Developing a Treatment Plan
Your focus, which is probably in part why you picked up this book, lies in helping your child find symptom relief. As discussed previously, being a part of the evaluative process and treatment can bring better results. Creating a treatment plan with the therapist is the first step to ensure you and your child get your needs met. At the end of the day, helping your child by working with the school, doctor, therapist, and psychiatrist will mean you are actually your child's case manager.
Treatment Plan for Anxiety
It is helpful that everyone who is involved in your child's care is a specialist in anxiety if possible. You want to be assured they understand the complex and pervasive impact anxiety can have, or has had, on him. When making the treatment plan, discuss a combination of therapy, skill building (personal and social), assertiveness training, relaxation skills, and self-esteem building. Also, include in your plan an educational component so you and your child can understand how anxiety affects the mind and body. It is also helpful to include your ideas about whether medication will be considered, at what point, and how. Part of the plan also needs to include how and with whom information will be shared, and who will be included in the support system. For example, many families choose to share the treatment plan with the counselor, nurse, and teachers at school, and family members who live at home, too.
It is always best if everyone is moving in the same direction, so as your child takes baby steps to facilitate change, others throughout his day can provide support and understanding. Having a clear, written plan will assist you in this.
Building on Your Child's Strengths
When you are discussing with the therapist or psychiatrist treatment choices and selection it is essential to consider how to positively reinforce your child's strengths. It is best to create a treatment plan that includes strategies to manage the negative symptoms accompanying anxiety, but also includes opportunities to build on what's right, enhance your child's self-concept, level of confidence, autonomy, resilience, and a sense of self-efficacy.
An important reminder for every parent: More often than not, it is the strengths your children acquire, sometimes through adversity, that bring with them a vision of what their lives can be and what their true potential is. It is there that they find hope and the inspiration to proceed through difficulty. With that in mind, building a well-balanced, strength-based treatment plan so your child has a sense of building, instead of tearing apart, can be the foundation for long-term change. A quote by Dr. Bob Brooks may say it best: “If one has a bigger sea of dysfunction to swim through, then one must possess larger islands of competence to rest upon.”