A physician whom she consulted could find no organic or medical basis for her physical symptoms: Counselling Case Study, OUM, Malaysia


Open University Malaysia (OUM)

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  • A physician whom she consulted could find no organic or medical basis for her
    physical symptoms and recommended personal therapy. In her words, her major symptoms are there: “I sometimes feel very panicky, especially at night when I’m trying to sleep. Sometimes I’ll wake up and find it difficult to breathe, my heart will be pounding, and I’ll break out in a cold sweat. I toss and turn trying to relax, and instead, I feel tense and worry a lot about many little things. It’s hard for me to turn off these thoughts. Then during the day I’m so tired I can hardly function, and I find that lately, I cry very easily even if minor things go wrong.”
  • She is aware that she has lived a very structured and disciplined life, that she has functioned largely by taking care of the home and the needs of her four children and her husband, and that to some degree she is no longer content with this. Yet she reports that she doesn’t know what “more than this” is. Although she would like to get more involved professionally, the thought of doing it does frighten her. She worries about her right to think and act selfishly, she fears not succeeding in the professional world, and she most of all worries about how becoming more professionally involved might threaten her family.
  • Her children range in age from 16 to 19, and all of them are now finding more of their satisfaction outside of the family and the home and are spending increasing time with their friends. Karen sees these changes and is concerned about “losing” them. She is having particular problems with her daughter Jane, and she is at a loss on how to deal with Jane’s rebellion. In general, Karen feels very much unappreciated by her children.
  • In thinking about her future, she is not sure who or what she wants to become. She would like to develop a sense of herself apart from the expectations of others. She finds herself wondering what she “should” want and what she “should” be doing. Karen does not find her relationship with her husband, Tim, at all satisfactory. He appears to be resisting her attempts to make changes and prefers that she remain as she was. But she is anxious over the prospects of challenging this relationship, fearing that if she does, she might end up alone.
  • Lately, Karen is experiencing more concern over aging and losing her “looks.” All of these factors combined have motivated for her to take the necessary steps to initiate individual therapy. Perhaps the greatest catalyst that triggered her to come for therapy is the increase in her physical symptoms and her anxiety.

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