We like to think of childhood as a time of carefree wonder and imagination. Days filled with running through fields, looking under rocks, climbing trees and experiencing new things with anticipation and curiosity. For some children these same activities are not met with joy but with anxiety and fear. Anxious children are often intelligent, sensitive and creative. These are the good qualities that can overcome the anxiety which typically thinks, feels and imagines the worse.
Sarah is a sweet little nine year old girl. Her parents brought her for therapy because she was crying uncontrollably when it was time to go to school. She also had difficulty staying overnight at her grandparents, was afraid to go for sleepovers at friends, worried if her parents were late to pick her up and didn’t like to try new things. She could read, write and draw very well but would not do it because she might make a mistake. Sarah had Separation and Perfectionist Dragons.
It is imagination that creates fears and imagination can be used to tame those fears. In working with anxious children it helps to externalize their fearful thoughts into the form of dragons which they can learn to tame. The first thing we do after talking about the situations that make them fearful and identifying the dragon’s name is, to make the dragon in art. The dragon can be made from clay or colorful plasticine or painted on paper.
*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA