• Case History: Laura

Case History: Laura

Laura is a teenager with a history of self-harm, panic attacks and depression.


Laura, aged 16 had a history of panic attacks, obsessive behaviour, depression and self harm.


Self harming was Laura’s way of coping with her feelings of anxiety and distress, due to specific incidents at school and home.


Our initial assessment with Laura took place over 3 sessions and involved using questionnaires. By talking to Laura and her parents we built up a detailed history of Laura’s difficulties. This included understanding how these difficulties had developed and impacted her behaviour over time. With Laura’s history of self harming, we also undertook a risk assessment and created a risk management plan.

From here we worked with Laura to identify appropriate goals to move towards, and we agreed a therapeutic plan. Laura’s plan embedded Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), and used Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR), as well as Compassion Focused Therapy.

In total we worked with Laura over 20 individual sessions.


We helped Laura to develop her skills in managing her anxiety and feelings of distress. A key part of this involved challenging negative self-beliefs and using behavioural changes to face up to fears and reduce reassurance seeking behaviours which were maintaining her anxiety. This helped increase Laura’s self confidence.


By using EMDR we supported Laura through her processing of incidents which had informed her negative self view, and were the roots of her underlying fears.


This stage concentrated on supporting Laura with the skills to develop new friendships and manage the relationship with her parents more effectively. Together we worked towards Laura taking up new and positive activities.


Our interventions with Laura ran over a 6 month period and during this time her of anxiety and depression significantly reduced- to below the clinical range. Laura stopped having panic attacks and she did not self harm during the treatment.

The influence of Laura’s obsessions on her behaviour also significantly reduced and when they are triggered by stress, Laura is now able to manage them. Overall all, Laura shared how she feels much happier, her friendships were better and she had no feelings of panic.

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