Psychologists are using
distraction, exposure therapy
and other strategies to ease
anxiety among children who
face medical scans, surgeries
and other procedures.
BY JAMIE CHAMBERLIN
For many children having surgery, going under anesthesia is the moment it gets tough. Psychologist Jill MacLaren Chorney, PhD, of IWK Health Centre in Halifax, Nova
Scotia, remembers when a 12-year-old girl with a history of
orthopedic surgeries was scheduled for another procedure.
She was able to cope with her anxiety in the waiting room. But
when she was escorted to the operating room door, she burst
into tears and refused to go in.
“Despite all efforts by staff, she continued to refuse, her
distress increased and her surgery ended up being postponed,”
recalls Chorney, an assistant professor in the department of
anesthesiology at Dalhousie University and a member of the
Complex Pain Team at IWK Health Centre.