Presenting problem: Health Anxiety and Grief
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, she says that other things began to worry her: She is terrified of terror attacks and devours the daily news for stories of tragic deaths;. each night she repeatedly checks the doors and windows are locked; 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.
I ask G about her very worst fear and she bursts into tears, exclaiming that it’s the thought of leaving her children without a mother. I ask if she is still grieving for her own mother but she shakes off the question with a wave of her hand, saying it was a long time ago and she has dealt with it.
For this and the next session we focus on her conviction that, at some point, she will discover a malignant lump and die a premature death. Each time she 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 reports that 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 her 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, and says: ‘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’.
For help with health anxiety or grief contact Claire in complete confidence, today.