Chloe” was an intelligent female in her 20s who suffered a long history of depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts and obsessive thinking patterns bordering on OCD. She had a suicide attempt in her adolescent years and again in her 20s. 

She held perfectionistic standards of herself which was manifest in self attacking and critical thoughts whenever she deemed she had not been “good enough.” She carried these high expectations of herself in therapy, often believing that she should have “been better” by now. 

She was navigating postgraduate study which was a trigger for her self attacking thoughts. Placing herself under immense pressure to excel in her field of study.

Treatment lasted 39 sessions. Therapy helped her to recognize the situations leading to self criticism. It was often a defence against her own feelings toward someone else. For instance, she had a supervisor at university who was very critical. Rather than acknowledge, process and work through her own feelings of anger towards her supervisor (who she also admired and respected), she internalised this anger and turned it back in on herself. This was a pattern in most of her other relationships where she would idealise others but in turn devalue herself. She would often then become anxious in her interactions with others, believing them to be “above” her and that she could never measure up to her own (self-imposed) standards. 

When asking about treatment progress at session 8, Chloe reported that she no longer cries herself to sleep every night. By the end of therapy, she reported her mood to have been more positive than she had ever experienced. That is, she not only experienced removal of symptoms, but her quality of life was the best it had ever been.

At the end of therapy, she was in a caring and supportive relationship of several months. (Her last relationship she suffered with anxiety symptoms including nausea, reduced appetite, 10kg weight loss, and heightened stress. She ended this relationship due to the distress caused by these symptoms). Chloe had completed her university degree and had secured full-time employment as well as volunteering for a mental health support line. 

*NB names and certain demographical information has been altered in order to preserve client privacy and confidentiality

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