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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 child is especially fearful of being alone. He is six. He

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My child is especially fearful of being alone. He is six. He is normally outgoing at school and at home except if he is in a situation where he will be alone. If he wants to go to the toilet even at home, he will ask for someone to come with him and stay with him until he is finished. At night is frightened of being in his bed alone, and will ask for either my husband or I to be with him until he falls asleep. If he wakes during the night, he will call for one of us to come to him and be with him until he falls asleep again. He will not even go to his room by himself in broad daylight. He is an only child. This behaviour has always been more or less present, and we were told he would grow out of it. Now at six it seems that there are some very "irrational" fears driving his behaviour. When asked, he says that he is frightened of his own mind or voices he might hear. He says he is actually scared of his own mind and what his mind tells him to do. I am at a loss as to what to do.
hello there,

It is normal for young children to have fears as they grow away from their parents, but this does seem to be something a little deeper. It is possible that your son has messages or beliefs lodged in his subconscious mind, lodged in there as a response to something that has frightened him. This would explain what he he might be meaning when he says he is afraid of what is in his mind -his conscious mind will be telling him it's ok to go to the toilet, he 'knows' in his conscious mind that there is nothing to be afraid of, yet his subconscious mind could be telling him to 'be careful, it's dangerous without mum or dad'. have you heard of EMDR? It stands for eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing, and it taps into the subconscious mind, identifying and letting go of any beliefs that might be held in there. If you search for emdr Australia you will find more information and therapists local to you. Try and find a therapist who has experience with young children because they are specially trained to do the therapy in a child friendly way. Your son will know little about it, he will be playing in sand or similar, whilst the therapist taps on his shoulders, or asks him to watch some lights. This is to stimulate a bilateral stimulation of the brain, which helps to process away the beliefs in a natural way, as we normally do during REM. (rapid eye movement) sleep in the night. You have realised that these beliefs are irrational, but to your son they are very real. Their purpose is positive, they are meant to protect your son, as the role of the subconscious mind is always to protect the self. Sometimes they become tangled or distorted. When he says he cannot help it, he is being honest. They are very natural, they are what unpin fears and phobias, but they are irrational and they need to go.

Alternative theories are that your son has some kind of mental health issue and is actually hearing voices, which would require a psychiatric assessment and medication. Another alternative that you might consider is that he has extra-sensory perception and can sense the spirits. it depends on what you believe! I would advise you to try EMDR first.

Hope this helps, Best Wishes, Sarah

Edited by Sarah on 8/5/2010 at 7:26 AM EST
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