Presenting problem: BWRT for Panic Attacks
Treatment modality: BWRT®
Number of sessions: 2
H had been divorced from his wife for a couple of years. He had found it easy enough to deal with the relationship coming to an end, having fallen out of love with his former partner, but it was the change in his day-to-day living arrangements which affected him greatly.
Because they had a young son together, H and his ex-wife agreed that H would be the one to leave the family home, enabling the minimum amount of disruption to their son’s life. A devoted father, since the split he spent almost as much time with his child as before.
On the surface, the former spouses painted a harmonious picture, co-parenting their child in amicable, live-apart, environments. They had even kept the same friends in the wake of the break-up. Behind the scenes, however, H was crippled with guilt. Acknowledging that his son seemed happy enough, he nonetheless endured an overwhelming sense of remorse for walking out on him.
On top of this, H had become increasingly fraught that his chronic respiratory condition would develop into a terminal illness and bring about a premature death. Although extensive medical tests revealed no such indication, he constantly searched for signs of any change in his health. Driving a fear of leaving his son behind for good, H’s health anxiety developed into frightening panic attacks during which he would obsessively research his symptoms online, convincing himself that an early death was inevitable.
In an attempt to numb the pain and strain of keeping his guilt and fears at bay, H had recently taken to drinking excessive amounts of alcohol every day. It was the realisation of just how bad things had become which brought him to the consulting room.
Spluttering through tears as he described the extent of his guilt, H eventually conceded that he had been punished enough for past decisions and it was time to let go of this destructive emotion. By the end of the session, the sodden tissues were in the bin, along with the guilt.
The following week, having already made changes to his drinking behaviour, H returned so we could get to work with BWRT on the panic attacks and health anxiety.
Several instances were troubling for H to recall, the worst being a panic attack in response to a Google result which had resulted in a heavy-drinking bout and subsequent hangover of shame. Applying the therapeutic process, H decided he would prefer to respond with rational reason to any health concerns in the future, grabbing a glass of water instead of the usual bottle of wine, and not to ‘make a drama out of it’ by leaping onto the internet.
Moving on, H remembered other scenarios where he was anxious about his health, some dating back to early childhood when he received the initial diagnosis of his condition. Concluding that he had always been somewhat nervous, a light bulb abruptly switched on for H as, with startled eyes and an open mouth, he announced he had been trying to bury himself before he had lived.
And that was all it took to clear the way for us to remove all of H’s health fears, replacing anxiety with calmness, and catastrophising with logical positivity, to such great success that H struggled to recall what had bothered him so deeply just a short while before, declaring that it suddenly no longer seemed important.
If you would like to discuss how BWRT for panic attacks can help you, book your free consultation, today!