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School anxiety

In serious cases of stress while attending classes, school anxiety can inhibit a student's well-being and ability to succeed. Holistic behavioral health can help address the roots of school anxiety and its effects, whether it manifests as obsessive compulsive disorder or the development of new phobias.


School avoidance and refusal treatment in Northern Virginia

Our specialists can help your child build a better relationship with school.

Dominion Hospital's teen and child behavioral health programs can help your child overcome school anxiety. Our care teams work with your child to develop social skills, let go of negative thoughts and increase their confidence at school.

Get an assessment now

In just a few easy steps, you can get started on the road to recovery and wellness. Let us help you find the programs you need to heal.

In just a few easy steps, you can get started on the road to recovery and wellness. Let us help you find the programs you need to heal.

Symptoms of school anxiety

Every child is different, but common signs they have a fear of going to school include:

  • Complaints of illness before school
  • Symptoms subside upon coming home
  • Inconsistent school attendance
  • Panic attacks or crying spells

Features of our school refusal program

The primary goal of our school refusal program is to reintroduce a child to the academic setting. We can help them achieve full-time attendance and teach you how to help your child with school-related anxiety.

What is school anxiety

School anxiety may also be referred to as school refusal or school avoidance. It is a real psychological condition in which kids experience extreme distress about going to or staying in school. There are many reasons your child may have school anxiety, including:

  • Anxiety or embarrassment from not understanding their coursework
  • The benefits of home, such as more screen time, sleeping in or attention from caregivers
  • Fear of a negative evaluation from a teacher or other educator
  • Fear of separation from parents or caregivers
  • A noisy or overcrowded school environment
  • Negative social situations, such as bullying or a conflict with a friend

How to ease a childs anxiety about school

Whether it manifests as obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) or the development of new phobias, we help ease children into going back to school by:

  • Building social skills
  • Changing negative thinking patterns
  • Decreasing rewards for missing school
  • Decreasing social anxiety
  • Developing anxiety coping skills
  • Empowering parents to better support their child
  • Improving executive functioning skills
  • Increasing rewards for going to school
  • Reducing family conflict
  • Teaching parents to address non-compliant behaviors

Our school refusal program

We offer several treatment options that are rooted in a model of individualized, clinically driven and evidence-based care. Our multidisciplinary teams will work with you and your child to develop a personalized plan of care designed to address and treat whatever is causing your child's school phobia. We follow a school avoidance curriculum, which is available through our children's behavioral health and adolescent behavioral health programs.

Specifically, the school refusal program involves comprehensive therapeutic approaches, including:

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) skills training
  • Dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) skills training
  • Exposure therapy
  • Expressive therapy
  • Mindfulness training
  • Parent training
  • Psychoeducation
  • Therapeutic homework and logbooks