Presenting problem: Health Anxiety
Treatment modality: BWRT®
Number of sessions: 3
G is anxious about her health.
When we meet for the first time she is visibly distressed and tells me she is certain she will die from cancer. I ask if she is currently undergoing treatment but she shakes her head; no, she is in good health.
Instead, she explains how a morbid fear of cancer has developed ever since a routine mammogram discovered a benign lump which, eventually, dispersed naturally. G blurts out that her mother died from breast cancer some years before.
As her anxiety around cancer grew, other things began to worry her. She is terrified of terror attacks, she says, and devours the daily news for stories of tragic deaths. Each night, she repeatedly checks that doors and windows are locked, and in the mornings she obsessively researches on the internet any newly discovered lump, bump or blemish, convinced it marks the beginning of a terrible end.
She is emotionally and physically exhausted.
I ask G about her very worst fear and, without hesitation, she bursts into tears and declares it is the thought of leaving her children without a mother. I wonder if she is still grieving for her own mother but G shakes off the question with a wave of her hand, saying it was a long time ago and she has ‘dealt with it’.
Over the next two sessions we focus on her conviction that, at some point, she will discover a malignant lump and die a premature death. Each time, G is able to replace her fears with the preferred feeling that ‘it’s probably nothing’ and ‘it will be ok’.
By our third appointment, G says she is feeling a lot lighter and much less anxious, but still misses the carefree approach to life she used to have. She says her mother was her ‘rock’, giving G the strength to live a life free from worry. As she talks, her head drops suddenly and her shoulders rise, as the tears begin to flow again. Finally, she is ready to face her grief.
At the end, G lifts her head and wipes her eyes, as she states: ‘It’s ok now’. A couple of tissues later and I see a small, half-smile, drawing across her face. She noisily blows out a deep breath and says, once more: ‘It’s ok now’.
If you have a fear of cancer or feel stuck in grief and would like some help, book your free consultation, today.