Children and Anxiety Disorders

Treatment Options

Behavior Therapy

The goal of Behavior Therapy is to modify and gain control over unwanted behavior. The individual learns to cope with difficult situations, often through controlled exposure to them. This kind of therapy gives the individual a sense of having control over their life.

Cognitive Therapy

The goal of Cognitive Therapy is to change unproductive or harmful thought patterns. The individual examines his feelings and learns to separate realistic from unrealistic thoughts. As with Behavior Therapy, the individual is actively involved in his own recovery and has a sense of control.

Cognitive-Behavior Therapy (CBT)

Many therapists use a combination of Cognitive and Behavior Therapies, this is often referred to as CBT. One of the benefits of these types of therapies is that the patient learns recovery skills that are useful for a lifetime.

Group Psychotherapy

The principles, concepts, and skills associated with CBT are widely used in group therapy settings to help both children and their parents/families. Group psychotherapy can be a highly effective way to engage children directly in treatment or educate parents on how to best help their children cope.

Shilpee Sindwani, Ph.D., a licensed psychologist with extensive experience with CBT for anxiety, runs a group for parents of anxious children. For more information, please click here.

Relaxation Techniques

Relaxation Techniques help individuals develop the ability to more effectively cope with the stresses that contribute to anxiety, as well as with some of the physical symptoms of anxiety. The techniques taught include breathing re-training and exercise.


Medication can be very useful in the treatment of anxiety disorders, and it is often used in conjunction with one or more of the therapies mentioned above. Sometimes anti-depressants or anxiolytics (anti-anxiety medications) are used to alleviate severe symptoms so that other forms of therapy can go forward. Medication is effective for many people and can be either a short-term or long-term treatment option, depending on the individual.

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