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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    My daughter is suffering from social anxiety. What can I do to help?

    She gets panic attacks and can even faint. She can over come it but I want her to know that I know what is going on and I understand why she does not want to change jobs or go to Tafe and even go out
  • Find a professional to answer your question

  • Linda Meaker

    Community Psychologist, Counselling Psychologist, Health Psychologist, Psychologist

    Linda Meaker is psychologist who works with people of all ages but has a special interest in working with children and adolescents and their parents. View Profile

    It sounds like this is really hard for your daughter and you are understandably concerned. Perhaps let her know that you see how difficult it is for her and you want to support her through this. It can be a good idea to choose a non-threatening time to let reach out in this way, such as when you are driving her somewhere or when you are doing something enjoyable together - particularly if your daughter is an adolescent or young adult.  I would recommend helping her to seek  some professional help. Your GP is a good starting point, and may be able to recommend a practitioner  with experience in the treatment of panic. Cognitive-behavioural therapy has been found to be very effective in the treatment of anxiety disorders such as  panic, and many people report good outcomes after seeking professional help.  Wishing you and your daughter all the best.

  • I have been working in Eltham, Melbourne as a relationship and family counsellor for over twelve years. I draw on current theory and research about … View Profile

    As Linda has explained, I think it would be important for your daughter to get professional help rather than struggling along on her own. Psychological treatment is available through a Mental Health plan that your GP can put in place, which means she can receive help that is rebatable through Medicare. I wonder if your daughter has a sense of what has happened, that has caused her to feel so anxious when she goes out? As well as learning cognitive behavioural strategies for managing symptoms, it may be helpful for your daughter to think about what it is she is afraid of, and to understand her reaction as a normal response to this. Sometimes problems develop when a normal response to one situation becomes the way we respond to other situations - it makes sense when we understand this, and may help us to separate this from responding in that way to other situations. An example of this may be - a person was bullied at work and is now scared of going to any place where they need to work or study; or someone may have witnessed a violent incident on a train and is now frightened to use public transport. If something like this has happened to your daughter, she may benefit from counselling that helps her to identify what happeed, understand her responses as making sense when this is known about, and then to support her to think about strategies for keeping herself safe if she found herself in a similiar situation in future.

    All the best.

  • Jeannette Kavanagh

    Counsellor, Psychotherapist

    I work with you to find your unique solutions to your problems. It's important that my clients gain some new strategies that they can apply … View Profile

    I agree with Linda and Vivienne that it's important to find a way to let your daughter know that you're there for her in a non-judgmental way.  I'm not sure that trying to find a rational or reasonable explanation for her anxiety and panic is the best way to go.  Often, episodes of panic come completely out of the blue.  That's why they're so frightening and disturbing: people think "why am I feeling like this? I feel terrified but I know there's nothing to fear."

    Essentially, your daughter does need to find a professional who is skilled in dealing with anxiety.  That may mean someone who uses more than Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT). I've found it helpful for some clients but in most instances it is nowhere near the most effective treatment.  CBT buys into the concept of 'fear' and requires the person to see her/his role in those feelings.  The work of Neuroscientists such as Dr Jeffrey Schwartz allows us to see panic reactions as an inappropriate adrenaline rush caused by deceptive brain messages.

    Bottom line? Encourage your daughter to seek help.

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