Sam had been suffering alone for a number of years..... thinking and being told that 'he was being foolish' and that 'he needed to pull himself together'. Sam was fourteen when he came to see me and he told me he had been having issues going to school, sometimes he stood outside the school gates for an hour, feeling frozen, not able to walk in (he would nearly always walk back home again, eventually). Sam also had difficulty concentrating in class, was sleeping less hours than normal and not feeling hungry/eating less.
During the second session I could feel that Sam wasn't comfortable opening up in the treatment environment, so I suggested that for our next appointment we go for a walk with our dogs (he talked a lot about his dog in our first session so I knew he would feel comfortable with this suggestion). I gained more from Sam during that session than I had for the previous two sessions. Meeting the people we support in their world, where they feel comfortable is so important not only to gaining trust but also ensuring they are relaxed and open.
From that moment on, our sessions 'blossomed'. I got to know Sam more, he opened up more and I was able to help Sam understand that he was suffering with anxiety and that 'he wasn't being foolish'.
We talked about how anxiety (anger, depression, obsessions) are created and what techniques we could use to help Sam gain back control. We met often in the park to walk the dogs; this was a time when Sam was able to talk about difficulties, deep thoughts and emotions. We always then ensured that the treatment room was a place where we worked through his action plan. This approach worked really well for Sam.
With Sam, understanding how anxiety is created was an enlightening moment for him, he knew then that he could with practice and support learn to manage his anxiety and gain control of his life again.
Sam came to my practice for about six months; as with many cases of anxiety (or anything I'm presented with) we dealt with lots of other underlying emotions.
Sam passed a number of his GCSEs this year and has decided he is going to stay on to study further.