Applecross Community Psychologists

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.

To learn more call today on 08 6336 8268

Our Child Psychology Team

Megan Moussa
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

Katherine Shanhun
Senior Psychologist

With over 12 years experience as a psychologist and 5 years as a school counsellor, Katherine loves working with young people and their families. She can assist with anxiety, school refusal, self harm, self esteeem, bullying and more.

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Namrata Makhijini

Namrata has over 4 years of experience working with youth at Head Space. Namrata works with children from ages 8 and above and is experienced with anxiety, depression and complex trauma.

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Francisca Lessa
Provisional Psychologist

Francisca Lessa is a provisional psychologist trained in psychology in Uruguay, South America. She has always been passionate about working with individuals, adults, children and their families, promoting healthy relationships and behavioural management techniques.

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The initial appointment with you and your child is 50 minutes. For most issues, follow up appointments are usually split between you and your child or you and your child together, this allows time for use to answer any questions you may have about their progress. If you have any questions please come into the appointment 15 minutes before the scheduled end time i.e., after 35 minutes so that these can be worked through. Our sessions are blocked as 50 minute appointments, the remainder of the session is to make notes, contact relevant people and prepare for your child’s next session, this ensures that our sessions start on the hour or half hour.

The length of therapy is quite variable, and the final decision regarding the length of therapy rests jointly with you
and your psychologist. Some children/teens stay for three sessions, while others are in counselling for two or three years or
more. Most children/teens need between 6 to 14 sessions to overcome general anxiety, depression or family issues.
Children with significant family concerns or more complex issues such as obsessive compulsive disorder or post-
traumatic stress disorder may require 20 or more sessions. For children/teens, this will depend on their age, the issues
presented and type of treatment used. For many concerns parents will also attend some sessions to get strategies to
help with your child.

In the beginning, your child/teen will need to see your therapist weekly to establish your therapy and build some traction. This takes a minimum of 3 sessions we recommend you book four sessions during the initial booking. After this, therapy needs to be paced according to your child’s concerns, the therapy style your therapist is using and even your financial considerations. Some people come bi-weekly, weekly fortnightly and others monthly. Some parents book their child in with a psychologist periodically so that they know that they have a space to come to later on.

For many young child clients including parents is an important part of the change process and you will be invited into
the last 15-20 minutes of the appointment regularly . If you would like an update about your child’s progress send
the psychologist an email requesting this so that they can arrange the appropriate forum, whether that is a pre-
booked and prepaid skype/phone session, additional face to face appointment or otherwise we often need time to
prepare a response if we have not already scheduled time with you during your child’s sessions.

Once you book an appointment its yours. We encourage you to keep your appointments to avoid delays in booking new ones and to speak with our team members about discontinuing therapy. If there is no way you can make it please call reception to reschedule. If there is no way you can make a skype session and you need to change or cancel an appointment, please provide at least 48 hours notice otherwise there are late notice fees.

Medicare provides a rebate of either $89.50 or $127.60 back per session for up to 20 sessions per calendar year provided you have a Mental Health Plan drafted by your GP and a referral letter to any psychologist. After the initial 6 sessions you need to return to your GP for a review to access a further 4 sessions, then another referral for your final 10 sessions. Private health rebates are available provided you have cover for psychology. You cannot claim Medicare and Private Health rebates for the same session.

We offer appointments between the hours of 9 am and 7pm Monday to Friday and 9 am to 2 pm on Saturday. Individual psychologist availability varies, please contact reception for more information.

When our clients are preschool-aged children, we generally only see them with a parent or guardian present and involved in the sessions, so parents are aware of all the information being shared. For older children, it is often beneficial for them to spend some time alone with their psychologist at some stage, but only if and when the child and family are comfortable with this.  If children spend some time in session alone with their psychologist, confidentiality also applies for them as clients, in that we would request their permission to share specific information they have shared with us, even with parents (though there are still the same exceptions, such as when there are concerns about risk of harm).

Where are you located?

A resolution Applecross has been proudly helping the people of Perth for over 10 years. Set in the heart of Applecross Community Village (Private entry on the first floor via stairs) and Reynolds Road Medical Centre (Wheelchair accessible). We are conveniently located just off the Kwinana Fwy. Nearby suburbs include South Perth, Como, Booragoon, Victoria Park, Mount Pleasant, Rossmoyne, Fremantle, 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.

Book Online

Make and manage your appointments online, our diary portal makes it easy.

To Make an Appointment Phone Today 08 6555 7786