How Jane Learned to Devalue Irrational Thoughts

A few days ago a client told me of an episode of anxiety she experienced in the prior week and how she responded to it and succeeded in eliminating it. Her story was so compelling I asked her to repeat the story after our session into her phone so I could post it for the benefit of others as an impressive example of effective use of the 1-2-3 method. The entire episode from onset of symptoms to resolution was brief which can give much needed hope to others who also struggle with anxiety. The following is the exact transcript of her recording:

Hi Dr. Pravel, it’s Jane here. I’m going to tell you the story about what happened to me on Monday night: I sat down to watch a T.V. show. I was kind of looking forward to watching and relaxing. All of a sudden, I started getting this shooting pain that was running down the back of my head. I don’t ever remember it happening before and it was making me really anxious. I didn’t know what it was and it seemed to be going on for a long time, especially since I was focusing on it a lot. As it intensified, I was getting more and more anxious about. At one point, I got up and ran to my room and I was like, “I don’t know what’s going on!” You know, it hurt so bad every couple of seconds it would happen again. Every time it happened, it seemed like it was getting worse. I didn’t know what to do. I started having all these different anxious thoughts, thinking that I’d have to go to the hospital and all the possible scenarios, asking myself, “Why does this keep happening?” And thinking “I’ve never felt this way before and I can’t figure out why.. it’s so strange.” So, I went back into the room where Johns was and I told him I didn’t know what to do. It was getting crazy, so John reminded me that I was supposed to use the one, two, three method. In the moment of panic, I forgot to do that so I was like, “OK, I’m going to do that.” I remembered that you told me that I should do it out loud the next time and I felt panic come over me. I recognized that these were just thoughts and devaluated them by acknowledging that these were just interesting thoughts that I was coming up with. Then I realized it could be because I had slept on a bad pillow a couple nights before that kept coming up with. Then I realized it could be because I had slept on a bad pillow a couple of nights before thatkep my neck down and it hurt, so I thought, “OK, you know.. it could be my neck hurting and also life and stress counts..” I sent back to work that same week and I had a stressful week and I’m not on top of it and I just thought, “you know, it’s maybe all of those things combined that created this problem and I was just making it worse because I was getting anxious about it, even though it probably started from stressful things in the first place. And the I was able to distract myself. John game me a message, we watched a show together and then I was totally fine. I seemed to feel better so much quicker than usual and it just really helped me come back down to reality, especially saying it out loud for some reason, it really clicked in my head and it made total sense when I said it out loud. It could very well have been from those things that I mentioned. I think saying it out loud helped me to realize what the actual reality of what it is. Even while it was happening, I was trying to think of what else it could be, but but it didn’t have the same effect as when I did it out loud, which definitely seemed to make it go away much quicker. It calmed me down being able to have more rational thoughts about what was happening after doing the one, to, three method out loud.

I hope this helps.. I hope it wasn’t too mumblie and thank you again. I’ll see you next week. Thank you! Bye!