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What Kind of Therapy?

She's been out of class for months; he will consent only to a tutor, but will not return to elementary school. They have become disabled by their separation anxiety. Their parents are at a loss of what to do. So they send their children to individual therapy, which takes weeks - if not months - to begin to have any noticeable affect. Indeed, their child may be more relaxed but still has not returned to school. So what good is the therapy?

Understanding different types of therapy is crucial when addressing a problem. We wouldn't seek speech therapy for dyslexia, unless there was also a language weakness. Similarly, OT is meant to help with fine motor and sensory issues. Yet the latter has been promoted as a treatment for behavioral problems as well. Lastly, play therapy is effective in healing from trauma and in promoting expression of feelings. But it, too, is not a cure-all. Problems such as anxiety are best treated with cognitive-based approaches, such as CBT, that promote the skills needed to tolerate the discomfort of negative feelings. And one must take into account, not just the child's issues, but the whole family system. One cannot separate an individual from the dynamics of family life.

I'm expressing a page-full of experience in these few sentences. Too many therapists, trained only in one modality, promote their treatment as a panacea for all emotional problems. You need to examine the research and choose only those evidence-based techniques that work!


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