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Dealing with Anxiety

Anxiety is something that many people experience in their lives. It is a natural bodily reaction, designed to help us perform more powerfully, when we have an important task and to protect us in times of danger. The anxiety mechanism is also called the "fight or flight response" and gives us that extra surge of adrenaline, to run from danger, or to fight it (if flight is not an alternative). It is an internalizing disorder in which problems are directed toward self rather than others. Self directed behaviours include: fear, withdrawal, bodily complaints, self-harm etc. However, when these experiences and symptoms worsen and begin to interfere with normal development a child may develop an anxiety disorder, and intervention becomes essential.

Anxiety is Not

Experiencing Anxiety does not lead to insanity or becoming “crazy”. It is actually normal to experience anxiety in certain situations. The anxiety response is actually designed to help protect us and/or make us perform better. It can help us perform more powerfully, such as in a competitive sports event or when we have a public speech such as in front of a class. Those “butterflies” in the stomach we may experience during these events are supposed to be there. How we react to this physical sensation is what matters; some people know how to take that energy and turn into a positive state, while others who feel this may channel it more negatively and become frightened.

Who Gets Anxiety?

Anxiety does not discriminate between, men, women or children, races or ethnicities, everyone has the potential to become Anxious or have an Anxiety Disorder. Anxiety disorders are one of the most common mental health conditions currently affecting children and adolescents.

What Causes Anxiety?

Anxiety disorders may be caused by environmental factors, medical factors, genetics, brain chemistry, substance abuse, or a combination of these. It is most commonly triggered by the stress in our lives. Usually anxiety is a response to outside forces, but it is possible that we make ourselves anxious with "negative self-talk" a habit of always telling ourselves the worst will happen.

Your Therapy at Dr. Angela Fountain & Associates?

At Dr. Fountain & Associates we provide a safe and fun atmosphere for children of all ages to explore their feelings and behaviors. We provide an interactive country setting that enables children to explore their concerns in a way that is non-threatening and enjoyable.  Cognitive-behavioral play therapy (CBPT) is an approach to treating children in a developmentally sensitive way. Cognitive-behavioral play therapy involves your child in the treatment through play, using art materials, baking, stuffed animals, puppets, live animals and other toys. CBPT includes the establishment of specific goals, the therapist playing an active role in selecting materials and activities, using play to educate the child, and using praise and rewards to encourage positive behaviors.

How can Cognitive Behavioural Therapy/ Cognitive Behavioural Play Therapy (CBPT) Help?

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBPT) is a structured, practical, and effective intervention to help people with anxiety. CBPT treats anxiety by identifying and addressing the behaviors and thinking patterns that cause and maintain anxiety. This particular therapy focuses on the hear-and-now, your present ways of thinking and behaving. CBPT uses a gradual exposure technique that allows you to slowly in a controlled environment expose yourself to the stimulus that is causing you anxiety. CBPT has been shown to be effective in the management of anxiety and is as (if not more) effective as treatment with medication alone. Research also shows that people experiencing anxiety are less likely to relapse when treated with CBPT and medication: They tend to get better and stay better!

The following outlines the different phases of the Cognitive Behavioural Play Therapy treatment that your child would receive for Anxiety at Dr. Angela Fountain & Associates:

Phase One: The Foundation

  • Explaining what anxiety is and isn’t.

  • How to set and make personal goals

  • Understanding how our thoughts, feelings and behaviors are all interconnected

  • What are Thinking and Behavioral Traps

  • What are your specific fears

  • Creating a hierarchy of specific fears (low anxiety to extreme anxiety feelings)

  • Identifying Feelings and Emotions


Phase Two: The Nuts and Bolts

  • Learning how to relax

  • Learning how your emotions feel inside of you

  • Identifying how you feel in each anxiety provoking situation

  • Identifying and changing maladaptive automatic thoughts

  • Identifying and changing negative schemas

  • Identifying and changing negative assumptions

  • Develop realistic and balanced assumptions, schemas, and thoughts

  • Develop different coping plans that help in different situations

  • Learning to self direct yourself in using learnt coping mechanisms

  • Learn how to evaluate your self

  • Learning to reward yourself for your Efforts NOT just your Success


Phase Three:  Practice, Practice, Practice

  • Practicing Role playing the different coping and problem solving skills

  • Applying what is learned to real life situations


Phase Four: On the Right Path

  • Re-visiting goals and making changes if necessary

  • Create concrete plans on how to do things on your own

  • Phasing out Therapy (monthly visits)

  • What coping plan works best for you

  • Continue practicing and developing positive assumptions, schemas, thoughts and self-talk


What Can Be Expected as a Client Recieving CBPT?

CBPT is a treatment that requires your active participation. You will be asked to attend therapy weekly for at least the initial phase of your treatment (first 3-4 sessions). You will be given out weekly take home assignments to be completed at home to help you practice the tools learned in therapy. These assignments help encourage modifying your behavior, thoughts, and relationships.

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