Dealing with School Phobias

Whilst many children form great memories of their time in education, some children find it a torment and a struggle every day to get themselves into school. Very often this issue occurs as a result of a change in circumstances. It may be that the child has moved school because they have moved house, or perhaps they have moved from primary school to secondary school, or from infants into juniors. Ordinarily, the early stages of going into nursery or reception class can cause a degree of upset and anxiety but this is often overcome with perseverance, and supportive and loving staff and teachers. However some children revert to this same behaviour at a later stage, and because they may be physically less easy to handle having grown and become stronger, parents can find it a real struggle to get them into school on a day to day basis.

It is really important that we address whatever underlying issues that might be occurring. Some children may fall into this pattern of behaviour due to a change in circumstances at home. If a parent has left, for example, a child might form the belief that they need to be at home supporting the parent that remains. Or if a parent is unwell, they make take the decision to stay at home in order to look after them or to protect them in some way. Once we have an idea about what is going on and why this pattern of behaviour is occurring, then we can begin to think about the different ways in which we might choose to address it. In some cases, it may simply be about changing some beliefs and offering alternative ways of thinking. However in other situations, especially where the behaviour has gone on for some time, it may have become a habit or repeated behaviour that they have got stuck into. In these cases there will be a slightly different approach taken because appealing to their logical senses about why their behaviour needs to change won’t be enough. Their emotional reaction when the alarm clock goes off in the morning will already activate the pattern that they have embedded in their psychology, and in order to change this, we need to employ techniques that really work on an emotional as well as an intellectual level.

As an NLP4Kids practitioner, I am able to teach you and your child the techniques that can help alleviate this issue. The processes that I use work very quickly, and whilst there are elements of counselling and psychotherapy included in the work that I do with children I am primarily a therapist of NLP, which is a form of cognitive behaviour therapy that works very quickly in addressing issues such as school phobias. Incidentally, the difference between a fear and a phobia is simply the level of intensity that is experienced. A phobia is an intense irrational fear, whereas fears themselves tend to be more anxiety-based and create less of an emotional reaction than a phobia would do.

There are several different ways in which I work with children and families in and around the Essex area. Very often I provide workshops in Basildon, Billericay, Wickford, Southend on Sea, Chelmsford, Colchester, and Brentwood. I also offer free consultation sessions at my office, where you can come and meet me without any obligation to continue ongoing paid-for sessions thereafter. After the consultation, I will put together a plan of action so that you are fully informed about the steps that we will be taking next. I will often liaise with parents at the end of each session or via communications that take place out of the sessions themselves so that you can be prepared to react to your child in the best possible way when that fear or phobia around going to school starts to emerge. It’s really important, with this particular problem, that parents are involved in the solution because sometimes we unwittingly support the behaviours that we actually want to stop in our best efforts to support our child when at times they instead need a different approach to help them move forward. If you would be interested in booking in a consultation session with me, then please give my assistant Olivia a call on 07958 203 274

By Gemma Bailey

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