Sherri, 43: Anxious and Overwhelmed With Life
Problems that Sherri Brought to Therapy:
When Sherri came to see me for therapy, her anxiety had a very tight grip on her. Her high-stress job working for a financial investment company demanded a lot from her.
She often had to work late. As a result, she barely saw her 2 children. Sherri’s husband was also stressed due to doing all the child-care. This caused Sherri to feel even more pressure.
Sherri had always been a nervous person who worried a lot, but now her anxiety was running the show. She slept little, often having panic attacks during the night fearing she wouldn’t meet her deadlines at work. If she wasn’t worrying about work, Sherri was plagued with guilt for being a “terrible mother”.
The Outcome of Sherri’s Therapy:
Over the course of therapy, I helped Sherri gain more awareness of when her anxiety was triggered and how she experienced it in her body and in her emotions. We focused on healing her unhealthy patterns of coping that were developed early in her life.
Sherri had deep emotions that she had long been suppressing which were at the root of her anxiety. As Sherri was able to express some of these emotions, she started feeling calmer.
Counselling also helped Sherri free up energy to make changes in her work situation so that she could be home more with her children. Once she negotiated her workload with her boss at work, everything started to feel more manageable.
By the time we completed our counselling together, Sherri’s anxiety was dramatically reduced. If she did start to worry, she was able to be aware of what she was feeling emotionally and physically. This allowed her to use the tools she learned in therapy to help calm her so that her fears did not take over.
Sherri was now in the driver’s seat of her life.
Jacob, 21: Suffered from Social Anxiety and Depression
Problems That Jacob Brought to Therapy:
Carolyn, Jacob’s mother, referred Jacob to me for counselling because she was worried about him. Jacob was in his 3rd year of university and had a lot of anxiety. He was also depressed. When he wasn’t studying, he spent most of his days in his room playing video games.
Jacob appeared quiet and withdrawn in our first therapy sessions. However, he eventually shared a secret that he had been holding onto for a long time:
Jacob was afraid to talk to people in his classes in fear that they would judge him. He, therefore, avoided all social contact with his peers at university.
He explained how he would freeze when around people. He was unable to speak and felt like he was going to vomit.
The Outcome of Jacob’s Therapy
Over the course of counselling, I helped Jacob become more comfortable being with others in social situations.
Therapy helped improve his feelings of self-worth. In addition, through the use of Reichian Therapy techniques including breathing exercises, body awareness and movement explorations, he was able to bring his social anxiety to more manageable levels.
By the end of our therapy sessions, Jacob had attended several social situations where he initiated conversations with people. He was able to manage his anxiety to such an extent that he enjoyed himself during these occasions.
Counselling also helped Jacob’s depression subside. He was now much more engaged in his life.
Hannah, 35: Woke Up Every Morning Feeling Sad and Didn’t Want to Face the Day
Problems That Hannah Brought to Therapy:
When Hannah came to see me, she had been suffering with anxiety and depression for years.
Even though her symptoms were severe, for the most part, she kept them hidden from her friends and family. She hadn’t told anyone how much she suffered. In fact, most people thought of her as being very accomplished, competent and fulfilled.
The truth was, as Hannah revealed to me in our first counselling session; she had been struggling for over 5 years. She first started sliding downhill after she had lost a child during birth.
Hannah reported that she felt like she was just “going through the motions” in her life. She felt like a zombie much of the time.
The Outcome of Hannah’s Therapy
We worked with the places where Hannah’s body was still reacting to the trauma of losing her baby. The tension in her body was so great that she constantly suffered from headaches, as well as shoulder and back pain.
After several months of therapy, Hannah had released a lot of the pent up grief in her body. She was much more relaxed. She said she felt like the weight had been lifted off of her.
She felt happier and more engaged in her life. She no longer felt like she was on the outside of her life looking in.
Hannah also told some of her close friends and family members how she had been suffering, and they were very supportive. She vowed to reach out to them more when she was feeling sad in the future in order to get the support she needed.
Hannah still felt some sadness when she thought of her baby. The difference was that she could now feel her sadness and still move forward with her life.
* The above stories are composites of several clients I have worked with over the years. Identifying details have been changed to protect client confidentiality.