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Longstanding studies on mental health identify most mental illnesses to start at the age of fourteen. The current researches have disputed the issue and they have proven that mental illness can start earlier than the age of fourteen due to various body changes. The body changes occur because of changes in environmental conditions. Most Child Developmental Theories focus on the consistent development of the brain and how it arises from a given form of experience with the environment. Therefore, a child develops different cognitive changes and if exposed to adverse circumstances, such a child is likely to develop a mental health issue. Nonetheless, there are other exceptional cases where mental illness is caused by genetic issues.
Conceptualization of Social Anxiety Disorder Developmental Theory Perspective
According to James et al. (2013), social anxiety disorder is also termed as social phobia. Children with this disorder experience intense fear that makes them to completely distant themselves from interacting with friends. These children also experiences intense feelings of anxiety brought about numerous triggers from the environmental situations, such as the fear of being victimized by others. This affects the child making him or her to worry in different situations which results in significant distresses (Leichsenring & Leweke, 2017). If not dealt with the disorder also leads to other cognitive outcomes that negatively influences the child academic performance, self-confidence, social interactions and other forms of functioning.
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There are many suggested mechanisms that can help treat this type of child mental disorder. The commonly used method is cognitive behavioral therapy (De Castella et al., 2015). From developmental theories’ perspectives, there is a likelihood that a child can change the anxiety or phobia when acceded to different treatment mechanisms that are likely to elevate the child’s self-confidence. Klein (2018) states anxiety to be triggered by the brain through a cognition process on the assumed consequences of a given action. Social phobia is usually treated through constant psychotherapies which involve cognitive behavior treatments such as exposure therapy with cognitive restructuring and without cognitive restructuring (Leichsenring & Leweke, 2017). The following section details on the treatment plan of a child social phobia disorder.
Treatment Plan of Social Anxiety Disorder in Children
Immediate goals involve the acquisition of enough knowledge on the disorder.
Identify the thoughts of the child before deciding on the type of CBT to use.
- The act will help understand how the child thinks of different issues and equally formulate the most negative conditions that trigger the child’s anxiety
Understand the environmental issues both from the past and current time.
- Environmental issues are the first instigators of anxiety. When a child is exposed to such instance, a child forms a perception of given environmental instances and in return, he or she becomes more sensitive to such condition when exposed for the second time.
Decide on the suitable CBT to apply
- The understanding of CBT is based on the theory that events do not upset the child but the meaning the child gives these events. Usually, at this level, a therapist should understand such perceptions from the identified environmental issues before recommending the desired therapy.
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Understand the severity of the disorder.
- Impliedly, from developmental theories, the severity of social anxiety varies with the child’s age. Therefore, the treatment of the disorder is shorter for younger children compared to full grown children, probably between the ages of 6 to 13 years old.
- Severity is also identified with the length of a period with which the child has suffered from the mental illness and the in-depth exposure of the child to the environmental stimuli (Leichsenring & Leweke, 2017). Usually, such understanding will require a psycho-connectivity reasoning from a therapist. The reasoning involves the understanding of the interpretations formed by a child through consistent exposure to the environmental events.
Develop a comprehensive process of the therapy session that will be carried.
- Since other provisions have been made available, a full conceptualization should be developed on the consistency of activities to be applied in treating the anxiety issues with the child. Programs should be different depending on the understanding of the already attained knowledge of the social cognition, environment, and process of development by a child.
Short-term goals involve the initial milestones achieved through the applications of the identified CBT method.
Actualizations of the plan and the method identified
- After attaining enough understanding on the conditions with the child, the process of therapy begins after the first interaction with the child.
- When a child expresses fear, a therapist should create time for more meeting sessions. These sessions should be on locations that are most preferred for the child such as children playgrounds.
In the first 12 months, a child should be able to exercise some form of confidence.
- If the therapy session will stop at this level, a child may conform to develop similar symptoms if adverse conditions arise within the environment.
Applications of few learned skills from psycho-education system
- A child should be able to apply a few learned skills during therapy.
- The developed little confidence will make the child have the ability to exercise skills learned from therapy session (Siemer, Fogel, & Van Voorhees, 2011). In most cases, the therapist uses experiential models which elevates the confidence of a child and equally change the cognitive perception on different issues that result in creating a form of social phobia.
- Positive results include an increased performance of a child, creation of more friends, a show of improved self-confidence once exposed to a social setting and other changed behaviors as identified with the child’s initial conditions.
Establish a form of permanency change in a child’s behavior.
- CBT aims at making a permanent change in a child brain development. Permanency in behavior is shown through the consistent efforts in maintaining a positive behavior.
- This behavior should be maintained throughout other interactions in different groups.
- A child should have more confidence to face events that instigates anxiety. This change is attributed to a cognitive change of a child on issues that impacted his or her self-confidence.
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Permanent behavior change
- Permanent behavior change is noted with the interactions of the child. Such behavior is identified to change throughout the lifetime period of the child. In most severe instance, the accomplishment of short-term goals might take up to 16 months and thereafter follow a permanent change of behavior.
- If the training maintains for more than one year, a child would experience a permanent behavioral change. Also due to cognitive changes, the consistent growth will implicate a more permanent behavior of a person that might last for a lifetime (James et al., 2013). The therapy should aim at achieving such an objective. The behavior will be identified;
- If a child maintains the same confidence in the rest of his or her life.
- If there is improved performance throughout the child education life.
- If the child forms different groups of friends to participate in different events.
- If a child will exploit other behaviors that were hidden due to low self-confidence.
- Changed perception include the development of new cognition on different issues. Usually, the technique of identifying such a change is by comparing the previous child behavior and the current child behavior when exposed to different events that previously created phobia in the child’s social life.
The treatment plan involves a comprehensive description of the appropriate process that should be employed by therapists when treating the disorder. The importance of the treatment plan is to give a schedule of the flow of activities and their essentiality in the realization of the end goals of the exercise. Likewise, the plan creates a more orderly way and it allows the inclusion of other neglected activities that are critical to the process in order to improve different situational circumstances. These advantages help to solve other unidentified inconsistencies that might impact the full actualization of the plan. Ultimately, the treatment of social anxiety disorder is a short-term process and the named long-term goals include the required results from the process. The immediate goals are the required preparations whereas the intermediate goals are the actual actions. All these goals are essential in ensuring the attainment of successful results out of the plan.
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- De Castella, K., Goldin, P., Jazaieri, H., Heimberg, R. G., Dweck, C. S., & Gross, J. J. (2015). Emotion beliefs and cognitive behavioral therapy for social anxiety disorder. Cognitive behavior therapy Journal, 44(2), 128-141.
- James, A. C., James, G., Cowdrey, F. A., Soler, A., & Choke, A. (2013). Cognitive behavioral therapy for anxiety disorders in children and adolescents. Cochrane Database Syst Reviewed Journal, 1(6). Retrieved from https://europepmc.org/abstract/med/23733328
- Klein, M. (2018). On the Theory of Anxiety and Guilt 1. In Developments in psychoanalysis Journal, 1(0), 271-291.
- Leichsenring, F., & Leweke, F. (2017). Social anxiety disorder. New England Journal of Medicine, 376(23), 2255-2264.
- Siemer, C. P., Fogel, J., & Van Voorhees, B. W. (2011). Telemental health and web-based applications in children and adolescents. Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Clinics, 20(1), 135-153.