This selection of twelve Anxiety case studies gives a flavour of the immense variation of how an anxiety can manifest – a hydra headed monster indeed. In all cases names and other details have been changed to preserve complete anonymity.
Lena was a singer – talented but unable to perform over many years due to traumatic memories of stage fright and associated fears of auditions.
This failure to express herself had left Lena lacking self confidence. The difference after just four sessions was remarkable. She felt that the stage fright trauma had been ‘biologically removed’ by the use of the Rewind and her confidence in company had been transformed. After rehearsing new audition work and reminding her of her strengths (long hidden), Lena was ready to restart her life.
Read more about Lena’s performance anxiety.
Tom, a young man with what looked like a successful media career in front of him, came to see having spent the last year in a state of high and uncontrollable anxiety.
Tom had taken some drugs last new year and had then experienced some quite negative physical effects. But what seemed to have stayed with him was an increasing dread and terror that he had voluntarily done something that would destroy his life. He had wantonly and stupidly set up an unstoppable train of events that would annihilate him in a cesspit of mental and physical ruin. Of course he had not taken drugs since and was sure that he never would again – not that he had ever been a regular user.
We worked to relax Tom and to rewind or detraumatise these fears and memories. But the work we did over 4 sessions did not really help, other than at the margin. Now it was the case that Tom did not see these experiences too clearly, it was much more a feeling. Yet despite some fairly imaginative trance work, the underlying anxiety and fears persisted.
But then and against all Tom’s intention, at the next new year celebrations, Tom again took a tiny amount of a ecstasy drug – barely enough to register, but even so. Immediately thereafter, he felt the horror and stupidity of what he had done. But then an amazing thing happened. He began to realise that he was not annihilating himself and in fact he realised that he was surviving the experience and the anxiety began to lift. Within a few days he felt lighter and happier than he had felt for a year.
Like a vaccination he had inoculated himself by taking a tiny dosage of the disease. Or perhaps he had undertaken his own virtual rewind de-traumatisation. In any event he was free at last.
Naomi, a young woman, had been scared of needles since a child.
She feels she learnt this from her mother and now when she needed to visit a hospital for regular tests; it was becoming a major problem. In just one session, the emotional arousal linked to needles was removes. Naomi reported back a fortnight later – the next hospital visit had passed off without a hitch.
Justin, a forty-year-old businessman came to see me in a very agitated and confused state. He had had a disastrous fire in his flat three months previously.
Since then had felt progressively out of control. He was sleeping badly, anxious at work and increasingly unwilling to be with his friends and daughter. Justin was clearly suffering from PTSD and so I used the Rewind to relieve the traumatic memories. A week later, Justin phoned to cancel the second session as he was ‘supercharged’. I reflected that perhaps Justin did not realise how fortunate he had been to discover Human Givens. Without this treatment, Justin would have found his life getting more and more difficult – perhaps soon finding himself on anti-depressants, losing his job and finding relationships increasingly hard to sustain.
Carl was in his early forties and sick of living with chronic anxiety, low self-esteem and a lack of close intimate relations.
He had spent over two years in psychodynamic counselling and in his first session he explained with rare eloquence how his childhood and parents had impacted adversely on his capacity to sustain relationships. Unfortunately these insights were not helping him get his life moving as he wished. I worked by using the full panoply of techniques available – CBT, trance work, relaxation and setting tasks. The object was to change emotional and thinking patterns so that Carl could use his considerable resources to get his essential needs met – for fun and pleasure and closer connection and comfort with other people. Over seven sessions, Carl found himself becoming more resilient, less anxious and feeling in increasing control of his life and emotions for the first time.
Kenneth, now in his early 40s had been aware for a number of years that anxieties and extreme worrying and black and white thinking periodically overwhelmed him.
Ken’s life was good – work and relationships yet still when significant change beckoned, he would feel extremely anxious and this would terrify him. He also would remember an occasion a few years when he had experienced a quite horrendous panicky and overwhelming weekend. I used the rewind to clear this memory but by itself, this was not enough. Kenneth needed to adjust his thinking and emotional processing and we did this by trance work and some quite intense conversations and reframing. By the end of our time, Kenneth was much calmer and had learnt to fully accept and “let in” his anxieties and to remain much more present in current activities rather than negatively project and worry.
Vicki was a student whose fears where focussing on her busy London life and driving in particular but were impacting on all aspects and proving to be immensely debilitating.
The key to helping Vicky was the identification of an experience she had had as a young teenager at school. It was an experience off extreme humiliation and Vicky had not realised just how important it was. We rewound that experience and immediately Vicki felt better. But there was more work to do. In coping with the initial trauma, Vicky had developed very negative and over worrying habits. These needed to be tackled in a quite painstaking manner – by trance work and rehearsal, by building resources and by encouraging new habits and practices.
Georgio came to me at the end of his tether – he was anxious and fearful and felt out of control and he just had no idea why.
Georgio came to see me for five sessions and it was only in the last two that we got to the bottom of it. There was in fact no active trauma that needed to be de-traumatised, nor was it easy to find areas of Georges life and thinking styles that, though not working for him, were susceptible to change. In the end what was a problem for Georgio was a very deep molar memory. Molar memories are quite subtle and deep patterns that generate compulsive behaviours and you can read about them here. In Georgio’s case the compulsive behaviour was an obsessive workaholism which meant that he was never satisfied and was always under stress. Once that had been uncovered, Georges anxieties disappeared.
John was suffering from debilitating nightmares for over a month since he was involved in a car accident.
At the first session, I used the rewind technique to remove the bad experiences of the accident believing that this would probably remove the nightmares. But John called three days later to say that his nightmares were still as strong and so I suggested that he see me again right away. At the second visit, we went through the subject matter of the nightmares and I found that John really enjoyed his driving which was a big part of his job. It was agreed moreover that the anxiety of losing his ability to access a state of flow while driving could be causing John’s daytime arousal and the subsequent nightmares and disturbed sleep. So I worked on this directly in trance – creating the capacity for him to access this flow state whenever he chose to. John called two days later to say that he had had two good night’s sleep and was confident that he would now be OK.
Ian had retired and generally was very comfortable with his life but an underlying fear of heights, that had been with him all his adult life, was becoming an ever more serious problem.
Ian enjoyed travelling and there had been experiences where visits to tourist spots had gone terribly wrong because he just could not face high lifts and walkways. The obvious source of Ian’s problems could be identified back to his teenage years when he had had a terrible accident on a roof. So we used the rewind to remove this memory. In fact this on its own was not quite enough as he had had to live with the fear of heights for many years and had evolved a number of subtle defence mechanisms. It was not until four sessions later after numerous trance sessions that Ian was completely clear of a height phobia that had endured for over 50 years.
Conrad, a middle-aged married man had been aware that over a number of years, he had become increasingly reluctant to travel.
Matters had reached a head over a planned holiday to the Mediterranean. Conrad came for four sessions. There was a need to refocus certain aspects of Conrad’s life which were not working and to learn relaxation methods. He reported back a month later that the holiday had been a great success and in particular that the plane journeys had been relatively calm and stress-free.
Abba was a sixth former – very anxious especially at school and fearful of a foreign school trip to Germany planned in a month’s time.
Abba had recently changed school and was feeling a little vulnerable. At the same time she was quite clearly traumatised by recent experiences of being sick in restaurants. It also emerged that Abba was perhaps overly dependent on her nanny, particularly as she tried to cope with her anxieties. The first port of call was to use rewind on the restaurant experiences – but more was needed. Abba lacked self-confidence and this needed to be addressed – all of it by using trance. We also spent a lot of time doing trance rehearsal work of the impending foreign trip and gaining confidence with practical relaxation techniques. While on that trip, Abba felt the need to call me as the anxieties were still high and then an amazing thing happened. Through the week away, her confidence began to grow and she realised that she did have the resources to take care of herself and that the future, including soon university education, was something she could look forward to. And her anxieties disappeared.