JK is a 45 year old married male, father of two children who began working with me in the summer of 2013. He presented with a history of alcohol abuse and anxiety. While he initially was seeking support for sobriety, our work shifted to targeting core emotional issues that had been causing him to be stuck.
Due to issues rooted in his past, JK has been highly critical of himself and struggles with perfectionism. Through our work together, he has found that these issues often get in the way of his ability to be present and enjoy life. In his work life, his strive to be perfect can get in the way of meeting deadlines and increase his feeling of being overburdened with stress.
JK has a high IQ and had found that his intellect was a comfortable place for him to reside. While this greatly helped him succeed in his career, it had disconnected him from his emotions.
Through the use of mindfulness meditation and grounding techniques, our work has helped him connect with emotions, including issues of unresolved anger. Through mind/body/spirit approach we were able to target issues of anxiety through the use of mindful awareness of the use of breath to calm the nervous system. His anxiety decreased as he began to use mindfulness both formally and informally in his life.
By cultivating mindful attention to how his diet was affecting him, he was able to notice that sugar had become a coping mechanism for stress. He began to focus on decreasing his sugar intake, particularly at night, which helped him sleep more soundly and decreased anxiety. He also worked on decreasing intake of coffee which he noticed helped him become less anxious and emotionally reactive.
JK decided to incorporate a weekly yoga class with a teacher that had a strong foundation in the connection between the mind/body/spirit as well as returning to tai chi and martial arts. Incorporating these mindfulness practices with an AA meeting helped him begin to formulate a spiritual belief that resonated with him.
In sessions, JK was able to access emotions more fluidly and practice compassion for the parts of himself, such as his perfectionism, that are connected to his past trauma.
Throughout JK’s work with me, he was able to significantly cut down his use of medications without any side effects. His decrease in meditations coincided with his increased ability to access emotions and begin his road of healing.
As JK felt less anxious, he was able to set a better pace with himself at work. He began to notice how his level of perfectionism had been slowing him down and making meeting deadlines more difficult. He began to put less pressure on himself which actually helped him become more productive on the job.
We continue to work on issues of connecting with emotions and finding compassion for the part of himself that strives towards perfection. In this way, our work benefits him both personally and professionally.
“I’ve been working with Stephanie for over three years in order to address my alcoholism. Most therapists and psychiatrists I’ve worked with in the past have a very clinical approach, with a particular focus on medication as a full solution. Stephanie’s method is much more holistic, incorporating mindfulness, meditation, and yoga— methods which illicit a greater understand of self. For me, her practice has been extremely effective at addressing my addiction, reaching beyond the medical side of my alcoholism, and into the emotional basis for my turning to drink in the first place. I’m very grateful for having the opportunity to work with her.”
J.K. – Cambridge, MA