Managing Separation Anxiety: Solutions and Expert Advice to Help You Cope

Understanding Separation Anxiety

As a professional hypnotherapist, counsellor, and coach, I aim to provide comprehensive insights into separation anxiety.

What is Separation Anxiety?

We all get fears and worries about someone leaving who we care about. Children experience separation anxiety when their parents leave them at school or don’t turn up on time to pick them up. On the other hand, adults might get concerned about someone going on holiday or driving to work in traffic and that causes them anxiety. That’s normal.

However, separation anxiety is a bit different as it’s marked by intense fear or distress at the thought or reality of being separated from significant others or places. This fear can be expected in some situations. However, it becomes an anxiety disorder when it persists for longer than four weeks and has a significant effect on a person’s daily life. It is recognised as an anxiety disorder in the DMS-V. (The manual doctors use to describe the criteria for a condition).

separation anxiety

Historical Perspective and Attachment Theory

Separation anxiety has been recognised since the 20th Century.

Attachment theory, primarily developed by John Bowlby in the 1950s, is crucial in understanding separation anxiety. Bowlby proposed that children are biologically predisposed to form attachments with caregivers to survive. These early attachment experiences shape a person’s emotional and social development and can influence responses to parting and loss throughout life (Bowlby, 1958). Consequently, some people who had insecure attachments when growing up may struggle more with separation anxiety.

Diagnosis of Separation Anxiety

Diagnosis involves a comprehensive assessment where clinicians look for persistent worry about losing close individuals, reluctance to be alone, and physical discomfort when separated (DSM-5, American Psychiatric Association, 2013). If separation anxiety is causing you any health-related problems or if you have any other mental health or anxiety issues, it is recommended that you contact your doctor for a diagnosis before hypnotherapy or counselling.

Symptoms of Separation Anxiety

Symptoms can range from mild discomfort to severe panic, including insomnia, loss of appetite, and physical ailments like headaches or stomachaches.

Types of Separation Anxiety

Here are some examples of separation anxiety.

Teenagers Leaving for University

Maybe it’s the first child leaving home for university. You worry about them surviving. Will they eat enough, sleep enough and feel secure? Will they take recreational drugs or drink too much alcohol? Are they safe?

Partners or family members separating due to hospitalisation

You might worry about their illness or operation. You might be concerned about them getting enough food and drink. You just long to be at their bedside all day, but visiting times won’t allow that.

Separation from a Pet.

Pets can be as important as a human. If you have had a dog for fifteen years, they have become part of the family, and if you lose them, you will feel grief and that attachment to them.

Separation when your partner needs to go away for work.

People who have partners in the Services and go away for extended periods may worry about their partners and feel lonely when they are not around.


These scenarios show the diverse contexts in which separation anxiety can manifest, each with unique challenges and emotional responses.

Treatment Approaches


Hypnotherapy uses hypnosis and therapy to help you relax and reframe any negative emotions. I provide CBT and solution-focused hypnotherapy.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) or other counselling/psychotherapy approaches

I am also trained as an integrative counsellor and cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) practitioner. I can help you change negative thought patterns and unhelpful beliefs that impact negative emotions and behaviours.

Mindfulness and other relaxation techniques

Mindfulness helps you to accept the present situation and calm down. I can provide meditation and Mindfulness techniques.


If your symptoms significantly impact your life, such as stopping you from sleeping or going to work, a doctor may prescribe medications.

Self-help strategies

Some people also choose other complementary therapies, such as EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique), Massage, Reiki, and acupuncture, to help them. However, maintaining a healthy diet, gentle exercise, socialising and enjoyable pastimes will also help. I can incorporate EFT into sessions.

Support groups

Students may have support groups at their institution. Parents may find support groups online or have something locally. Find out about local groups at your library.

Family groups

Families who have children or other members of the family who are struggling with separation anxiety may have group therapy provided. (Families of prisoners may need additional support through family therapy).


Through understanding attachment theory and the nature of separation anxiety, along with professional therapy and self-help strategies, anyone suffering from separation anxiety can navigate their way to emotional well-being.

This article is meant for informational purposes and should not replace professional advice.


Bowlby, J. (1958). The nature of the child’s tie to his mother.

DSM-5, American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

Book a Free Initial Consultation

I know that you might feel stupid or that it can be challenging to get help. However, I encourage adults struggling with separation anxiety to book a free initial consultation with me. This session will allow us to explore your concerns and consider how hypnotherapy and counselling may help you on your path to recovery.

Free 30 Minute Consultation

Contact Linda to arrange your first free consultation. 

Hypnotherapy Prices

NB All payments to be made online before the session or programme or on the day only if in person in my office.

How to Book

Unlike some therapists, I want to make sure you get the right therapy before you buy.
I offer a free 30-minute consultation so we can get to know each other first.

Hypnotherapy Sessions at My Practice

If you live in or around the Bournemouth area, you may prefer to visit my practice for your hypnotherapy sessions.

I provide a safe, relaxing and calm environment where we can start to overcome your anxiety. The practice is easy to find, and plenty of free parking is available, as well as being on local bus routes.

However, your first free consultation will always be online, and many of my clients find this works better for them.

Online Hypnotherapy

Online hypnotherapy is worth considering, especially if you find it hard to travel or live outside the Bournemouth area.

I have been trained in providing online hypnotherapy and have clients from around the world. Providing you have access to a private internet connection and webcam; there is no reason why this wouldn't work for you.

Online hypnosis has many benefits, which include cost-effectiveness, comfort and practicality.

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