Anxiety In Children: Understanding Factors Influencing Anxiety In Children and Counselling Best Practices
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Considered the most prevalent mental health issue amongst children, anxiety is an emotion that is felt in the body and alerts us to threats, protects us from danger and helps us reach important goals (Anxiety Canada, n.d.). It is an emotion related to fear which includes thoughts of worry, avoidance behaviour and feeling scared (Headley and Campbell, 2013). No single risk factor can completely account for the development of anxiety in children, instead there are several genetic and environmental risk factors associated with the development of clinical anxiety disorders in children (Thompson, et al., 2013). As outlined in the Diagnostic Statistical Manual for Mental Health (DSM-5), anxiety disorders commonly diagnosed in children include, generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, selective mutism, and separation anxiety disorder (American Psychiatric Association, 2013). This capstone includes a literature review which will discuss environmental and genetic factors that can contribute to the development of anxiety in children, followed by defining anxiety and signs and symptoms in children. This leads to the discussion of common anxiety disorders found in children. Finally, exploring treatment options for children with anxiety are reviewed as best practices school counsellors can use within the school environment. The school environment is seen as an ideal context for the delivery of early intervention programs targeting anxiety symptoms and coping skills (Ruocco et al., 2018). Using information gathered in the literature review, the development of a group counselling unit will be presented as a method of intervention for children with anxiety within a school setting.
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