case studies

Below are some case studies for clients I have worked with. All names and circumstances have been changed to protect their identities.

Ian, 35 – anxiety
Ian came for therapy because he had been feeling very anxious and had been off-work for 3 weeks. He became increasingly worried about what other people thought of him and this was interfering with his work and personal relationships. We worked on identifying what was behind Ian’s anxiety and this led to some longer-term work on self-esteem and coping skills. Ian returned to work, will a new set of skills to manage his anxiety.

Mairi, 31 – depression
Mairi had experienced several bouts of depression in the past but hadn’t tried therapy. On the recommendation of her GP, she attended for CBT. She was at work but felt very isolated and had stopped going out and had given up going to the gym. We started work on identifying how to lift her mood and how to take some steps to look after herself. We worked over 22 sessions to look at what was causing her depression. Mairi left therapy having reached her goal of understanding and reducing her depression.

Natalie, 20 – anxiety & panic attacks
Natalie was studying in her first year at uni, following a year off after 6th year. She found it difficult to make friends and was struggling to keep up with the work. By the end of the first semester, Natalie was increasingly anxious, she’d started to panic in lectures and was missing uni. We worked for 8 sessions, looking at relaxation techniques and finding the source of Natalie’s anxiety. We spent some sessions learning about panic and how to control it. Natalie started to spend more time with her flatmates and gradually go out more with them. She learned how to manage her anxiety and panic, and by the end of therapy was attending lectures and keeping up with the workload.

James, 15 – anger
James was referred to Westend Counselling by his mum after he had got very angry at home and punched a hole in the wall. James had also recently been sent home from school for being aggressive towards a teacher. We spent 5 sessions together working on James’s anger and exploring why he felt so angry. There had been a lot of change in his life in the last year, including his parents separation and a move to a new school. James felt he had no control over his life and this made him feel unhappy, anxious and angry. We worked on understanding his anger and on developing and practicing anger management skills. James left therapy feeling calmer, able to control his temper and communicating better with his parents who could provide the support he needed.

Laura, 16  – panic attacks
Laura had started to experience panic attacks at school and her attendance was dropping. She had cut herself off from her family and friends and was getting increasingly angry. We looked in our sessions at what had been going on for Laura recently. We saw that there had been a lot of change in Laura’s life and her family, including the loss of those close to her. Laura gained an understanding of her behaviour and could work out a solution. She realised why she felt how she did, and that she needed to re-connect with her friends and family. Laura has settled happily back into school after 6 sessions of therapy and her attendance is back to normal.

Michelle, 28 – anxiety & stress at work
Susan came to therapy because she was feeling very stressed at work, and was only just managing to get to work each day. She had a very dominating boss who made Susan feel inferior and believe that she was ‘rubbish’ at her job. We spent our 8 sessions looking at how Susan was feeling and how she could be more assertive at work. This involved looking at unhelpful thoughts that Susan had adopted about herself and her ability to do her job, and planning some experiments to assert herself with her boss. As a result Susan’s self-confidence gradually returned, her anxiety reduced and she started to enjoy her work again.

Chris, 16 – revision stress & exam panic
Chris was finding it hard to cope with revision in the run-up to taking his Highers. He is an A grade student but his prelim results were lower than expected because he tends to panic in an exam situation. We spent 4 sessions looking at his anxiety and devising techniques to relieve his stress in the run-up to his exams, and techniques for managing his panic during the exam. Chris practised these new techniques when doing past papers and saw his results gradually improving. He started the exam session with a new feeling of confidence and a new set of tools to help him cope.

Samantha, 15 – bullying at school, low self-esteem
Samantha came to therapy because she was being bullied at school and her self-esteem was rock bottom. She was due to move school and was very worried about this change. A teacher at school suggested Samantha try CBT. We used our 8 sessions together to build up Samantha’s resilience, learn how to be assertive, and increase her self-esteem. She was able to move school with confidence.

William, 17 – anxiety and low self-confidence
William’s self-confidence was very low and he was feeling increasingly anxious in new situations and when meeting new people. He had started a course at college and was finding it hard to get himself there. It had got to the stage where William was thinking about dropping out. His mum referred him for CBT with me. We worked in our sessions on understanding what was behind William’s anxiety. We set a series of experiments each week for William to try in-between sessions eg. To speak to a member of his new tutor group in week one, to speak to the whole group in week two and so on. William completed his course and went on to co-facilitate welcome sessions for prospective students at the college.

Craig, 34 – anger
Craig referred himself for sessions with at Westend Counselling after he had got very angry and abusive in a medical centre and had been escorted off the premises. We spent 6 sessions together and explored why he was feeling angry and identified recent changes that had left him feeling vulnerable. Craig felt that no one was listening to his needs. We worked on some coping strategies for his anger and some new communication skills. Craig showed huge improvement and reported that understanding why he felt angry helped him to control his anger and regain some control in his life.

Fiona, 46 – addiction, poor sleep 
Fiona had recently completed treatment for a long-term alcohol addiction. She came to see me because her confidence was low, she was anxious about her new sober status and was sleeping very badly. I saw Fiona for 18 sessions – we needed to spend more time looking at her past and how it has influenced her and her addiction. We spent time understanding her emotions and identifying unhelpful thinking styles. We also addressed her sleep problems with practical tips and solutions. She left therapy with new tools for understanding herself, coming to terms with her past behaviour and feeling able to cope with the challenges ahead.

Holly, 14 – depression, self-harm
Holly’s mood was low, her sleep very poor and she had started to self-harm. Her teacher suggested she try counselling because her school work was beginning to suffer. One of the first things we did was to get some understanding of Holly’s self-harming behaviour and find some new coping strategies. Holly kept a mood diary so that she understood what helped improve her mood. She re-discovered music, walking the dog and found drawing really helpful. We worked together for 16 sessions. Holly’s mood improved, she is able to control her self-harming, and her sleep has got better. She started the new school year feeling more positive and her attendance has been great.