This is a story of a participant, who can be referred to as “Lucia”, that began therapy work at Mattie Rhodes in April 2020. At the time of her arrival, she explained that she had a history of anxiety but had been able to somewhat cope with it through different means she had figured out on her own. Unfortunately, in the summer of 2019 Lucia was involved in an accident while driving on the highway, in which both she and her daughter nearly died. Ever since, she had been experiencing an increase of anxiety and was becoming overwhelmed by it, particularly when she had to drive. Lucia reported nightmares related to the accident and tension in her body. While driving, she shared that she always had the non-stop fear that cars driving behind her would not stop and would hit her car. This feeling of vulnerability was ever present.
After an initial session to get to know her therapist better and discuss her needs as she saw them, Lucia was able to learn three new techniques to help her begin to immediately cope with the stress of driving: a deep breathing exercise, a “grounding” technique drawing upon her senses to help bring her mind back into the present, and an imaginary “container” where she could store these difficult memories in between therapy sessions. After reviewing a flyer and discussing her questions with her therapist around Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), she felt it would be a helpful form of therapy for her.
From that moment on, Lucia threw herself wholeheartedly into the therapy process, never missing a session, going over her memory of the accident while tolerating the fear through the use of the three techniques she had learned previously. Her therapist tried to maintain a warm and supportive environment where Lucia always felt in control of the therapy process, going as slowly or quickly as she wished. As a result of Lucia’s exemplary effort, her internal feeling of distress related to the accident has now decreased by about 50%. She has now been able to do things that she never could have contemplated a year ago, such as drive her daughter on a daily basis to work at night and make a 90-minute trip outside of the city (both using highways). Her efforts are both a testament to the strength of her individual resolve and the power of drawing upon methods of healing that are proven by science.
If you or someone you love may be in need of help, please call us at 816-241-3780.