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Therapy - Case Studies
Laura - Depression

Laura came to therapy at the age of 42 having experienced episodes of low mood and depression since her early 20s. She had taken courses of antidepressants on three previous occasions which had been helpful, but her GP recommended that CBT might be helpful to address the underlying issues that were causing her chronic depression.

The significant events in Laura’s life that emerged during therapy were:

  • a critical mother who compared her to her sister frequently

  • a lifelong difficult relationship with her older sister who was a high achiever

  • moving to a different area of the country at the age of 10, resulting in the loss of her friends

  • the loss of her grandfather when she was 14

  • her parent’s disappointment when she did not achieve the necessary exam results to go to university

The goals Laura identified for therapy were:

  • to be able to cope with everyday life without feeling vulnerable and depressed all the time

  • to have the confidence to go back to work now that her children were old enough

  • to be able to say ‘no’ to friends and family who she felt constantly expected too much of her

During therapy it became clear that Laura had lifelong low self-esteem. No matter what she achieved (she had previously had a good job, had a successful marriage, managed the family home, and brought up two lovely children), she felt she was never good enough. Laura was highly critical of herself, including her attainments, the way she looked, and the fact that she felt depressed for so many years.

Examples of the techniques used in the therapy process:

  • Compassionate Mind Training - it was a therapy-long process to help Laura to treat herself with the same kindness and understanding as she was able to treat all those around her. Laura realised that she was ‘human’ and that meant not only was she fallible, but also needed to feel cared for and encouraged – as all people do

  • Homework: Behavioural Experiments – Laura had avoided some social activities for such a long time, she was sure she could not cope with them again. In a gradual way, Laura increased her social activities and learned from each experience that she could cope, even when things were uncomfortable

Outcome of therapy:

  • Laura had 23 hours of CBT in total, including follow-up appointments

  • The therapy was highly successful for Laura and she was able to begin a new job, greatly improve her social activities, go on holiday, and enjoy time with her family more than she ever had

  • One year after the therapy finished, Laura felt she was still gaining confidence all the time, and dealt with a difficult situation that occurred without feeling unable to cope and without getting depressed, which she certainly would have in the past



 

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