4:00 p.m. on a Sunday afternoon. My day off. I hear my cellphone (that I forgot to turn off during our family nap) make the sound it does when someone has left me a text.
It’s Victor (not his real name). An amazing guy. Brilliant. Funny. Some coping issues and he is texting if he can talk to me. “Ken can I talk to you for a little later in the evening if you can I want to talk to someone about a fear and your the best person”.
I have worked on these sorts of things many times before but each time is unique. Every person’s anxiety is different. I pick up the phone and we talk.
Since he has been very young he has had this recurring fear. A fear that comes back several times each year. Sometimes an event can trigger it. Sometimes it just seems to happen. On those terror-filled days and sleepless nights, his parents are helpless to release their child from his terrors. They keep trying but nothing works.
We spent close to an hour on the phone. We had worked on breathing exercises in the past. We had also done some visualization exercises to help Victor focus his mind towards positive thoughts. We mixed those up with some simple talk about his fears. His concerns and how they felt in his body when they would begin to appear.
Speaking with someone new on this subject seemed to help him a bit and he asked if he could come in with his mom the next day and work on the issue.
On the next day I met with Victor one on one first. We worked on a breathing technique where he put one hand on his belly and another on his chest. I had him focus on having his belly move on the breath without having the chest move and to breath in on a count of five, hold the breath for a three count and then breath out on a count of five.
This had an immediate effect of letting him focus on something new. (There is more to the intake as to why I knew that diverting his attention would work).
We then added EFT (Emotional freedom technique). I don’t use this on a regular basis, but I really like the idea of having Victor doing tapping, focusing on breathing, and stating affirmations based on what he really wanted to focus on and had been avoiding.
All this brought him to a more relaxed state. At this point we brought in his mom and we determined that Victor should offer three things that his parents could do when he was anxious at night that would be helpful.
This avoided all the frustration on the parents part of trying different things that didn’t seem to work. It also avoided the frustration on victors part of feeling that his parents were diminishing his concerns.
We now have a short-term and long-term method of dealing with this and so far things are improving.
None of what I am saying in this article is meant to be anything other than a case study and to show parents and young adults going through anxiety that there are many ways to deal with these things.
New choices must be based on what works for the client. The big question is; are they visual, auditory, or kinesthetic. I find that a great deal of these people are kinesthetic and that is why something that they feel has to be used versus talk therapy to get them to change their “reality”.
I just want you to know that there are alternatives.