Presenting problem: Fear of Cancer
Treatment modality: BWRT®
Number of sessions: 3
G’s mother had died from cancer some years before. Since then, she had developed a morbid fear of cancer, exacerbated by a routine mammogram which had discovered a benign lump that eventually dispersed naturally.
When we met online for the consultation G was visibly distressed and said it wasn’t just cancer she was afraid of. Since the birth of her second child she had become increasingly anxious about a number of things which had spilled into daily life, leaving her emotionally and physically exhausted.
Every day, G devoured the news for stories of tragic deaths. She refused to take time for herself because she was afraid to leave her children with anyone else, and had given up her job in London as she was frightened of a terror attack. Each night she repeatedly checked that doors and windows were locked, and in the mornings she obsessively researched on the internet any newly discovered lump, bump or blemish, convinced it marked the beginning of a terrible end.
I asked G about her very worst fear. Without hesitation she declared it was the thought of leaving her children without a mother and promptly burst into tears. Exploring this further, I asked if she was still grieving for her own mother, explaining that it would help greatly if we resolved any residual grief first. But G shook the question off.
Over the next two sessions we focused on G’s fear of cancer and the belief that at some point she would discover a malignant lump, and her certainty that she would suffer a premature death and leave her children without a mother. By the end of each session G was able to replace her health anxiety with the preferred feeling that ‘it’s probably nothing’ and ‘it will be ok’.
By the third appointment, G said that she was feeling a lot lighter and much less anxious, but still missed the carefree approach to life she used to have.
She talked about how her mother had been her ‘backbone’ before she died, giving G the strength to live a life free from worry. As she talked her head dropped suddenly and her shoulders rose up as tears began to flow. Finally, she said she was ready to face her grief and trust the process which would help her to feel better.
Of course, G would never forget her mother, or ever stop loving her, and she would likely always be sad on those special occasions when her mother’s absence would be felt most keenly. But, now, she grabbed the chance to let go of all the hurt inside. At the end, G lifted her head and nodded as she dabbed her eyes, saying ‘it’s ok now’. A couple of tissues later a small half-smile drew across G’s face as she repeated, 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.