Alicia booked her telephone consultation with me during which she shared that she’s been suffering with anxiety and low confidence for as long as she can remember. During our initial consultation, she said she’s been anxious for so long that she feels as if it’s become a part of who she is and that others most probably identify her as such. Alicia is a very successful woman who runs a team of professionals. Very often she stays at work till late as she feels she needs to prove herself, especially as she is the youngest in the team. During our conversation she shared that she is very driven and focused on her work. She finds it hard to relax as she wants things to be perfect, so sometimes wakes up at night and ruminates on how to improve the projects she’s working on. I explained to Alicia where anxiety stems from and why she feels so overwhelmed with things. She found it very logical and was curious about the effect that our thoughts can have on our sleep pattern.
Alicia was driving for more than an hour to have therapy so we decided to have a session right after the initial consultation. When I asked her about perfectionism and why she thinks she needs to excel at everything , she said her dad would always find something that she could have done better. “His comments made me feel like what I was doing was never good enough”, she replied.
When I told him I got 92% on my exams, Dad said: ”Why didn’t you get 100%?”. “There was always something”, she said.
It transpired that those remarks would very often cause her to lose motivation or even stop doing what she initially had interest in. Of all the emotions she’s been harbouring all these years, anger turned out to be the most prominent so we focused our session on helping Alicia to dissolve it. On a scale from 1 to 10, 1 being low and 1 being high, Alicia said it was 10. I asked Alicia what she’d like to be the outcome of our session and she said: “I’d like to be more proud of myself. People may make remarks but as long as I’m happy with myself, it doesn’t matter”. We started the work and Alicia reported the intensity of her anger going from 10->4->2->0.
Upon arrival, I asked Alicia what’s been good and she said she had a good holiday over Christmas and even had an honest but short conversation with her dad. “I told him he has behaved badly and it felt good. I took time to myself during Christmas and although I was with my whole family, I went to bed at 8pm.” When I asked what else has been good, Alicia replied: “Mostly just little things”.
“What would be a big thing for you’, I asked, and Alicia said: “Confidence!”.
Alicia shared that she has always been image conscious and doing a lot of yo-yo dieting. I used to play a lot of sports but now it’s all mostly about work. On a scale from 1 to 10, she rated her confidence as 3, happiness 4, level of activity 3, thoughts 3, interaction 8 and achievement 5. We started the work and Alicia shared she’d like to be more assertive, authentic, happy and excited about life.
Onarrival, Alicia confided that there have been some adverse changes at work but they haven’t affected her at all. “I haven’t thought twice”, she said. “I just cracked on with it”. She phoned her dad but the conversation was very short as he was snappy and reserved. “He always plays games”, she said. When I asked what else has been good, Alicia said she’s been going for walks, have exercised a bit sporadically but went to the gym a few times. “ I used to spend a lot of time watching TV or playing games but now I go for walks! “Wow”, “I said, that’s fantastic!”. Alicia shared a lot of other great personal insights about the importance of being ourselves to be able to be confident.
On a scale from 1 to 10, Alicia rated her thoughts as 4, happiness 7, activity 7, interaction 8, confidence 3 and achievement 5. “I have never been a confident presenter. I am an insecure person. For me, everything comes back to confidence”, she said.
I asked Alicia what’s been good since our last session and she said she was gaining a better perspective on things, being more positive and calm. She added that she was slowing down and learning to switch off. “I’m not taking things home”, she said. “I’ve realised that people often project things, but I’m not bothered anymore. I’m learning to put things in context”, she shared.
We talked about the power of harnessing our self-talk and how, with practice, we can learn to direct our thought energy towards the positive, until it becomes automatic. Alicia shared she’d like to be more proud of her achievements and have more self-respect so we directed our work towards achieving that goal.
Upon arrival, Alicia shared that our conversation about self-talk and her inner child really resonated with her. “It has helped massively”, she said. On a scale from 1 to 10, Alicia reported her confidence to be 5, happiness 7, achievement 6, thoughts 8, activity 6.5 and interaction 8.
When I asked Alicia what she’d like to work on today, she replied: “I’d like to work on confidence to speak up. I’ve never been confident to say openly what I think or feel”. “Is there a reason why you feel like that”, I asked, and Alicia’s reply was: “What was the point of me speaking up if nothing is resolved as a result?”We started the work and Alicia said she’d like to be more honest in her conversations with people, feel lighter and more care-free.
When I asked Alicia what’s been good, Alicia said she had the best conversation ever with her dad. “We spoke for 2.5 hours. He let go of his iron shield for the first time ever and answered all my questions!”
Alicia shared that she realised she was very driven and likes to have things at work under control. “That’s causing me anxiety, but I guess that’ll always be there”, she said. As we talked about it, Alicia came up with some personal insights and solutions to her anxiety around work. “Work is not the place to gain relaxation. I need to explore more. I want to become a better person by exploring different things.” I asked Alicia what she had in mind and she replied with a smile: “I’ve been thinking about living more, working less and doing courses. Maybe getting into something completely different.”
“That sounds amazing”, I said. At the end of our 6th session Alicia shared she was very pleased with the results we have achieved. On a scale from 1 to 10, she rated her confidence as 7, achievement 9, activity 7, thoughts 8 and interaction 8. Well done, Alicia!