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Case Study: Overcoming Clinical Depression with BWRT

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Posted: 23 June 2016
Gender: Female
Age: 35 - 40
Presenting problem: Clinical Depression
Treatment modality: Advanced Level BWRT®
Number of sessions: 5

Note: Advanced Level BWRT® aims to replace unwanted and unhelpful images of self with a desired, positive image of self. At the outset, this client had a strong belief that positive change was not possible. She had been suffering with clinical depression for more than 20 years and had tried a number of different treatment modalities during that time, all without success.

At the beginning of therapy the client was dour in presentation, describing herself as 'a fat, ugly, failure’, and that the depression with which she suffered felt as if she were carrying around ‘a ton of black fog’ which weighed her down. She lacked energy and motivation; did not feel like a grown woman; was unmotivated; could not think positively; and had no direction. She would comfort eat, felt stuck in a job she did not want, and had no vision of the future; she had been single for many years and wanted to be in a relationship - with the possibility of having children - but could not imagine anyone would ever find her attractive.

The first session was spent exploring every aspect of her negative self-image and she recalled two particular experiences from her childhood. These were significant memories and still held powerful emotions for her. The remainder of the time was given over to dealing with those emotive memories using Level One BWRT®.

At the second session the client reported that the old, difficult memories (as above) were no longer bothering her. After focusing on developing a positive image of self, by the third session she revealed that she had started going to the gym and improved her personal care regime. She had also treated herself to an expensive purchase (which, incidentally, she had bought on the way home from the previous week's therapy session). However, despite such encouraging progress, the client’s belief that she could achieve lasting, positive change, was still low. Discussion around this revealed a deeply-held belief that she would never amount to anything, a belief repeatedly told to the client by her father throughout her childhood. Evidently integral to the successful outcome of therapy, that day’s focus was to negate this belief. By the end of the session the client was able to demonstrate a fundamental shift in her thinking and used the metaphor of a caged bird who had been released but, looking at the fields of freedom ahead, felt unsure of itself.

The following week the client stated that she was feeling more energetic, was regularly attending the gym and was actively enjoying exercise. She said that she could feel ‘a calmness growing into excitement’. We completed the final part of the Advanced Level work, after which the client continued the metaphor from the previous week, describing feeling the weight of depression falling from her, then feeling so light that it was as though she could fly like a bird set free from its cage.

The fifth and final session was spent reinforcing the client’s new-found strengths and setting future goals for one year ahead.

At the time of writing, one of these goals is already underway: at the last session the client reported that she had enrolled with an online dating agency and was about to fix a date with someone she had been communicating with. She remarked that she now believed in the possibility of meeting someone to have a serious relationship with, adding that other people had commented how noticeable her new positive outlook was. Indeed, the change is visible: at this final session her face was relaxed, her eyes brighter, and she was quick to smile as she said goodbye.
Written by: Benefit Therapy
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