behavioral therapy
Photo credit: flickr user – Tjook

Anxiety, though beneficial for every individual, can also wreck havoc on a teen’s life. Anxiety is our body’s natural way of letting us know we are in danger and can encourage intense focus on a given task. However, it can also lead to obsessive thoughts and physical pains that are nearly impossible to suppress without a little guidance.
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a type of talk therapy that teaches the skills and techniques needed to combat anxiety. CBT is an evidence-based psychological treatment with more than 40 studies proving its effectiveness.

The first step in behavioral therapy is education

Teens are just beginning to understand the connection between thoughts and emotional responses. They might not know why they feel or act a certain way. The first part of any behavior therapy is teaching the parents and patient about anxiety. When you understand what is, what it does and how your body and mind respond, you and your teen are more equipped to handle anxiety.

Learning new coping mechanisms

When your son or daughter is worried, he or she might respond in a number of ways:

  • Aggression toward others
  • Isolation
  • Mutism
  • Self-harm

Most teens do not know how to properly cope with anxiety. Rightfully so, as there are so many new experiences teens must deal with on a daily basis: overload of homework, death in the family, their first relationship, their first breakup and add on to all of that extreme hormonal changes. It’s all new to them. With little experience to compare, even a little problem can be seemingly life-changing.
Behavioral therapy can teach healthy ways of dealing with stress and anxiety. Your child can become aware of triggers, easily identify onset of anxiety and take control of their thoughts before their thoughts control them.

Testing the waters

Through individual and family therapy, specific fears can be identified.

Research shows that exposure in graduated ways to the things you fear is the only thing that helps anxiety. – Lynne Siqueland, psychologist at Clients’s Center for OCD and Anxiety in Plymouth Meeting, Pa.

Whether it is new social situations or confrontation with others, teens can be gradually exposed to situations that make them worried or afraid. They can then test coping mechanisms and knowledge they learned during behavioral therapy. Through this gradual process, the patient and family are able to see progress along the way.
If you would like to learn more about behavioral therapy at blueFire, call us today at 844-413-1999. Help your teen take control of their thoughts and not allow anxiety to control them.

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