School Refusal

School Refusal treatment

There may be several reasons why your child is refusing to attend school. The majority of reasons will be based around some sort of anxiety. A few common causes of anxiety around school are:


social phobia

finding subjects hard

sensory processing issues

Emetophobia may start when a child feels anxious in general around school and then feels this fear mostly in the stomach area. The child then fears they may be sick. The child may be sick at some point. For more reasons for emetophobia please read my emetophobia page.

The biggest anxiety affecting young people is social phobia. The teenage brain from puberty to the age of 25 is more hyper alert. Because of this hyper alert brain, teenagers are more conscious of themselves. Anxiety about how others perceive you is very real for a teenager. There may also be an anxiety around people liking you.

Some children are more sensitive to teachers who shout and worry excessively about getting things wrong. This can be linked to OCD and ASD but not always. Consequently, they will have severe anxiety about attending school.

Surprisingly a large number of children or teens who are asked the reason why they don’t want to attend school, will be unable to explain. This is largely due to them not knowing that their physical symptoms are actually anxiety. They may also not be aware that their thoughts are excessively anxious.


EMDR can be used effectively to identify exactly what part of the school day and even the reason for the refusal. Following this hypnotherapy is used to increase confidence, increase positive thoughts and decrease negative thoughts. This is done in general and then each part of the school day that is causing the problem is imagined in the mind in a way that the brain can learn to change how the body feels and how the mind thinks during these moments. In a nutshell, increasing resilience and teaching subconscious coping strategies.