Case Studies


Case Studies

These case studies are based on real life cases. The owners permission has been given but some names and some facts have been changed to protect client dentity and maintain confidentiality.

An Individual Case Study

Deborah was at the end of her first year nursing degree when she came for counselling. She was married with 3 children ranging from 2 years old to 16 years of age.

Deborah came for counselling as she was feeling low in mood and was experiencing mild panic attacks. She was also concerned about her relationship with her husband Dave who she felt had recently become cold and distant.

Deborah felt that her life had dramatically changed since she started her course. She had stopped seeing her friends, barely went out and spent minimal time with her husband and children. Through talking about her situation it came to light that Deborah had very high expectations of herself to do well and was scared that she would fail the course.

Through talking with the counsellor Deborah was able to recognise that these feeling stemmed from failing most of her exams when at school. Deborah desperately wanted to fulfil her dream of being a nurse and believed that to achieve this that she would have to put her life on hold and focus solely on the course. As a result of this she was spending every moment of her spare time studying and was literally feeling burnt out.

Through the counselling Deborah was able to discuss her fears regarding failing the course and the fear that her relationship may also fail. We also looked at the pressure she put on herself. In turn this helped her realise that she was causing herself to be stressed and that working constantly on her course work meant that she was constantly tired and not being very effective in completing her studies.

Together we organised a time table that gave her at least one day's complete rest from study and looked at how she could put breaks into her study periods. She agreed that she would spend some time with her family on her day off and meet up with friends at least once in the week. Initially she was anxious that she would not get enough studying completed but what she actually found was that when she did work she took in more information, felt much happier and that her anxiety levels and panic attacks had reduced.

Within 6 weeks of counselling Deborah was feeling much brighter in mood, happier with her home life, her university studies were going well and she no longer felt anxious.


A Couple Counselling Case Study

Dawn and Stephen had been married for 15 years and had three children aged 13, 11 and 3. They attended for couple counselling when their arguing had become too difficult for them cope with any longer. Stephen felt as if Dawn was constantly criticizing him and putting him down whereas Dawn was feeling neglected and that she was being left to deal with the house and children on her own.

The role of the counsellor was to offer a neutral supportive position to both parties where Dawn and Stephen felt that they had an open safe space to express themselves openly and be listened to by the other partner. Initial sessions were fraught with tension but as the sessions progressed Dawn and Stephen were able to recognise the patterns of how they related to each other and where this stemmed from in there upbringings.

Dawn's dad had been very critical of her as a child and for her this resulted in her being very critical of others. However when it came to expressing her feelings and thoughts Dawn found this very difficult as she thought Stephen would get angry with her as her dad used to when she was a child.

When Dawn withheld her feelings from Stephen he would sense that something was wrong, only for Dawn to deny this. This led to Stephen feeling angry and frustrated with Dawn resulting in him withdrawing from her and not wanting to speak to her days at a time.

This in turn led her to feel unloved and resulted in her being even more critical of Stephen. Stephen being able to recognise the difficulty that Dawn had in expressing herself and Dawn realising how critical she was being led to a major change in their relationship.

Over the weeks Dawn learnt to speak more openly and honestly with Stephen and Stephen in turn was able to support Dawn more effectively resulting in them arguing less and more able to resolve issues that did come up.


A Young Persons Case Study

Peter aged 11 had just started secondary school when one week into the school term he became ill and had had to have several weeks off school. When he returned to school he found it difficult to settle back into the school routine. He felt that everybody had made their group of friends in the time he had been off and as a result he often felt lonely in school.

This was also causing him to feel as if he didn't want to come into school resulting in him starting to have days off school by telling his mum he felt ill. On top of this was he experiencing some name calling by other students in his class which was starting to impact on his self esteem and confidence.

Together we looked why he thought he was being called names and why he thought he was not making new friends. We discussed why he became upset by other and how he could respond differently to those teasing him.

We used role play and set weekly exercises to help him achieve this. We also explored how he responded and behaved towards other children in his class. This helped him to realise that his shyness and lack of confidence was perceived by others as being unfriendly and that he was not interested in making friends.

We looked at ways in which he could change this. We started with him saying hello to someone once in the week and progressed over the weeks to him joining in with other class mate's conversations. We also used role play to look at how he could make friendships.

Peter was very keen on playing play station games and we incorporated his passion for this into helping him find things to talk about with other students. Over the weeks his confidence grew and he started to form friendships and felt much happier in school.



A man is but the product of his thoughts; what he thinks, he becomes”.   Mahatma Ghandi