(names have been changed to preserve confidentiality)
Lisa presented with a specific phobia involving medical procedures and anyone touching her feet. This had emerged from her in-growing toenails. Despite being in increasing pain, Lisa was unable to have the necessary surgery as she feared not only anyone touching her feet but medical interventions generally. Afraid of anything touching her feet at all, she wouldn’t even wear sandals. Cognitive and behavioural treatment proved so beneficial that she was able to not only finally undergo toenail surgery but even to enjoy massage and beauty treatments to her feet.
As a result of an emotionally abusive relationship, Simon came to therapy reporting symptoms typical of generalised anxiety disorder. Although these symptoms are typical, the way in which anxiety affects a person’s life is very individual. In Simon’s case, his anxiety was manifested in several ways – he was so afraid that his anxiety would overpower him and this would make him choke. He constantly chewed mints which he mistakenly believed prevented him from choking. In addition his anxiety prevented him from going out unaccompanied, travelling on public transport and eating in restaurants. CBT helped him to learn that he no longer had to rely on mints. As his anxiety reduced, he was able to enjoy going out unaccompanied and dining out with his friends and family.
The death of his mother combined with the loss of his job caused Ron to spiral downwards into depression. He became so depressed that he disengaged from life, isolating himself from life beyond his home and other people, spending long periods of time in bed or lying idle on the sofa trapped in what seemed like a never ending abyss of bad thoughts and gambling with disastrous consequences, which only served to worsen his depression. Thanks to cognitive and behavioural treatment, not only did his mood improve considerably but he became well enough to re-engage with life and eventually was able to secure another job and return to normal life.
After being bulled at school, this formerly vibrant teenager had lost her confidence so significantly that she was too anxious to do many things. Despite having recently passed her driving test, she was too nervous to drive anywhere. She was too anxious to go out alone, and was afraid to go for interviews to secure a job after leaving school. CBT helped to address her agoraphobia and gave her the confidence she needed to successfully apply for her first job.
David had always relied on his partner to help him cope with his social anxiety. However there was no hiding place left after they separated. Initially he tried using alcohol to help him cope while socialising but as his anxiety worsened, he learned that this wasn’t the answer. So then he isolated himself socially for a while as this was the easiest option, but he ended up becoming increasingly depressed in the process. Consequently, he recognised that he needed help if he were to build up the confidence he needed to socialise independently. Cognitive and behavioural treatment methods helped give him confidence he needed to socialise. By the end of therapy David’s social anxiety had diminished so much that he was able to go out alone quite happily and even had the courage to go to fancy dress parties.
A victim of domestic violence, Tracy was left trying to cope with PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder). Frequently experiencing nightmares and flashbacks of the abuse she had suffered, Tracy constantly felt very anxious and panicky – she didn’t feel she could trust anybody and felt like danger was waiting for her everywhere. As a result her life had become very limited as she was too afraid to go out, see anybody or do anything other than care for her children. Consequently she was becoming increasingly anxious and depressed. She had been on medication for years but instead of getting better she just seemed stuck in a bad place. CBT wasn’t an easy option but it did help Tracy to get her life back on track. Now she is able to enjoy socialising again, and her increased confidence has enabled her to take up volunteering and she has even embarked on a new relationship.
A combination of childhood neglect and a physically abusive relationship had left Debbie suffering with depression and low self esteem. Consequently she doubted others would like her, mistrusted people generally, and lacked optimism for the future. She had become increasingly withdrawn from others and the outside world and was absorbed in ruminating about negative thoughts and staring endlessly at the television. Therapy focussed on improving her mood and self-esteem. This helped her to re-engage with life, develop new relationships and live a much more active lifestyle, resuming her creative interests and thinking more positively about the future.
Following his grandfathers death, Mick had become increasingly anxious about his own health. This anxiety caused him to constantly make frequent checks which interfered not only with his lifestyle but also his relationships. Through CBT he learned to overcome maladaptive cognitive and behavioural strategies, no longer fears for his health, and is no longer obsessed by his health anxiety related concerns.
Sandra had a fear of blood and injuries. This phobia was particularly problematic for her as it interfered in her job as a teaching assistant, as it prevented her from tending to playground injuries. CBT treatment helped her to overcome this phobia and, fully able to engage in her role at work, was able to feel like a valuable member of her team. .
Following redundancy, Chris had lost so much confidence that he presented with symptoms indicative of social anxiety disorder. Typical of patients with this issue, he worried terribly what others thought of him and often feared he was being judged negatively. The fear of negative judgement was so great that it was easier for him to stay home rather than face the world. Consequently he had become quite socially isolated and depressed. CBT therapy incorporating both cognitive and behavioural strategies helped to restore his confidence, and improve his social life.
Increasing responsibilities at work combined with an elderly mother who had had become increasingly emotionally demanding had taken its toll with Clare resulting in her experiencing obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). OCD can manifest in different ways but in Clare’s case, she felt compelled to conduct an extraordinary number of checks to ensure that her home was safe. Checking the same things a dozen times, and even taking pictures to provide further reassurance that she had indeed turned off the oven, closed the windows, disconnected her hair straighteners etc. meant that it took her at least 2 hours before she could leave her home to go to work. Cognitive behavioural strategies helped her to not only unlearn these maladaptive strategies but to deal with the irrational thoughts driving this behaviour. Clare no longer needs to make all these checks.
Alan suffered from low self esteem and depression following the breakdown of his relationship and being abandoned by his mother while he was a child. Consequently he had become afraid to embark on new relationships and increasingly socially isolated. He felt like life was passing him by and everyone else but him was settling down and starting a family. CBT helped him to enjoy life more, and increase his sense of self worth. Consequently he became more active outside of work, and felt strong enough to resume dating.
Following her father’s serious health problems, Lisa had become increasingly anxious. Her panic attacks made it increasingly difficult for her to travel. Using the tube to get to her job in central London had become almost impossible without her boyfriend accompanying her, she tried whenever she could to work from home and refused to undertake business trips. CBT helped her to manage her anxiety and panic attacks, giving her the confidence she needed to travel alone not just on public transport but also abroad for business trips.
I saw you a few years ago after my daughter passed away and I would not leave the house without my husband. You were amazing and I wanted to let you know.I did do my driving lessons and I passed my test at the second go.I go out for coffee and have a normal life. I wanted to thank you and just let you know I am fighting strong.
This is just a very small selection from the hundreds of patients Vickie has worked with. You too could become one of them. If you want to improve your life contact Vickie today by email via firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone/text on 07554 312118.