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Anxiety in kids…..and adults.


Have you ever noticed how some children are just anxious children, how they have one anxiety after another. Just when you think they have got rid of one, another appears. I have worked with several children who have demonstrated just that pattern.


So what is going on? It is tempting sometimes to think the immediate anxious thought should be focussed upon and eradicated: ‘school is scary’, ‘I may get Covid’ etc. This approach may look effective but it is the prevailing pattern of looking for something to feel anxious about which is more important.


In NLP there is a presupposition that All behaviour has a positive intention and a context in which it this behaviour has value. Therefore, at some point and in some context, it has proved helpful for the child to demonstrate this behaviour, the anxiety for example. If a person can identify where and when this has been useful and how it has been useful, then they can begin to challenge its validity across different contexts. For example, it may have been useful to please your siblings when you were young in order to avoid fighting with them or to gain praise from a parent, however, it is not sustainable to go through life pleasing to avoid any conflict: the behaviour is outdated.


With a talking therapeutic relationship, a person, child or adult, becomes more aware of where a certain behaviour stems from. The body gives away lots of signs that we are entering into a primitive states (fight, flight, freeze, anxiety) and these too can be stopped before they are out of control and the logical cortext is no longer able to take control.


Once we are in tune with the signs, we can begin to question them every time we begin to feel them arising.


As ever, awareness is the first step on the road to change. Anxiety is not a ‘thing’, it cannot be held in your hand; it is the reaction to a thought. A person is not an anxious person, that is just a label to make life easier. However, a person can feel anxious about certain situations. We generalise to take a short cut but a child is left with a label which all too often lasts a long, long time. When the child grows up, we have the anxious adult.


Spot it, stop it, choose!