5-Second Psychology

5-Second Psychology Consult–Peds Edition: Anxiety and Avoidance

How do I help my child deal with anxiety?

  • Issue: Paradoxical avoidance – The more the feeling of anxiety is avoided, the more disabling it becomes
    • Relief from the escape reinforces the behavior
  • Goal: Generate acceptance of uncomfortable thoughts and feelings
    • Learn to be okay with being uncomfortable
    • Remember the Chinese finger trap? The more you struggle, the worse it gets! You have to lean into it. 
    • Exercise can train you to be okay with some discomfort 

These notes were taken from a March 6, 2020 lecture by Dr. Andrew R. Riley, Ph.D., Associate Professor in Pediatrics at OHSU. They represent my interpretation of Dr. Riley’s message on how to deal with various behavioral questions that arise in primary care and pediatrics.

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