I am a professor in a science department and I am working with a student that has significant anxiety about writing, such that they have opted to receive a lower final grade rather than turn in required writing assignments. In discussing the situation with the student they indicated that the pressure of putting their thoughts perfectly on the page was too much for them. They enjoyed the research for the papers but froze when confronted with the blank page. In part they seemed to indicate that this was due to fear of judgement.
In the end this student has essentially stopped doing any writing except that which cannot be avoided and most of this is now late so under increased pressure. I should note that the writing that I have seen from the student is actually well above average.
My initial thoughts are that I need to encourage the student to use writing as a tool for understanding under much lower pressure situations so that they can learn to write for themselves as much as for dissemination. But I am not sure how to go about this or if this is even the correct approach.
I am going to be working closely with this student next semester outside of the classroom on independent research so I will have a lot of freedom to develop custom writing assignments. What approach should I use to help this student overcome their fear of writing?