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Alice Cane

Published on Oct 04, 2023

Besides addressing trauma, therapy has taught me to prioritize myself. This newfound freedom and spontaneity have empowered me to set boundaries, even at work. I confidently make decisions and trust them.

Alice’s experience

Jane Smith, aged 45, had been struggling with anxiety for 14 years. Multiple times a day, she would check herself for signs of illness. Her profound fear of falling ill and potentially dying affected her daily life. Through her primary care physician, she started therapy at iPractice Utrecht.


“Whenever I noticed something even slightly unusual, my body would become overwhelmed with fear.”


In the worst of times, I would check my body for illnesses multiple times a day, particularly for signs of cancer. Anything slightly unusual would send my body into a state of panic. When nothing seemed wrong, I felt temporary relief. But then, I would find myself checking again just to ensure that I could maintain that peace. This cycle would eventually bring back the fear. I was deeply scared of falling ill and dying. This fear was not just for myself, but extended to my family as well. I feared everything that could lead to death.


“I used to believe therapy wasn’t necessary, and I was afraid it might make things worse.”


When I shared my life story with my new physician, she found it rather concerning. She asked if I had ever tried therapy, such as EMDR. While I had considered it, I believed it was unnecessary since I felt functional both within my family and at work. I led a seemingly regular life and doubted if therapy would make a difference. I was also hesitant to start therapy for fear it might exacerbate my issues. I felt content, but my physician believed I could feel much happier. So, I decided to give therapy a shot. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.


“I never expected my past experiences to be the direct cause of my fears.”


My anxieties were rooted in past traumas. I was surprised to discover that events from my past were directly triggering my fears. In retrospect, it made sense. My anxieties surfaced right after those incidents. To process these traumatic events, I underwent several EMDR sessions.


“I found it challenging to revisit those past experiences.”


EMDR sessions focused on the traumatic events that led to my anxieties. I found it challenging to revisit those experiences and face my fears head-on. After the sessions, it felt like my world was turned upside down, and my symptoms temporarily intensified.


“Suddenly, there’s a turning point, and you realize things are getting better.”


My default response was avoidance. By not attending therapy, I wouldn’t have to confront the issue. I would have preferred to continue living, even if it meant living with anxiety. I couldn’t believe it would ever go away. This made persistence tough. I was candid with my therapists about my reservations. Their understanding was comforting. With their support, I managed to break free from the cycle of avoidance and face my fears. After the most challenging sessions, there was a clear turning point. Things started to flow, and I noticed steady improvement. From then on, I actually looked forward to therapy.

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