Short-term Psychoanalytic Child Therapy for Anxious Children: A Pilot Study

The study randomly assigned 30 children ages 4 to 10 years old with anxiety concerns to either a group receiving 20 sessions of psychoanalytic child therapy or a wait list. Over 60% of the children receiving psychoanalytic child therapy no longer had significant anxiety concerns after treatment.

“Among the 27 completers, 66.67% (n = 18) no longer met criteria for any anxiety disorder . . . while no children remitted across the wait-list interval. Parent-reported child internalizing and total problems significantly declined during treatment relative to wait-list. Child and teacher reports also revealed significant pre-post symptom reductions on internalizing and total problems. Diagnostic and symptom remission rates were maintained at 6-month follow-up except on child reports.”

The authors conclude: “This preliminary study adds to a growing database showing that psychodynamic treatments may offer an effective line of treatment for childhood internalizing symptoms and disorders. . .”

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