Mindfulness Coaching & Counseling Case Study #4
Client is a 48-year-old female and clinical therapist. The client is experiencing high stress due to operating her own business. Additionally, being a woman of color, she is experiencing high anxiety due to national racial issues. Other stressors she is managing include migraines, past trauma, personal relationships and grieving her mother who passed one year prior.
The TSD Mindfulness Client Assessments were administered before the first session. Results showed high levels of the following in the “Mental Processing” category: distraction, stress, anger, shame, and doubt; in the “Flight, Fight, Freeze” category uneasiness, anxiety, and overwhelm; and in the “Grief and Trauma” category, grief. Levels ranged from 47 to 73 on a 100-point scale.
Concepts and Exercises Coached
Mindfulness Coach, Sarah Vallely, met with the client during six one-hour sessions. Vallely identified the client’s cognitive elaboration (filling in missing information with prior knowledge) was a cause of her anxiety and depression. Vallely taught the client how to identify this type of thinking and disengage from it. Additionally, Vallely coached the client in concepts about self-worth, specifically her self-
worth lies in her humanness and her difficult feelings of abandonment, betrayal and loss do not take away from her worth.
Vallely taught the client short mindfulness exercises including single-pointed-focus on sounds, breath and body sensations and loving kindness meditation. And she learned quieting techniques, such as the practice of noting. Vallely also taught the client the TSD Mindfulness exercise of Emotional Mapping, which involves tracing superficial emotions of anger, blame, and doubt to a deeper emotions of abandonment, betrayal and loss. The client also learned self-compassion affirmations for soothing her nervous system.
Based on a follow-up assessment after six sessions, the client decreased the following on a scale of 100 total points: “distraction” by 31 points, “stress” by 29 points, and “anger” by 27, “anxiety” by 18 points, and “grief” by 20 points. Any decrease of 30 or more points, is considered a significant shift and the points for each state are based on nine questions. For example, nine questions regarding “distraction” were used to create a score for distraction.
During coaching, the client learned that her sympathetic nervous system was activated frequently without her knowledge. She became aware of constricted muscles in her abdomen and feeling rushed, pressured, and hesitant. After experimenting with several exercises, she discovered the exercises with the most soothing effect on her nervous system.
During coaching, the client reduced mental exhaustion and avoided work burnout by becoming mindful of instances of cognitive elaboration and catastrophic thinking. The client now observes her cognitive elaboration as separate from herself and moves into mental rest and emotional calm. She also notes thoughts, such as “worry” and “planning” to separate herself from them.
The client also reduced mental exhaustion and avoided work burnout by becoming aware of her instances of analysis paralysis. During these moments she found herself overthinking preparing for meetings and making business decisions. She reported her single-pointed-focus and her loving kindness exercises helped her quiet her thinking, open up to spontaneous solutions, develop trust, and let go of outcomes. Now when the client is stressed about not having enough time to prepare or afraid of making a mistake she reminds herself, “I will learn something in the process. It is okay if I make a mistake.”