individuals become more comfortable with a feared situation through using repeated exposures. These exposures can be direct or imagined and should begin with a situation the youth is just slightly afraid of and move towards more highly feared situations. For instance if a youth is afraid of heights the first exposure might involve standing at the top of a staircase. This process should move at a comfortable pace for the youth and should incorporate the practice of new coping skills.
What should my therapist be doing?
- Practicing fear-provoking situations with your child, beginning with less-feared scenarios and slowly building up to harder ones
- Praising your child for engaging in practice exercises
What should I be doing?
- Practicing this skill with your child outside of therapy sessions
- Encouraging your child to move on to tougher exercises as he masters each step of the exposure practice
- Occasionally reviewing previously mastered scenarios
- Praising and supporting your child’s efforts
How will I know if it is working?
- Your child is able to complete practice exercises with increasing ease
- Your child expresses less fear towards practiced scenarios and real-life scenarios
- Your child is more comfortable in situations he previously feared.