Last week I promised you two case studies that proved effective. It was advantageous for a variety of reasons. One had high powered job that required quite a bit of domestic and international travel. The other was a stay at home mom with three children under 5 years of age two with autism.
Case Study 1
Jennifer came to counseling because she had undergone serious physical and emotional trauma as a child. An only child with an alcoholic mom. She was isolated and withdrawn as a child but she excelled as a student right through college. Jennifer was a hard worker and she achieved earning an executive position in her job.
The pressure of her job was becoming increasingly unbearable and although she appeared to have it all together she often had thoughts of running her car into a tree on her way home. Jennifer did not believe she was suicidal but she imagined this would alleviate her by legitimately being out of work for several weeks.
Jennifer initially came for a face-to-face session but presented her dilemma in seeking counseling prior to today. She was afraid that these thoughts would eventually be a self-fulfilled prophesy and she may cause more damage and actually die rather than just have some time off work.
Jennifer had three consecutive session with me later proceeded to continue therapy sessions via video-conferencing. She kept a diary of stressors and I taught her how to manage these stressor as a matter of priority. Writing down each stressor helped her assess the gravity of the current situation and decide if this was worth the anxiety it was causing her.
Jennifer would come in for her face-to-face when she was in town but online therapy helped her to stay connected, deal with stressors while she traveled. She was learning how to deal with each situation do an analysis of level of importance and she was able to move forward. Five months into e-counseling Jennifer received another promotion and she attributed that to her high level of success in therapy.
Case Study 2
Grace came to me because she had met me in one of my speaking events. She was a 33 year old stay at home mother of three. She had three children two with autism and her husband the sole provider of the home worked long hours to make ends meet. She lived about 70 miles from my office, therefore, coming to a face-to-face counseling session was not an option.
Because her children were so young and two of three had autism Grace found it difficult to leave the home to go to a weekly counseling session. Finding a baby-sitter was difficult at best so she only relied on her mother and sister who were not always available. Weekly babysitting services was out of the question.
Grace was under a lot of pressure she had three siblings who had children but she was the only one with children that had autism. Because her husband spent anywhere between 50-60 hours at work she had the bulk of the responsibility with the home and the children. Grace was depressed, anxious and felt she had no outlet to have an adult life. Her friends had distanced themselves from her and she felt isolated.
The only way that she could have sessions was via video-conferencing and it had to be at 6AM prior to the children awakening for the day. She came to the session with a mug of coffee and a croissant every week. She stated that this felt to her like girlfriend time; an opportunity to talk about her and have an adult conversation.
In several months Grace made notable strides. We worked on getting her family to take turns baby-sitting the children once a month each for 4 hours. Because she had so many siblings and her parents it turned out that everyone had their turn every 6 weeks. She had 5 hours a week to herself where she can chose what she wanted to do. She would either have lunch with a friend, go to a salon or go to a movie by herself. This time was not for food shopping or running any household errands.
Needless to say, Graces progress was remarkable. She was so overwhelmed with her situation that she was not just unable to ask for what she wanted but she wasn’t even sure of what she wanted because she was so overwhelmed.
These are two cases for e-therapy. Both these clients were in an emotionally precarious situation. Neither one had the ability to access face-to-face therapy due to scheduling, children and a myriad of circumstantial issues. Online therapy severely reduced their stress level and they were able to successfully function.
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