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Video: Agoraphobia. An Example Of Therapy - The Quality Of Life
In the first part of the article, we described what agoraphobia is and examined the causes of its occurrence. Now I propose to consider a real example of a case of agoraphobia from my practice, associated with a trauma from my childhood.
Once the traumatic memories have been discovered, it is necessary to adjust the meanings that were assigned to the memories during their formation. Since memories are traumatic, they are stored and retrieved in the meaning the person gave them at the time. But in adulthood, a person suffering from agoraphobia may receive other information that allows them to more gently interpret what happened in the past.
The patient is a 28-year-old woman named K. (agoraphobia with panic attacks).
Most of all she was afraid of one situation: that she would be taken to a psychiatric clinic, no one would visit her and no one would help her get out of there. When approaching any building that looked like a hospital, K. began to have a panic attack. In the process of analyzing memories from K.'s childhood, it turned out that at the age of 5 she was admitted to the hospital. The mother could not stay with her daughter, as she had to go to work. The father abandoned them even before K. was born, so the mother had to provide for herself and her daughter alone. Leaving the hospital, the mother said that she would return very soon, but she was gone for several days. K. was hysterical that day, as she thought that her mother had abandoned her. The hospital doctors apparently decided not to pay attention to the sobbing girl, thinking that they would calm down on their own. Thus, K. then gave an explanation of the whole situation,that her mother does not love her and decided to get rid of her, no one will help her in the hospital, and she will never return home.
So, we need to change the negative interpretations of that situation in K.'s memory:
- We reviewed evidence that the mother did love K.
- The mother had good reasons not to come to the hospital the next day: she was threatened with dismissal if she did not show up for work and refused to work that day in two shifts.
- K.'s mother nevertheless came to the hospital for her, which refutes K.'s explanation that she was abandoned and she would never get home.
Having received new information, K. looked at the situation from the point of view of an adult. K. also imagined that she was in the past and mentally conveyed some messages to the doctors and her mother: “Mom! Don't leave without saying that you love me, and without explaining why I was here. Doctors! Show attention to the little girl who is left alone and who is very scared. Comfort her. " After that, K. came up with a favorable development of events, as she falls asleep next to her mother sitting by her bed. Mom strokes K. on the head and says how much she loves her and that they will soon be home.
Such an experiment gave an effective result - the woman no longer had panic attacks, the fear of a psychiatric clinic did not arise, and agoraphobia disappeared. Such a technique can be carried out independently, however, for the best result, it is recommended to be accompanied by a specialist, since each case is individual.