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Blog: Blog2

*Emily (17)

Updated: Sep 7, 2023

*Emily came to see me after many years of struggling with her mental health. Emily reported she had always felt more emotionally 'sensitive' than other people, & she felt since she could remember that she did not have control over her emotions.

Emily reported friends & family often told her she would over-react when difficult things would happen, & that she so often interpreted things as far worse than they actually were.

Emily felt confused about this, & was worried there was something wrong with her that she did not react to things the same way as many people in her life.

When I first met Emily she was very distrustful of her emotions, & would often look to others to determine how she should feel.

Emily had been struggling with binging & purging behaviours for many years, but her parents had found out recently & now Emily was worried they were angry at her if she continued these behaviours. Emily reported she did not know why she engaged in binge/ purge behaviours, but she did not think she could stop. Emily reported she had worries about her weight, but this was not the primary reason for the behaviours- she actually hated how she felt when she was 'full', & not her body felt like it automatically purged if she ate enough to feel full.

Emily had seen several counsellors prior to me, & had not found therapy very helpful. She reported she didn't just want to talk- she wanted options for change.

Emily had goals for herself in regards to a future career in medicine, & was worried about the impact of her mental health on this. She was also worried about her ability to deal with stress, & that she felt overwhelmed quite easily in life.

Dialectical behavioural therapy (DBT) was a good fit for Emily, as we work on both acceptance & change skills. There were areas for Emily where she wanted to push for change, & there were also areas where more acceptance & validation was needed.

Overall, Emily's goal was to feel more in control of her emotions & her behaviours- so we focused on that in our work together.

Emily responded well to DBT & was able to develop a deeper understanding of herself & her emotions in a short period of time. We worked together on her mixed feelings about the binge/ purge behaviours, & slowly but surely Emily was able to make positive changes with this & reduce her need to continue these behaviours.

Emotion regulation skills were helpful for Emily so she could validate her emotions, without having to look to the opinion of others. When Emily felt more confident in feeling her feelings, she could grow her emotional resilience & face the stressors life threw her way.

After completing 12-months of DBT together, Emily felt confident in managing her emotions & the ups & downs of life much better. These days she is studying medicine & looking forward to a career in paediatrics:)

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