Therapy Success Stories
Client Stories of Successful Anxiety Treatment
The 3 stories below are comprised of several clients to protect client confidentiality. They are typical of many clients I have treated for anxiety with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)/Exposure Therapy (ET).
Jessica’s Struggles When She Began Therapy
When Jessica first attended therapy, her anxiety interfered with everything she did in life.
She woke up worrying and went to sleep worrying. In the morning, she was anxious about the day ahead, what she had to do, and what might go wrong.
At night Jessica worried about what had happened during the day and the day before. She rarely slept well.
Jessica tried hard to manage her fears, but they were totally out of her control. She beat herself up whenever she made a mistake or said something to someone she later regretted.
She worried about making mistakes at work even though she had barely made any since she started in the position 6 months before. But even small mistakes she made caused her extreme anxiety for days afterward.
All she could hear in her head after making what she thought was a mistake was…
“You shouldn’t have done that.”
“How could you be so stupid?”
“You’ll never get that promotion!”
“My boss is going to hate me.”
Jessica could never completely relax as she was constantly worrying about something.
She was totally exhausted by her unending anxiety!
Jessica discovers peace of mind and improves her self-confidence
Jessica was eager to overcome her worries when she entered my therapy office. She told me that she had suffered from anxiety for as long as she could remember but that it had gotten worse over the years.
In therapy, I gently guided Jessica through the steps of Exposure Therapy. We started slowly discussing her fears and gradually worked up to addressing her worst fear: Making mistakes.
After 3 months of therapy, Jessica realized that she didn’t have to be perfect all the time. She became more compassionate with herself and accepted that she was human.
She saw that it was inevitable that she’d make mistakes at times, and in most instances, there would be minimal or no consequences.
Jessica finally had more peace of mind.
She now woke up in the mornings feeling refreshed and confident that she could manage the situations that used to cause her severe anxiety.
Matthew had experienced anxiety since a serious car accident he had 1 year ago while crossing a bridge. Matthew had almost died in the crash and spent a month in the hospital healing his injuries.
Although he had previously experienced anxiety at times, he never had panic attacks before the accident.
Matthew had to cross the same bridge every day on his way to work, as there was no other route to his workplace.
Every time he crossed the bridge, he’d experience intense fear that sometimes escalated into panic attacks.
The panic episodes were frightening because he would get short of breath, sweat profusely, and feel his heart pounding in his chest. Sometimes he actually thought he might die!
His panic attacks were so traumatic that he ended up in the emergency room a few times, thinking he was having a heart attack.
After several panic attacks and 3 trips to the hospital, Matthew decided to seek therapy.
Matthew was surprised to discover how quickly he overcame his fear of bridges
When Matthew entered my office, he was distraught. The stress he experienced daily crossing the bridge going to and from work was wearing on him.
It was difficult to concentrate on work as he couldn’t take his mind off the fact that he had to cross the bridge again to get home. As soon as he awoke in the mornings, his anxiety would begin as he anticipated having to drive over the bridge.
In therapy, I helped Matthew get over his fear of going over the bridge. I used Exposure Therapy techniques to help Matthew gradually reduce his fear of crossing the bridge.
Within a few therapy sessions, Matthew could drive across the bridge without having a panic attack. It was still stressful but not terrifying.
Within a few more sessions, Matthew’s fear decreased to such an extent that, at times, when he drove over the bridge, he almost forgot that he was once terrified of crossing it.
By the time Matthew’s therapy sessions ended, he could cross the bridge while feeling calm. His body and brain no longer perceived the bridge as a threat.
Matthew’s quality of life improved immensely.
He wasn’t preoccupied at work anymore, worrying about driving over the bridge on his way home. He was sleeping deeper at night because he was not thinking about having to cross the bridge the following day.
Kelsey worried excessively that she would become seriously ill. Her anxiety had taken over her life.
Minor symptoms such as a slight headache, an upset stomach, and sniffles due to a mild cold sent her spinning into a fear that she had a severe illness. Kelsey’s worst fear was that she might get cancer.
Kelsey’s anxiety about her health dominated her life. She spent hours online researching her symptoms when they occurred, looking for the disease she might have.
Kelsey knew that she wasn’t actually sick and that her thinking was catastrophic, but she could not control her fears that she might be.
Kelsey saw several doctors over the years when she had minor symptoms, and they all told her the same thing – she was in good health.
Recognizing that Kelsey suffered from health anxiety, several doctors suggested that she get psychological treatment.
After 2 decades of obsessing about her health, Kelsey finally agreed to see a therapist
One day, exasperated by yet another doctor telling her that she was in good health and should see a therapist, Kelsey decided to book an appointment with a therapist to address her health anxiety.
In our first therapy session, Kelsey explained how her fear of getting cancer controlled her life. I helped her imagine how much better her life would be if she didn’t have to worry about her health all the time.
I suggested to Kelsey that she continue with the therapy sessions and try some CBT techniques with me to see if we could reduce her worries. Kelsey agreed as she was so distressed and saw no other options.
Using Exposure Therapy, Kelsey’s fears gradually dissipated. Her commitment to therapy increased after each session as she realized that she was worrying less.
Kelsey was spending more time with her family and less time online searching for what was wrong with her.
In a few months, Kelsey was able to allow her anxiety about her health to fade into the background of her life. She no longer obsessed about becoming ill.
Occasionally, her fear would crop up when she was under stress or got a cold, but she could control her anxiety using the methods I taught her in therapy.
Now that Kelsey had more time in her life and was more productive at work, she decided to ask for a promotion.
Her boss noticed how she had become more productive and seemed more relaxed and happier. Kelsey was granted her promotion and was thrilled that her life was going so well.
Contact me for a no-obligation 15-minute inquiry call.
We’ll discuss your worries and fears, and I’ll explain how I can help you get relief from anxiety using CBT therapy.