Case Study Separation Anxiety Disorder

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Diagnosis and Treatment of Separation Anxiety Disorder


Diagnosis: Separation Anxiety Disorder.
Age: 6 years.
Client Gender: Male.
Initial Consultation: 20th May 2011.
Number of Sessions: 12 sessions.
Place of Treatment: The agency.
Treatment Approach: Cognitive Behavioural Therapy.
Treatment Mode: Weekly one hour sessions.

Referral Information

The client’s mother referred her son to the agency because he was suffering from anxiety. He was resisting going to go to school and becoming distressed when his parents tried to leave him at home.

Presenting Problem

The client attended his first assessment session with his mother. He was of average size and weight for his age and was
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The parents reported that their child’s pre and post natal development was normal without illness or injury. However, as an infant/toddler, he had been difficult to soothe when upset and demanded constant attention which his parents found difficult to manage.

Twelve months before attending the agency the client began to demonstrate increasing levels of anxiety. This anxiety commenced with significant difficulties being separated from his mother or father at home, to go to school, stay with family and play with friends. The parents said the client’s behaviours included clinging on to them and chasing after them as they were leaving the house or school. He would also check their location in the house to confirm that they were still there. On occasion his behaviour deteriorated into tantrums, although this only happened at home. The parents also expressed concern that the boy’s teacher noticed he was refusing to eat at school. The parents also reported their child was unable to get to sleep without their presence. He would awaken with nightmares at least three times a week saying he was frightened something bad was happening to them. The parents stated that it was becoming increasingly difficult for them to manage their son’s behaviour.

The client’s parents reported that there was no known family history of anxiety and depression on either side of their family.
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