to sleep alone Refusal to sleep away from home / away…

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Supporting introvert and sensitive children

Posted by | anxiety, boredom, child therapy, Children's Therapy, confidence, introverts, self-belief, self-esteem, self-image, sensitive children, Teenagers, well-being | No Comments

Having a child who is not the first in queue to do new things, meet new people or sit and chat, can feel that there is something wrong, However, for some children, being introverted or sensitive can mean that rather than think that there is something wrong with them, we need to identify how we can adapt our routines and behaviours to help them thrive. Introverts, are by nature, quieter, more reserved and happier to spend alone, whilst extroverts enjoy socialising, being active and larger groups. Whilst this is only the tip of the icebergs, we can often see in children we know, those who are happier in their own, peaceful worlds, and those who quickly become bored in their own company. The concern is often, whether the introverted behaviours are introverted or something to be concerned about. Signs of introverted child Deep thinkers and processors Self-sufficient Insular, reserved and…

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Supporting toddlers through separation anxiety

Posted by | anxiety, child therapy, Children's Therapy, confidence, self-esteem, separation anxiety | No Comments

So many parents contact me regarding separation anxiety. In some cases, the anxiety is a normal developmental stage, in others it is part of a separation issues which is causing the child anxiety symptoms. So, how do we know the difference? Around 7 to 8 months old, children develop a concept called object permanence. This means that they understand that something still exists even when it is out of sight. Think about young children for a moment, and how, if you hide a toy they do not go looking for it, and may even cry when it is not in sight? Once a child has object permanence they will seek out toys or people when they are not visible. It is therefore natural, that at around this stage children can want to stay with primary carers and not want them out of sight. Most children will naturally work through this…

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Managing children’s disappointment when they have to stay home

Posted by | boredom, Children's Therapy, confidence, depression | No Comments

With the sudden changes to children’s routines there is, understandably, a great deal of disappointment, frustration and anxiety being caused to a great number of children. Younger children struggle with not having planned and considered goodbyes to manage transitions, older children are missing out on planned trips and events, whilst those with GCSEs and A-Levels are frustrated and confused by the sudden changes to their exams. Those students who had worked tirelessly feel short-changed that they did not get an opportunity to show their work, those who took longer to warm up and were just hitting their stride to work are scared that they will be assessed on the work that is not a true picture of their capabilities. Regardless of which boat they sit in, the changes and tsunami of emotions that they are experiencing, and will experience over coming weeks is understandable. Without life experience, the resilience to…

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Is the world causing our children anxiety?

Posted by | Adventures of Brian, anxiety, BWRT, Children's Therapy, hypnotherapy, Responsive Therapy | No Comments

As the years go by my office is filled with more and more children and teenagers who are struggling with unwanted thoughts and feelings. Since I wrote the Adventures of Brian book collection this has only grown more considerably. Leading me to question – is the world causing our children anxiety? 19 years ago when I first entered the world of early years (working in a nursery) we would occasionally meet a child with separation anxiety or thumb sucking but these were few and far between. 15 years ago when I first went to work as a lecturer with 16-19 year olds you may have one teenager in your class with depression or anxiety but again it was much more a rarity than the world presented today. In the early days of my career, or even in my own school days you just didn’t find a huge number of children…

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A-B-C – are we missing the letters of child behaviour?

Posted by | Adventures of Brian, BWRT, Children's Therapy, hypnotherapy | No Comments

When I started my career working as a nursery nurse and later as a Nursery Manager and then a lecturer of early years I would routinely teach the ABC of behaviour to my staff and students… it was as simple as falling off a bike and a lesson I continue to use in my work as a therapist, however it is a lesson that we are forgetting in LIFE. Let me explain…. A B C of behaviour  The ABC of behaviour looks at child behaviour from the position that everything has an ABC A – Antecedent (the thing that caused the behaviour) B – Behaviour (the behaviour being demonstrated) C – Consequence (the result of the behaviour) It is an insightful way of remembering that NOTHING appears without a cause, so all behaviours from children are created by an ‘A’… Skipping the key letters…. However as the years go by,…

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2 reasons our children’s worries are greater than ever

Posted by | Adventures of Brian, anxiety, BWRT, Children's Therapy | No Comments

Have you ever noticed that our children are worrying more than ever? Children’s worries are at an all time high. Every week in my office I am visited by children and teenagers who are struggling with worries, anxiety or catastrophizing about events that haven’t even happened. The incidences of appointments for these has risen significantly over the last year. This includes visits for: – Children worrying about safety – Child anxiety – Separation anxiety from parents – Children struggling with OCD or habit based behaviours – Sleep issues – Children who catastrophize about events that ‘might’ happen in the future So where has it come from? Before I start my explanations (from my personal perspective) I want you to cast your mind back to the late 1980s/early 1990s – the days when as children we were found climbing in trees, staying out on your bike, water fights with your super…

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3 reasons NOT to wait for your child to grow out of it…

Posted by | Adventures of Brian, anxiety, BWRT, Children's Therapy, confidence | No Comments

Why you shouldn’t wait for your child to access children’s therapy for their worries and behaviours….. “They’ll grow out of it”  “Don’t worry about it – they’ll grow out of it”  “We’ll review it when they are older….”  Ever heard those ill fated words before? When it comes to our child’s emotional or mental health do we really want to WAIT? In some cases they will grow out of it, for example a few children do grow out of their little worries, some children do grow out of their anxiety, and many  children do grow out of their toilet training issues (did you know that the hormones responsible for urine control in some children don’t mature until the age of 12??) HOWEVER Many issues do not disappear and in some cases leaving your child to grow out of it can actually create a greater issue to be treated later.  So…

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I’m not a statistic – I’m me…..

Posted by | anxiety, body-image, Children's Therapy, confidence, Eating Disorders, grief, Responsive Therapy, trauma, weight loss | No Comments

One of the greatest things that I find when working in disordered eating, anxiety or even trauma and bereavement is that so many of my clients have been treated as a statistic. Whether they are frustrated at being prescribed medication for symptoms not the cause, placed on long waiting lists for therapeutic talk therapies or provided with food plans which feel overwhelming the one thing that they all have in common is that they feel like a number, a statistic, a non-existent person. I remember years ago visiting the GP, my disordered eating spiralling, obsessed with exercise and collar bones and hip bones that were (in retrospect) very unattractive and a sign of the lack of health and nutrition I was experiencing) to be thrust a depression questionnaire to assess whether I was a risk to myself….. In that moment I felt like there wasn’t much hope left. The doctor…

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What if we could draw perfectly?

Posted by | Adventures of Brian, anxiety, books, BWRT, Children's Therapy, confidence, Responsive Therapy, self-esteem | No Comments

My friend’s little girl came to play yesterday. We had finished baking and were sat at my dining room table drawing together (and using every single sticker I had in the house) when she looked over at my picture. I was drawing a picture of Brian (from the Adventures of Brian) at the time and she stopped and said ‘how did you get so good at drawing?’ When I replied ‘well I practiced lots and made lots of mistakes to learn’ she laughed and said ‘but I make lots of mistakes’ which made me stop for a moment. We all make lots of mistakes, don’t we? I probably spend most of my day getting frustrated at my own mistakes and having to find ways to resolve them. But only a child will tell you that honestly, with no agenda, no cover up, just pure honesty – ‘I make lots of…

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