Therapy helps Emily transform her mental health

Introduction: Emily, a transgender woman, has been supported by Moving On for nearly one year. In our time of working together, we have worked on person-centred therapy. Emily was struggling with the complexities of her identity whilst facing mental health challenges. Emily had anxiety, depression, issues with substance use and had a previous diagnosis of borderline personality disorder. She also lacked meaningful connections in the community.

Moving On’s intervention: our journey began focusing on creating a safe and non-judgmental space. We delved into causes of Emily’s unhappiness, most of which were rooted in childhood trauma. Through using inner child work, Emily came to realise that what happened was not her fault, and we then utilised interventions to help her change her attitudes and behaviour. This ‘therapeutic re-parenting’ is still on-going and allows Emily a deeper understanding of herself. The complexities of this identity and the impact that growing up as a boy has had on Emily is profound, and we continue to work through this to help her establish her identity as a woman.

Emily had also been struggling with her house conditions, which not only affected her physical surroundings but also took a toll on her mental well-being as she rarely left the house.  Together, we have been able to establish achievable goals for Emily’s.

Mindfulness techniques:  we’ve implemented mindfulness practices which have helped Emily stay present in the moment, reducing anxiety and risk of disassociation after heavy session. This work was possibly the most challenging but it has laid the foundations for a successful therapeutic relationship.

Emotional processing: we’ve worked through the emotional attachments to certain people, events, and items in her life. Emily’s mood is now significant more stable through using a DBT ‘wise mind’ approach. She reports lowered levels of suicidal ideation and additionally her self-harm has decreased.

Routine establishment: we’ve developed a routine incorporating small tasks related to housekeeping and socialising.

Progress and Outcomes: Emily has made remarkable progress. The transformation of her home mirrored the internal changes she was experiencing. She has been able to maintain a reasonable living standard.

Emily’s self-harm has decreased in frequency and severity and she has not self-harmed in several months. Emily’s use of substances, particularly cannabis, has decreased. Emily has had a significant improvement in her overall mental well-being, expressing feelings of pride and accomplishment. She is also a lot more emotionally stable.

She is also on a waiting list for gender reassignment and autism assessments. Emily had demonstrated an interest in going back to university, which further cements her readiness to establish routine, maintain her emotional stability, and achieve her goals.

By addressing both the external and internal aspects of her life, we were able to empower Emily to explore her true self, fostering a sense of pride, trust, and belonging.  This case study highlights the transformative impact therapeutic interventions can have on someone’s life.

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