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Therapy for Needle Phobia

What ages does the Center for CBT treat for needle phobia?

Kids and Teens

What is needle phobia?

  • Fear, worry, or avoidance related to being around needles, medical procedures involving needles, injections, and/or blood draws

How do I know if my child needs treatment?

Understandably, many children prefer not to attend medical appointments and may display behavioral difficulties when these occasions arise. However, when your child is displaying significant impairment and distress related to needles, they may be a good candidate for therapy.  Some signs you may observe:

  • Crying, refusal, or tantrums when going to the doctor 

  • Avoidance of going to the doctor (e.g., pediatrician, specialists, dentist, school nurse, hospitals)

  • Child expresses intense worry or fear about attending doctors’ appointments 

  • Avoidance of TV shows that include doctors, needles, or injections 

  • Preference to avoid science (or science-related topics) in school 

What does treatment for needle phobia look like? 

The most effective and researched treatment for needle phobia is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) combined with exposure and response prevention (ERP). During your child’s initial session, we will establish goals for you and your child related to your child’s specific fears (e.g., blood draws, vaccines, visiting doctor’s offices in general). Your clinician will develop a treatment plan based on those specific goals.  All treatment plans are focused on teaching parents specific tools for helping their child overcome their fears and helping the child to gradually face their feared situations in a very methodical way (called gradual exposure).  When you work with a true specialist in needle phobia, treatment is highly effective and you will see results very quickly. 

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