A new study focuses on making shy children face their fears

Making shy children face their fears and educating parents in exposure therapy is the focus of a new study at the University of Queensland.

Dr. Simon Byrne of the UQ School of Psychology says that while shyness is common among children, parents should seek support if it creates problems in their child’s life.

Data show that up to nine percent of children experience clinically severe shyness, and 20 percent of children and adolescents experience anxiety disorders that can be extremely anxious and highly destructive.. “

Dr. Simon Byrne, School of Psychology, University of Queensland

“We are looking for participants for our study and hope to use the results to develop a parental exposure treatment for shy children.”

Exposure therapy is the most effective treatment for anxiety, and while psychologists usually treat children, this study will shift the focus to parents who educate their own child.

“Parents will take the lead and practice exposure therapy with their child for four sessions, with the support of a psychologist,” said Dr. Byrne.

“It’s all about educating parents with the skills they need to help their children thrive without the need for continuous treatment.

“By helping children practice social interaction, we will be able to increase their trust and reduce shyness.”


University of Queensland

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