We hope these client case studies will provide an insight into therapy and how it works. Although they have been written by us, they are based on real work with clients, although we have mixed things up a little and changed names so nobody can be identified.
How CBT helped Liz
When my obsession with checking the front door became so time consuming that I was consistently arriving late to work and my job was on the line, I knew I had to get professional help.
After discussing my options, I decided cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) would best suit my needs and I arranged an initial session with Jan, my cognitive behaviour therapist. Together we examined this checking behaviour and explored the obsessive thoughts behind these compulsive actions. Jan explained how I used this behaviour to ease my anxiety and ultimately, avoid these intrusive thoughts. Through this work, I discovered my behaviour had stemmed from a previous bad experience in which I had felt violated.
Jan helped me understand the importance of tackling these thoughts head on, rather than silencing them by carrying out my compulsive behaviour, and also explained the nature of anxiety, i.e. if you sit with it long enough it will eventually decrease. She also gave me a number of helpful techniques to challenge these thoughts and manage my anxiety which, although difficult at first, I was able to apply at home on my own.
Initially, I was rather reluctant and anxious to have cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) because I knew I would have to face up to my fears. However, Jan was so supportive and worked with me to set goals at a comfortable pace and I soon began to feel better able to cope. I still have some way to go but I really feel Jan’s non-judgmental attitude, and the techniques I have learned, have improved my condition significantly and I now look forward to my sessions with Jan.
If you, like Liz, feel you may benefit from cognitive-behaviour therapy (CBT), please contact us.
How counselling helped Orla
Things had got really bad between myself and my partner before he eventually left. Since that time the kids had asked after their father constantly and they had started to play up, both at home and at school. I felt like I had no control anymore and that their behaviour was a reflection of my inadequacy as a parent. I was also wracked with guilt about the breakdown of the family unit and blamed myself. I needed someone to talk to.
My first session with Clare, a counselling psychologist, was nerve racking because it felt odd revealing my innermost feelings to a complete stranger but Clare was so patient and non-judgmental that I was soon able to relax. At the same time, it felt good to talk to someone about my problems who was not directly involved.
The more counselling sessions I had, the easier it became to open up to Clare who listened attentively and offered ideas as to how issues from my past may have affected my current feelings and my current situation. I discovered that my parents' relationship difficulties had impacted on my own relationship and their separation had left me with similar feelings of uncertainty and lack of control. I also realised my fear of abandonment had become a self-fulfilling prophecy in my relationship with my husband and that no one person is solely to blame for the breakdown of any relationship.
Clare highlighted certain aspects of my behaviour that were maintaining these negative thoughts and feelings and we discussed alternative, healthier ways of coping. Since gaining some insight I have been able to communicate more effectively with my partner and this has had a positive impact on the children's behaviour. I'm not saying I'm completely cured but I feel more in control of the situation now and it's becoming easier and easier to face the world each day.
If you, like Orla, would like to talk to someone about your current difficulties or issues from the past then please contact us.
If you would like more information about our counselling services or wish to book an initial counselling session, please contact us.
How couples/relationship counselling helped Amy and Ben
I felt my world had ended the day Ben admitted to having a fling with someone from work. As much as I was heartbroken by what he had done I still loved him and wanted to make a go of our relationship. However, I was also having difficulty trusting him again and so we both agreed relationship counselling might be the way forward.
Our first session was with Neil, a relationship/couples counsellor, who listened attentively to what we both had to say in a non-judgmental and impartial way, focusing on what had happened since the affair and how our respective behaviour was creating and maintaining problems in our relationship.
Since Ben’s confession I had become very needy and controlling, wanting to know where he was at all times and with whom. At first, Ben understood this – he knew he had to regain my trust. However as time went on he felt suffocated and began to withdraw and communicate very little.
Neil pointed out that we had got into a vicious cycle because the mistrust had led to lack of communication which then made me feel Ben was hiding something. In addition to this, Ben had a fear of abandonment – his mother had left his father when he was a child. Neil suggested that Ben have some individual counselling sessions to give him space to talk in more detail about this issue, as well as continuing therapy as a couple.
Through counselling, Ben discovered he’d had the fling because he feared me leaving him. He’d done it to push me away to save himself from being hurt. However, he then realised how much he loved me and regretted what he’d done. This insight helped us greatly and over time I was gradually able to stop checking in with Ben as much. As a result he became more communicative and I started to trust him again. We are still together a year on and I am pleased to say the relationship has gone from strength to strength as a result of this experience.
If you, like Amy and Ben, feel you may need to speak to a relationship/couples counsellor contact us.