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Case Study: Overcoming Generalised Anxiety Disorder with BWRT

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Posted: 20 June 2016
Gender: Female
Age: 20 - 30
Presenting problem: Generalised Anxiety Disorder [GAD]
Treatment modality: BWRT
Number of sessions: 5

At the initial assessment, ten serious anxiety-inducing thoughts or situations were identified. The most problematic was a fear of dying. The client described the anxiety as peaking several times a day, every day, resulting in a subsequent behaviour ritual that she felt compelled to perform in order to reduce the anxiety spike.

Treatment started with the most troublesome triggers. After the first session the client reported a much-reduced level of anxiety surrounding the fear of death. After the second session, all anxiety in this area had gone, along with the accompanying compulsive, ritualistic behaviour. The successful outcome achieved at the second session was aided by the client's remembrance of a traumatic event which she had not thought about in the first session.

The anxiety attached to the second most problematic situation - walking under ladders - was such that the client had spent 12 years squeezing through a tiny gap between the attic-room ladder and the wall outside her bedroom, rather than walk under the ladder whenever she wanted to visit the bathroom. After one session working on this the client reported that she was now able to walk under the ladder, to and from her bathroom, without any anxiety whatsoever. This was especially pleasing to the client because she now had a young baby to carry which had made the trips around the ladder increasingly difficult, exacerbating the anxiety further.

As we continued to work through the original list, the client found that some of the thoughts and scenarios which she had considered a problem were no longer bothering her. This is a common feature of BWRT; a successful outcome can have a very positive knock-on effect with other troublesome issues.

Another key feature of this therapy is that the client often forgets that something was ever a problem in the first place. Certainly, when enquiring how her week had progressed after one session working on the habit of repeatedly checking door locks, the client suddenly realised that her complusive behaviour had stopped: she had not acted out her rituals over the entire week. The anxiety had disappeared to such an extent that she had simply forgotten the old behaviour pattern completely.
Written by: Benefit Therapy
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