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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    How can I help my daughter who suffers from anxiety and panic attacks when she does not want help?

    My daughter has spent the last six weeks in the melbourne clinic. She suffers from anxiety and panic attacks. She seems to be a little better but can not commit to going back to school (15yrs old). She is still self harming and does not really believe that talking to pscychiatrists or pscyhologists will help her. How can I help her if she herself does not want help?
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  • 1


    Leanne Hall

    Clinical Psychologist, Psychologist

    Integrative Psychologist, Health Coach & Personal Trainer in private practice. I have expertise in assessing and treating a range of disorders and conditions; depression, anxiety, … View Profile

    It can be heart wrenching as a parent to witness your child in so much distress, especially if you feel as though she does not want any help. Further adding to this distress, is that fact that many (if not most) 15 year olds do not want to confide in their parents. The result = parents feeling powerless and in the dark as to what the real issues may be.

    In some cases, it isn't so much that a young person does not want help at all…it's that they don't want the help they are currently being offered. Finding the right health professional can take some time and it is important for your daughter to have a say in who she feels comfortable working with. It may be that she has not connected with anyone up to this point. This does not mean she should stop trying, it just means she needs to continue looking. This can be frustrating, especially for young people who can often feel as though they are letting people down because they are not benefiting from the help being offered (they often feel it's their fault). It is important for them to understand that it's not their fault.

    For you, it's really important to engage with her around how she is feeling and be as non-judgemental as you can (this can be hard!). Sometimes in our haste to protect our children we focus on finding solutions and getting them help. What we miss, is the critical first step of really connecting and understanding what is happening from their perspective. 

    Having said that, it sounds like she is not ready to think about returning to school yet. That's ok. The first step, is for her to connect with a health professional so that she can start to feel hopeful about her future. You can support her on this journey by listening to her and checking in with her about whether she feels comfortable and safe with that particular person. Once this happens, the health professional can make contact with the school and start to develop a slow re-integration back to school. This needs to be done at a pace which allows your daughter to simultaneously learn ways to manage her anxiety and distress. 

    I hope this helps.

  • rbath

    HealthShare Member

    Hi Leanne,

    Thank you for your reply.  You are correct in watch you say. We will be patient and hopefully find a medical professional that she can connect with.

    It is difficult feeling helpless and I wish I could do something to change teenage suicide and educate other teenagers.

    Seems to me that there is not enough support and education for our youth.

    Again thank you for replying.


  • tameez

    HealthShare Member

    I have schizophrenia from a family that is riddled with mental illness and have a daughter suffering I find that a lot of sufferers have so much trouble asking for help and don't want to talk I started a wiki site called Tameez place for people who need help and I have a whole page of resources for under 25s otherwise just look on google and write in help for youths with mental illness and there's so many sites that can help you.

  • 1




    Leanne Hall

    Clinical Psychologist, Psychologist

    Integrative Psychologist, Health Coach & Personal Trainer in private practice. I have expertise in assessing and treating a range of disorders and conditions; depression, anxiety, … View Profile

    That is a really good point. There are load of helpful websites out there. Can I suggest headspace ( and also ReachOut ( Both have loads of helpful information and resources for 12-25 year olds.

  • 1


    Bruni (Brunhilde) Brewin

    Counsellor, Hypnotherapist

    Bruni Brewin is President Emeritus of The Australian Hypnotherapists’ Association (AHA), the oldest and largest National Registration Body for hypnotherapists in Australia founded in 1949, … View Profile

    Some good suggestions already given.  Unfortunately, I live in Sydney. 

    The fact that your daughter says she doesn't want help from psychologists or psychiatrists (she may not have found one she could relate to) - why not suggest something very different like hypnotherapy, or emotional freedom technique (EFT) with a practitioner that has worked in trauma and self harming - check your therapist out and make sure they are experienced in client centered hypnosis and how to release traumatic feelings and emotions, (and don't just read from scripts). 

    People don't self-harm unless there is a past traumatic event that has caused the memory dis-ease of that happening that previous therapy has not been able to release. 

    As a hypnotherapist, after counselling her known issues (and asking her what did make sense and worked and what didn't she like about any past help), I would regress your daughter to the very first time that she had experienced this feeling and then use parts therapy (Charles Tebbets), or question the Parent, Adult, Child in hypnotherapy (Transactional Analysis -Dr Eric Berne) and then use EFT, or Traumatic Incident Reduction (TIR - Frank A. Gerbode, M.D.) in the trance state to release the feelings and emotions from the causing event.  All these are able to be used in the hypnosis trance state.

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