Presenting problem: generalised anxiety disorder, social anxiety, low confidence

Number of sessions: 6

James, aged 39 years, came to see me on a recommendation from a previous client. He is in a happy relationship and happy with his job but suffers from anxiety and tends to worry a lot about the things in the world, especially since the EU referendum. He internalizes his worries a lot which results in waking up during the night and thinking about things. During the consultation James shared that he would like to be more relaxed about things and also more confident in his social interactions. “I tend to ‘dive into my mind’ instead of talking to people at work or engaging in a group conversation as I need to have it all pre planned,” he said.

We talked about how our brain works, how the way we think can increase the brain’s natural tendency to look for the danger due to its negative bias. James found it all very logical, especially when he heard that his brain is waking him up at night time because of his tendency to worry a lot. I shared with James some practical tools he could implement until our next session and encouraged him to listen to the hypnotherapy audio before bedtime as it would facilitate a good night’s sleep.

Session 1

I asked James what had been good since our last session and he said that he had started training his mind and has been able to focus more. He also noticed that he was sleeping better and was able to check that as he had a device on his wrist to measure it. “I feel more positive throughout the week and I have decided to leave work at work,” he said. When I asked him about the confidence, James said he felt like a 5 out of 10. When asked what would be different if he felt like a 6, James said he would be more positive and outgoing and more like himself when talking to people. James shared:” I shy away from conversations and discussions at work and tend to find excuses when I receive party invitations.”

Session 2

Very soon upon arrival, James said excitedly: “ I accepted an invitation for a birthday party without questions asked!” “Hooray,” I exclaimed. He also added that one of the parties he was recently invited to was cancelled but there might be another party and his answer was: ”Definitely, I want to come.” James noticed that he had been sleeping very well and feeling quite calm. “All is the same but it’s not affecting me,” he said. He noticed that he had had more energy and also bought new running shoes.

Session 3

James reported having more energy and feeling ‘stress- proofed’ despite a very stressful week. He went to a party on Saturday and had a fab time. Even communication with his partner had been better. James reported that his confidence was a 7 out of 10, he had been much more active physically and was much better at utilising his strengths. I asked him what would be different when his confidence was 8 and James said that he would be communicating more freely and would not worry about what other people think. “I’d be more confident knowing that people actually want to know what I need and be more free”. I asked him when he thought that might happen and he said: “As soon as I let myself”.

Session 4

When I asked James what had been good since our last session, James said that he had a nice weekend away and spent some quality time with his partner. “Things at work have been quiet and I’ve been feeling more calm and relaxed.” “I’ve been been sleeping so much better and rarely waking up at night now.” James shared that his thoughts have been much more positive (8/9 out of 10) and he felt like an 8 out of 10 confidence wise. When I asked him what would be different if he felt like a 9 and he said he would be even more relaxed and had something like a buffer zone between negative talks at work and himself. When I asked him if there was anything he could do about it, he said: “Stay focused and keep practising”.

Session 5

 

Upon arrival, James shared that he hurt his shin at jogging but found other stuff to do at the gym. He’d been so much more active physically and feeling very good about it. “I interacted with people at work on politics’” he said, “and had lunch with a colleague.” When I asked him what else had been good, James said: “I never thought I’d sleep great!” James reported feeling like an 8/9 out of 10 in terms of achievement, confidence, positivity and interaction with other people. When I asked him what would be different if he felt like a solid 9 he said that the relaxation feeling would be more prominent. “I need to realise that it doesn’t matter what other people think as others have other opinions.” I asked him what little thing would show him that he’s getting there and he said:” I’d celebrate difference and I’d be more actively inviting people to join in discussions”.

Session 6

 

I asked James what had been good since our last session and James said he’d been ‘cool about things’ and feeling on top of things, getting it all done. He said: “It’s been a generally good week and I even participated in political discussions at work.” In terms of physical activity and happiness overall, on a scale from 1 to 10, James said he felt like a 9 out of 10, reporting lots of energy and exercising twice a week. He decided he’d also try spinning. When I asked him what would be different if he felt like a 9.5, maybe even a 10, James said he’d be more relaxed at discussions, not trying to analyse things. When I asked him what little thing could he do to achieve that, James said: “ I’d let go of my need to control and remind myself that conversations are organic and you never know where they can take you.

When asked what little thing will show him he’s moving towards that goal, James replied: “I’d connect more with people I’m talking to and listen more instead of analysing what they’re thinking or planning my next comment.” “That’s such a great point, James. We can all draw from that”, I added.

 

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