Separation anxiety and how to deal with it

Learn about: Separation anxiety and how to deal with it from Alan Yellin, PhD,...
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Separation anxiety and how to deal with it

Separation anxiety in 10 to 12 year olds can be dealt with by using practice. By that I mean that when I see a child that is in that age range that is having difficulty separating, one of the first questions I ask parent is: How often do you two get out? Do you get out for coffee? Do you go out for the evening, so that your child gets used to the comings and goings of parents. One of the first suggestions that I have is having parents go out for short periods of time, a walk around the block. The child is going to have some worry. The worry brain is going to kick in and say, "What if they don't come back? What if I don't know where they are? What if something bad happens to them?" The parent can be reassuring to the child and give the child these practices along the way. We call these successive approximations towards the goal. One thing is to give the child some practice doing that. The other thing that we know is that, most of the time, the child will protest in the beginning. They get it together and do pretty well towards the end of the evening. Parents need to know that the child will do well. They are not harming the child. In fact, I think it is helping the child to have the parents go out and encourage separation.

Learn about: Separation anxiety and how to deal with it from Alan Yellin, PhD,...


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Alan Yellin, PhD


Dr. Alan Yellin is a licensed psychologist as well as licensed marriage and family therapist.  He has been in practice for over 30 years working with children, adolescents and adults. Dr. Yellin did his post-doctoral fellowship at Children’s Hospital in Los Angeles. In his practice, he sees children with learning problems, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, fears and social skills issues. Additionally, he has a sub-specialty in working with children from divorced families as well as helping parents deal more effectively with their divorce. Dr. Yellin’s practice also includes working with adolescents and adults with depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive issues as well as issues around life passages. Dr. Yellin believes that therapy works best when the client and therapist have a collaborative relationship as they explore thoughts and feelings and work towards solutions, and uses a combination of scientific data along with humor to help people achieve change. He is in a long-term happy marriage and has two grown children.

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