How did we arrive here? Check out this post to see where we were last time I blogged about this issue. We were getting help at the BRICK clinic until January, when the psychologist we were seeing there moved out of town. He definitely helped her along, but we seemed to be hitting a wall where sticker charts were not helping. In March, someone recommended the Kansas City Center for Anxiety Treatment, so we gave them a call.
A phobia is a type of anxiety disorder that can be described as unreasonable fear and the desire to avoid specific situations or objects. This psychologist (Dr. Amy) nailed it. She has also done an excellent job in coaching us in guiding Annique to face her fears as well as communicating, teaching and coaching Annique personally. For the first time, I heard Annique put a level of fear (ranging from 1-10) on things like just being in a new restroom to actually using the potty there.
Now that we have a graduated scale of her fears, we are working on a plan to start facing them using cognitive behavioral therapy. Cognitive behavioral therapy is a short-term, goal-oriented psychotherapy treatment that takes a hands-on, practical approach to problem-solving. Its goal is to change patterns of thinking or behavior that are behind people's difficulties, and so change the way they feel.
Annique is the least afraid of pointing out public bathrooms, so we have been finding them whenever we are out. That has become easy and she's definitely comfortable there. Now we have moved up the ladder to going into the restroom and she earns a fruit snack whenever she gets near (not on) the potty. This is huge and we are so thankful to see progress made.
Thanks for checking in. We'll keep you posted!