Samantha was a professional person for a large and prestigious firm, where she had worked for several years. Her ambition was to become a partner before she was 33. Samantha dedicated herself to this role and always made sure she did above and beyond what was required. The sleepless nights and heavy demands made Samantha feel reluctant to find time for herself, family, friends and long-term relationships, as she ‘did not have time’.
Samantha soon found herself withdrawn and isolated and increasingly lonely. Samantha prided herself on not being addicted to anything and always in control.
One day out of nowhere she experienced a panic attack! So alarming was it that she had to cancel seeing a client and take time out from work. This experience was not a one off as Samantha soon started to feel bouts of anxiety, palpitations, sweats, shaking, loss of control and unable to manage her work. This spiraled into her feeling depressed and taking time off from work.
Samantha came to me desperate to explore coping mechanisms for her anxiety and management of her low mood. She wanted to try therapy before going to see her GP for medication.
After several weeks of therapy she felt upbeat. She understood that her main coping mechanism had been to use work for self worth and validation.
This awareness enabled Samantha to gain her sense of self worth by recognizing her patterns of behavior. Cognitive Behavioural intervention made Samantha aware of her belief that her self worth depended only on what she produced at work.
She understood how to change her behaviours so she could generate self worth from activities and achievements outside work. The integrative approach enabled her to become aware of how her emotions and cognitions influence her behavior in the past present and future.
Eventually Samantha made positive gains in therapy that enabled her to maintain a healthy work life balance, which has led to relationships and better and taking care of herself at work.