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Sarah
Sarah, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 143
Experience:  Chart'd Psych, 12 yrs exp. English prisons, Clinical Hypnotherapist, EMDR Therapist, BPS, HPC reg'd.
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My 7 year old daughter is obsessed that something is going

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My 7 year old daughter is obsessed that something is going to happen to me when she is at school. It got so bad before the holidays that she ended up not being able to go to school for the last week of term. This was after a bout of bad weather meant that she could not wave to me at lunchtime when I dropped my daughter off as normal. Apparently, that meant that she knew I was 'safe' when she did that. I have managed to get her back into school after a terribly long summer break. She now asks repeated questions when I drop her off and again when I see her briefly at lunchtime - ascertaining whether I am staying at home all day, not going anywhere etc etc. School are saying she can't see me at lunchtime anymore as it disrupts her day and she says she now can't go to school anymore as that is the only thing that gets her through the day, being able to ask me 'those questions' to see if I am going to be safe. We are in the process of being assesssed, but they are just saying its separation anxiety. Its not only that. Any ideas ?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Dr. Olsen replied 3 years ago.
Hello. Welcome to JustAnswer. Let me ask you a question before I offer an answer. Dis she exhibit anxious behavior before?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
yes about friendship and separation from me - always been there, but never to this degree
Expert:  Dr. Olsen replied 3 years ago.
I am sorry to hear your daughter's situation. Some children of her age (7) may have emotional difficulty returning to school after summer break. It sounds like she has anxiety about a few things (you, peer relations, school etc.). She may be emotionally sensitive to external stimuli including changes in her environment and social situations. Developmentally, she is in the stage of Preoperational where she still has trouble distinguishing her fantasies from reality. So if she was exposed to anxiety-provoking stimuli such as a scary TV show, she may experience anxiety and/or confused it as reality in her mind. There are potential reasons why your daughter may show anxiety. Your daughter may need to see a psychotherapist who specializes in PLAY/ART THERAPY and Children for 1-6 months in your area. Therapist may help her to express anxious feelings and thoughts in play, artwork, and talk, which in turn may reduce her anxiety. You can search a licensed psychologist on internet- such as the PSYCHOLOGY TODAY website. Go to (http://therapists.psychologytoday.com/ppc/prof_search.php?iorb=4764) and enter your zip code and optional category of specialty such as Children. Read psychotherapists’ profile to see if he or she specializes in Play therapy or art therapy. You may also want to create your mental image of psychotherapist that your daughter wants to work with – Male or female? Old or young? To note, many therapists offer initial consultation for free. So you can see it as an informational meeting. You can ask any question. You can also negotiate psychotherapy fee and number of sessions. Please let me know if I have overlooked any or you have more questions.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Relist: Answer quality.
wanted an idea of what may be wrong with her - too vague
Expert:  Sarah replied 3 years ago.
Hi there,

I would like to offer a different perspective for you to consider regarding your daughter's anxiety. It is possible that she has a strong belief lodged in her subconscious mind that is being triggered by you leaving her at school. It is possible that she has seen or overheard you talking about a time when you had an accident, or had a close encounter with an accident or something similar. It's as if your daughter els responsible for your safety or your wellbeing, as if she is the adult and you take the child role. It could be something that she has misinterpreted that she may have overheard. It could be something that she has taken very literally that was meant to be expressive, such as 'I don't know what I will do without her when she's at school all day'. It would be that your daughter has such a strong relationship with you that she feels responsible for your wellbeing when you are at home and she is at school. She needs reassurance that you are fine, and I have to agree with the school that meeting her at lunch time will actually make it worse, because I believe you are supporting her anxiety by showing her that you are OK - eventually, she has to believe this for herself, without the 'proof'. The subconscious mind is often overlooked, but can be extremely powerful in it's impact on our life. It continually runs through day and night, and never sleeps. There may be a highly emotionally incident that your daughter has been through when a separation was enforced, even when your daughter was a very small, perhaps through illness, etc. If any of this is ringing true, it would be worth looking into a therapy called EMDR, which stands for eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing, and you can find more info at the website www.emdria.org for more details and a therapist local to you. Normally we process anxiety away at night during REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, but when something is too overwhelming, this tends not to happen. The brain may be dreaming to try and process it away, which then can cause night waking or nightmares. Does that sound familiar? If you look at the website, seek a therapist who specialises with children because they work with toys and sand to process the emotions and beliefs away that are linked to the belief in the subconscious mind. There is no-one to blame for this occurring, it is just about finding out where it came from and letting it go. The great thing about this therapy is that your daughter does not need to be consciously aware of where it came from - the therapy occurs in the subconscious mind and the answers become apparent, as they will all be in your daughters subconscious. I do hope this is helpful. With best wishes, Sarah

Edited by Sarah on 10/11/2010 at 9:38 PM EST
Sarah, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 143
Experience: Chart'd Psych, 12 yrs exp. English prisons, Clinical Hypnotherapist, EMDR Therapist, BPS, HPC reg'd.
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