Tuesday, 15 May 2007

2003 - Cognitive Behavioural Therapy , Reiki & Agoraphobia

We started 2003 with Marie's heightened anxiety - one of the consequences of the robbery late in 2002. Plans to help Marie drive by herself to her friends' houses - or anywhere else - were put on hold since Marie didn't feel confident enough to try to do this.

I had been reading up about the efficacy of CBT for agoraphobia. A clinic in the next town advertised CBT, and I contacted the therapist there. He mentioned that his therapy could be funded by the state if we got referred to him by our doctor (or we could pay £45 per session privately). So we consulted our doctor, and after a few months, Marie was awarded 6 sessions, with the promise of more if it proved to be beneficial.

Alec Smith, the therapist was a small, middle aged, gently-spoken man whose office was on the 2nd floor. It took a lot of effort, on Marie's part, to get there for the 1st session; but she got there eventually, and it was easier to get there for subsequent sessions. Early improvement as a result of the therapy led to a situation of not much happening. Nevertheless, Marie continued to attend for a 2nd course of 6 sessions. It became obvious that it wasn't working and Marie didn't ask for any more sessions.

A couple of years later, I discovered that Alec wasn't primarily a Cognitive Behavioural therapist - he was a Hypnotherapist who had studied CBT a little!

At the start of 2003, Marie can not -
  • Be by herself, anytime, anywhere
  • Go into any "dangerous" building i.e. a building which has a risk of being robbed
  • Go near a group of 2 or more youths, especially if they are earing hooded tops
  • Stay in the house without the doors being locked
  • Go more than 3 metres away from our house (or any other building she is visiting)
  • Use any form of public transport
Marie can -
  • Go out in a car, with a safe person, almost anywhere
  • Walk up to a quarter of a mile away from the car along a street with shops (which are open)
  • Go into fairly large buildings
  • Walk quite far around markets and car boot sales
  • Stay with a selection of "safe" people, as long as they can drive and there is a car close by
Marie's OCD means -
  • Needs her shoulder bag, mobile phone, heavy coat/jacket/jumper, a bottle of flavoured drink, her keys before she can go anywhere
  • I have to carry my mobile phone around at all times
  • Our pram - must be in the car when we are out in it
  • Our pram - to walk anywhere more than 5 metres
  • Our cars must be parked close to our house with unobstructed access to the public road (Marie gets really stressed if anyone parks - even for a short while - in front of either of our vehicles)
Later in the year, Marie went to see a young man for Reiki. Marie was invited to lie down on a conveniently-placed couch. The therapist spent about an hour passing his hands over her - never touching her. He talked in gentle relaxing tones throughout. Suddenly, Marie vomitted. It wasn't a lot, but required, of course, immediate cleaning and this meant the immediate termination of the therapy. The therapist told us that this had never happened before, but it was a sign that the therapy was acting on Marie. Marie also revealed that during the therapy, she felt heat emanating from inside her. It was not an uncomfortable sensation. Interesting though all this was, the treatment had absolutley no effect on Marie, and she has never felt the need for another session.


Ruby said...

Hi Robert and Marie
There are so many fraudsters out there, I'm sorry Marie had to come across one of them as it makes you feel so discouraged to try again. I have found CBT to work well, I did it 15 years ago and am relearning it now and even though I have just started again, am finding it very helpful. There is a great book on CBT that I have read and re-reading now that was recommended to me; Feeling Good by David D Burns, M.D.
Tell Marie not to give up, we have lived this way for too long, and deserve a life of freedom from fear.


Robert said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Robert said...

Thanks for that Ruby -
Just yesterday a local lady, who is a psychologist, gave me the name & address of a CBT practitioner which she would recommend. Marie has had a small operation for dental problems, so isn't on top of the world at the moment. When she feels better, I expect she will investigate this contact. Thanks for the book title...Amazon, here I come!