School Refusal

Psychologists to help you and your child deal with school refusal

School refusal is the refusal to attend school due to emotional distress. It is associated with an anxiety or fear towards attending school and is so much more than taking a day off. School refusal can significantly affect your child’s school attendance and also their physical and mental wellbeing.

Signs of School Refusal may include the following:

  • Tantrums, crying, or refusal to go to school
  • Extreme distress about being separated from you or the home before school
  • Intense feelings of nervousness about going to school
  • Complaints about feeling physically sick before or during school (stomach aches, diarrhoea, headaches, dizziness)
  • Refusal to leave the house or get out of the car to go to school
  • Constant visits to the school nurse feeling ill and asking to be sent home

What causes school refusal?

  • Anxiety about social situations
  • Anxiety around being separated by a parent or guardian
  • Learning difficulties
  • Stressful life events including parental separation, family illness or grief
  • Peer issues include bullying and conflict with friends
  • Difficulty transitioning to a new school or returning to school after a period of time away
  • Worry about something happening to the parent while at school
  • Worry about school performance
  • Anxiety related issues – Generalised Anxiety Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Panic Disorder etc.

How can A resolution help you if your child is refusing to go to school?

There are sometimes long waitlists involved with seeing a school psychologist or your child may not wish to speak to someone or attend a session that is on school grounds.

We are here to help your child overcome these issues that are causing them distress and anguish over attending school and endeavour to find the root cause that is the underlying trigger for this behaviour.

What action can you take if you are experiencing School Refusal in your child?

Acting on the early signs of school refusal is important. You will need to receive a comprehensive evaluation from a qualified mental healthcare professional to help you identify the root cause of your child’s anxiety and refusal to attend school. An experienced professional will work with you to implement an effective plan to manage it.

As much as it is hard to do, keeping your child in school is the first step. Missing school only reinforces anxiety rather than alleviating it. We recommend the following coping strategies for you and your child to help overcome these stressful situations:

  • Provide clear & firm messages about school attendance
  • Offer rewards or incentives for school attendance
  • Ban or make enjoyable toys & electronic devices off limits
  • Consistent & joint approach with the other parent
  • Contact the school & teachers and discuss your concerns
  • Build a stable morning routine
  • Talk with your child about feelings and fears
  • Encourage hobbies and interests

How can A resolution help with School Refusal?

A resolution Applecross psychologists can help you recognise the early symptoms and warning signs of School Refusal.

Treatment for your child usually involves Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. This form of therapy includes identifying unhelpful thoughts and beliefs. We will evaluate the evidence for and against those beliefs and work with your child to help them implement strategies to overcome these thought patterns on their own.

With the right tools and skills including relaxation, social skills and helpful thinking about school, your child will be able to attend school with new found strategies to help them through their day to day school life.

We will also work directly with you to help you understand why your child won’t go to school and support you with parenting strategies.

Where are you located?

A resolution Applecross can service clients throughout Perth looking for guidance on School Refusal. We are conveniently located just off the Kwinana Fwy. Nearby suburbs include South Perth, Manning, Booragoon, Victoria Park, Mount Pleasant, Rossmoyne, Brentwood, Willeton and more.


Our Child Counselling Team

Megan Moosa
Senior Psychologist

Megan is a valued member of our team and a Senior Registered Psychologist. She is committed to working with you and your child to better manage a wide range of emotional and behavioural concerns.
Her dedication to adolescent health includes her work as an experienced School Counsellor. She specialises in addressing issues related to anxiety, bullying, exam preparation and anti-social behaviour.

Find out more about Megan Moosa

Katherine Shanhun
Senior Psychologist

With over 5 years experience as a school counsellor  in addition to 12 years experience as a psychologist, Katherine has extensive experience working with children, teenagers and their families. She is passionate about people achieving their goals and uses a number of therapeutic modes in facilitating this.

Find out more about Katherine Shanhun

Unami Magwenzi
Senior Clinical Psychologist Psychologist

When working with children I often use various techniques following an assessment of the individual needs, personality and style of learning of the child. I use puppetry, drawings, role-play and other psychological tools to interact in an age-appropriate manner with the child. Unless otherwise indicated, I will often encourage parents to be part of the therapy as a way of strengthening relationships and cementing skills to be practiced outside of the therapy room.

Find out more about Unami Magwenzi

Where are you located?

A resolution Applecross can service and treat clients throughout Perth looking to manage depression. We are conveniently located just off the Kwinana Fwy. Nearby suburbs include South Perth, Manning, Booragoon, Victoria Park, Mount Pleasant, Rossmoyne, Brentwood, Willeton and more.

Our couch, Your private space

Our private and warmly appointed rooms in Applecross provide the perfect space for you to begin your journey of self-development and start taking control of leading a more fulfilling life. We are located near Applecross Village with a private rear entry, upstairs at the back of the building.

Get In Touch

We will get back to via phone or email the same day during business hours!

    To Make an Appointment Phone Today 08 6555 7786