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Client Spotlight: Overcoming Anxiety

This is a real interview with the mom of a 10-year-old girl diagnosed with Separation Anxiety Disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, and a Specific Phobia of stinging insects and birds. They have recently graduated from treatment at the Center for Effective Therapy.

Can you briefly describe what life was like for your family before receiving outpatient treatment?

My daughter has always been anxious since she was little. We had decided to reach out to The Baker Center when we noticed that her anxiety was impeding her ability to do what she wanted to do, and our ability as a family to go about our lives in the way we wanted to. We were getting more and more concerned that it was impacting her day-to-day life. There were times that she couldn’t go outside since she had a pretty intense phobia of bees and birds. It had gotten to where we couldn’t hang outside for the day, and she couldn’t play independently in our yard. Her struggles seemed to go beyond just normal levels of worry, so we decided to reach out for support.

What made you want to contact The Baker Center?

I work as a behavioral analyst in special education, so I was able to get a list of recommended clinics from the psychologist our team works with. We ended up at the Center for Effective Therapy because you all were able to get us in quick, and we were so happy that we did!

How was your experience with The Baker Center different than with other clinics?

My daughter who was treated here hasn’t had any other therapy experiences, but her sister does work with a provider at a different agency. I was just saying to my family that we should move her sister over to receive treatment at The Baker Center. We saw my daughter have such a positive experience with therapy here and saw a dramatic improvement in her symptoms within a shorter time. Her sister struggles with the same anxiety challenges and she has been working with the same therapist since she was four years old, but we think it might be time to shift the approach.

I think my daughter had such successful treatment here for a few reasons. Treatment included setting goals of which worries she wanted to explicitly target, doing homework assignments to face her fears so she knew she was working towards improvement, and we saw tons of buy in for this reason. I think that knowing she was putting in the practice of facing her anxiety and seeing the progress that resulted made her feel good.

How was your therapist different than others and how did they make you as a parent feel seen and heard?

I couldn’t say more positive things about Jamie; we are going to miss her. She had such a great connection with our daughter from the start. She is normally a tough nut to crack; if she doesn’t trust someone, she won’t open up or even say a single thing. Jamie did everything to make that connection with her, and it was amazing to see the amount of trust that was built between them even early on.

How is life different now vs. before treatment?

This summer will be interesting because bees and birds are a huge fear for her. But last summer was far better than the summer before. When we went on vacation a couple of years ago, we were at a zoo in Phoenix, and while we were trying to eat lunch there were birds flying all around us. She was so scared that she had a huge meltdown. We had a similar experience recently when we were eating outside and there were tons of pigeons around. She was still scared, but she used her coping strategies and got through it okay! It was a huge change from her reaction in the zoo.

Another example is that she used to be terrified of roller coasters, to the point where she would refuse to even talk about them. But now, we’re going to Disney as a family soon, and she even has a list of the roller coasters she wants to try! She also used to be afraid of getting shots, but this year we were able to get her through her flu shot without huge upset, like there had been before.

Is there anything that you would like to share with other parents of anxious children?

I think if you have a gut feeling that something isn’t right, or if your efforts to accommodate your child’s anxiety is impacting your family’s life, that isn’t something that will just go away. The earlier you can address those things, the better. It’s so easy to accommodate things if you have been doing it for a while. But it is possible to make a change. I feel like we have shifted the way that we do things, and as a family we are no longer overly anxious about how things will go. It’s helpful to know that our daughter has strategies to get through hard times.

We are really thankful that our daughter had the opportunity to receive treatment when she did. She was the perfect age to learn these skills to manage her anxiety and to have the energy to invest in doing the practice of facing her fears!


If you're interested in accessing treatment for your child, contact us today!