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Elliott, LPCC, NCC
Elliott, LPCC, NCC, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 7664
Experience:  35 years of experience as a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor, National Certified Counselor and a college professor.
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This is sort of a child rearing question. I have three nephews

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This is sort of a child rearing question. I have three nephews 2yo, 6 yo and 8 yo. I see them infrequently. The 8 yo has seemed over the years to be concerned that he will get hurt when dealing with animals. Recently when they were over I had the kids help me transfer about 20, 2 week old chicks (as in chickens) from a box to their pen. The 4 yo and 2 yo handled the situation well with age appropriate assistance and all 3 took their turns transferring one chick at a time so each nephew got a chance to hold an equal number of birds. The oldest however got alarmed and dropped the first chick on the ground saying he thought it would hurt him. Then he wouldn't touch the chick and just wanted me to do it. The most I got him to do was put his fingers on the backs of the chick as I did the carrying. My response was to reassure him that the chick couldn't hurt him. This didn't accomplish much. He didn't want to miss his turn in transporting the chicks though. They had a good time it seemed and will be back again maybe in the fall. What should be my approach to this phobia? I am unaware of other phobias. I have not talked to the parents about this as my interaction with the family is rare and if anything is taken wrong there would be little opportunity to address the issue again.
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  JaRee1993 replied 3 years ago.

JaRee1993 :

Good morning, My name is Ja`Ree and I am a mental health counselor. I would like to try to help you with your question.

JaRee1993 :

It is a bit unusual for a boy of 8 to be afraid of animals and there could be several reasons for his fear. I would like to talk with you more and get more information in order to assist you with talking with his parents as to whether or not he needs some professional help with this. If you would like to talk with me about this please reply to my message and I will respond as soon as I see your reply. Thank you for contacting Just Answer. Ja`Ree

Expert:  Elliott, LPCC, NCC replied 3 years ago.




Seeking expert counseling is a sign of strength. A personal relationship with a caring professional is proven clinically effective.


Dear friend,

I answered this question, painstakingly late last night, and the JustAnswer system crashed and I lost all of my work, except for some book recommendations, and that is why I am jumping back in here a reconstruction of my previous answer. I have already invested a lot of time for a good answer and you deserve to get it.

You are correct that this is a phobia, which is a form of anxiety. It is best treated by a type of therapy called Exposure an Response Prevention, in which the patient is exposed, gradually to the object of fear and then not permitted to respond negatively.

It could be fear of a snake, an elevator, climbing a ladder, lemon pits (yes I had such a patient that I cured), or ........... baby chicks.

The object is to expose the patient slowly to that object in degrees, over a series of sessions. With fear of an elevator, for example, the patient is led to the elevator and observes it without entering. Then he watches others use it but does not use it. Then he goes inside the open elevator and leaves without letting the door close. Then he goes inside (with the therapist all of this time) and lets the door close and open but does not travel in it Finally he rides the elevator without fear.

Your nephew is not completely afraid of the chicks. He can approach and touch them but with great trepidation He can be taught to overcome this, by a therapist or by someone, such as yourself (or his parents if they understand the principles).

Let me recommend two books for you. The first is for all ages and the second is for children specifically. Following the advice and direction in these books should be enough to overcome the phobia.




Product Details

Freeing Your Child from Anxiety: Powerful, Practical Solutions to Overcome Your Child's Fears, Worries, and Phobias...

I wish you great success in helping your nephew. You are doing the right thingl

Warm regards,


Elliott, MAE, LPCC, NCC, CCMHC

Elliott, LPCC, NCC, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 7664
Experience: 35 years of experience as a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor, National Certified Counselor and a college professor.
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