Joan Lipuscek is a bilingual (English & Spanish) child, teen and family therapist treating anxiety in Houston, TX. For children and teens with anxiety, she utilizes a combination of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Family Therapy.
There are several types of anxiety disorders that can be disruptive to the lives of children, teens and families. All of these disorders can impede a child from experiencing enriching relationships, completing daily activities at home, accomplishing school work and participating in extracurricular activities. Information about national prevalence rates of anxiety disorders is included in our overview of mental disorders in U.S. teens.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
GAD is characterized by a disproportionate amount of anxiety and worry about things events in the daily lives of children and teens. Children with GAD often experience unrealistic fears and distress that are not based in reality.
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
OCD is a type of anxiety disorder where children and teens experience intrusive obsessional thoughts that affect their concentration on schoolwork or daily tasks. As a result of these unwanted thoughts, the child creates a ritual to reduce and banish the obsessive anxiety.
Panic Disorder affects children who experience two or more panic attacks. Panic attacks manifest with physical and cognitive symptoms. The physical symptoms involve rapid heartbeat, sweating, shaking, shortness of breath, chest pain, nausea, and dizziness. Some of the cognitive symptoms include, fear of losing control, fear of dying and sometimes depersonalization.
Separation Anxiety is a disorder experienced by children that have unrealistic fears associated with separation from their parents, siblings or caretakers. These are people with whom children have a close emotional connection. Some of the physical symptoms include stomachaches and headaches. The cognitive symptoms may include extreme fears, tantrums and defiant behavior. Children can experience the physical and cognitive symptoms after the caretaker has gone or when the child learns that their caretaker is leaving.
Social Anxiety occurs in children and teens who experience extreme distress when in close proximity to a large number of people or when they have to interact with others in a social setting. Some of the symptoms include feeling self-conscious around others, extreme worry about future events and feeling embarrassed or rejected. Some of the physiological symptoms that may be evident with children suffering with social anxiety include, feeling nauseous, sweating, blushing or shaking.
The two best treatment options for children suffering from anxiety are Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and medication management. There are many benefits to using Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Through therapy, children can begin to take control and learn to stop unwanted thoughts. They are also able to develop positive self-confidence and feel less nervous. In my practice, I teach children behavioral skills with the goal of reducing anxiety. This empowers the child and gives them a sense of optimism about the future. Medication is another option for those suffering from anxiety. After an evaluation, if I determine that medication may be appropriate, I can refer you to a trusted child psychiatrist. However, clients should be aware of the risks of medication for children and teens.
I begin therapy with children and teens by establishing a trusting relationship. I like to understand how long the child has experienced anxiety and how the condition has impacted their life. I also obtain a family history and background, as this can be helpful in getting to know the family and their unique situation. At this point I assist the child and family in getting some distance from the anxiety by working with them to separate it from the child. Part of this process involves gently encouraging the child to face her fears in a safe and trusting place. Parents are encouraged to help children move through this process by letting their children experience their anxiety instead of trying to shield them from it. The goal of therapy is to reduce anxiety by helping the child to modify their behavior and teaching them skills to manage their condition.
I would like to see your child thrive and overcome the symptoms of anxiety. Improved school performance, positive self-esteem and better relationships with peers and siblings are all positive results that can be achieved through therapy. Each child is unique and experiences the symptoms of anxiety differently. I will tailor the therapeutic process to honor the individuality of each child and help them overcome their anxiety.