Gender: Female

Age: 64

Presenting Problem: Claustrophobia

Treatment: BWRT

Number of Sessions: 2

MH asked for help when she had to go for an CT scan. She had tried before but had a full panic attack and had to be pulled out of the scanner. She had been claustrophobic since childhood and had tried many different therapeutic approaches including hypnotherapy – none of which worked. She had become resigned to always having claustrophobia…

MH knew that the scan was going to be difficult because it was on her head, and therefore she had to wear a cage around her head to keep still. She was terrified, and knew she could not go through with it – yet she was experiencing symptoms which required urgent investigation.

We started by talking about her history of claustrophobia – when it first started and how it felt. MH was able to describe this in detail. I checked for any resistance to letting go of the problem, and then began work. MH found a ‘worst memory’ with a score of 10/10 (the worst it can be). She had a very clear idea of how she would like to feel when having the scan – calm and relaxed, almost mundane – like when doing the ironing.

After only one session, MH felt calm when talking about the forthcoming scan. I tried to re-trigger her anxiety but was unable to do so (a good sign; if this had happened I would simply have repeated the BWRT work in a slightly different way). MH admitted she was sceptical – after all she had tried so many different ways to cure her claustrophobia and none had ever worked. However she said it felt different this time – no matter how hard she tried she could not recreate the anxiety she was used to.

Two weeks later MH contacted me to say that she had been for her scan. She had experienced some mild anxiety whilst waiting, but when she was put into the scanner she felt totally relaxed! She knew she was OK when her hand touched the side, a tactile reminder of where she was. After the scan, she became emotional because she knew she had achieved something she previously thought to be impossible.

Lastly, the results of her scan were clear, so a happy ending all around!

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