Lucy came to me when she began to have difficulty focusing at work. A year earlier, during her first pregnancy, a routine scan had revealed that her baby’s heart was not beating, and the following day she had been rushed to hospital. She lost her baby. The trauma had a profound effect on her. She adopted a coping strategy based on avoidance and shielding away from medical professionals. We established treatment goals and set out on a process of looking at the impact of the trauma on Lucy. We also examined her avoidance practices and defined a hierarchy of the things that she was avoiding.
Via video link, we used a CBT approach of prolonged exposure to deal with her trauma memories, so that she was able to talk about her experiences, and her nightmares receded. Nevertheless, there were still issues of avoidance and guilt.
The later part of our therapy journey helped Lucy – gradually and safely – to face the things she was avoiding. We began by using imagined exposure, followed by real-life exposure. At the end of the therapy, Lucy felt that she was functioning significantly better, including being able to engage with her role at work.
* Name changed for reasons of confidentiality