I was approached by a business colleague to see if I could help with her son Carl. Carl was 9 years old and developing panic attacks that were getting worse. At first it was over dogs, then fire, then water, then going on a train and the latest thing was going on a plane. In fact, he disclosed, they had cancelled their family holiday abroad because he was having panic attacks at the mention of getting on a plane.
Absolutely! First though, Carl had to be willing to work with me and secondly the family would need to also be involved in the coaching at various times.
Even within the first session it became clear that the panic attacks were just a symptom of something much bigger that was going on at home. These escalating episodes were just one of many controlling behaviours and it was not totally out of control. Mum and Dad were good parents at their wits end not knowing what to do for the best. Every day bought drama whether it was getting ready for school, or doing homework, helping around the house or interactions with a younger brother that Carl resented.
We worked together for 5 sessions. Some sessions were partly with Carl by himself then time with Mum and Dad by themselves, some parts of the sessions were with the whole family. We worked through understanding what was driving the behavior so that Carl (yes, even at 9 years old) and his parents could know that there is nothing wrong with any of them – they just needed to change some things in their thoughts and habits. We set family rules and boundaries and most importantly of all consequences for poor behaviours that were appropriate, proportionate and painful (emotionally not physically I hasten to add!) AND that the parents were 100% committed to implementing immediately.
The poor behavior has gone away. Carl knows how to manage his thoughts and emotions and takes himself off for a few minutes when he feels himself getting wound up. He likes the positive impact that the new attitude and interactions are having at home and Mum and Dad are delighted to have a happy, harmonius and drama free home again.