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  • Dr. Dug

Case Study of BZ and OCD: Session #4

As the fourth session of Virtual Reality Exposure Therapy (VRET) approached, neither BZ nor I anticipated that it would be the final meeting in her treatment journey. She had made incredible strides in the third session; however, this fourth session was a testament to the transformative power of the mind and the potential within each of us.

"Something Shifted"

After a month-long break to allow BZ some time for at-home practice, our session began on a quieter note. BZ surprised me by saying, "I think this is going to be our last session," followed by a radiant smile. Naturally, I was intrigued and asked her to elaborate. BZ revealed, "A couple of weeks ago, I was getting ready for work, and something shifted. I can't pinpoint exactly what it was, but the ball of nervousness in my stomach had noticeably shrank. In that moment, I realized that I was done with checking before leaving home. Despite lingering nervousness and fleeting thoughts of potential disasters, I understood that these fears didn't dictate my actions - I didn't have to do anything just because I was afraid."

Let the Brain Do What It Does

We revisited the concept of brain plasticity and how our minds are constantly learning and adapting. BZ's consistency in challenging her anxious behavior had paved the way for her brain to adapt positively. By demonstrating that the new way of behaving had more benefits than drawbacks, her brain was eager to embrace this change. I praised her unwavering commitment, which had enabled her brain to recognize the path to a different, more fulfilling life.

Relapse Planning

Together, BZ and I revisited her initial treatment goals and assessed her current progress. We recognized that personal growth is seldom a linear journey; instead, it's a dynamic, winding path. It's perfectly normal for progress to slow down or even reverse momentarily. What's crucial is to acknowledge these moments and have a plan in place to realign with one's objectives. BZ identified warning signs that could indicate a potential setback, such as consistent lateness at work, and we formulated a set of simple steps to help her regain her desired course.

End of the Case

Virtual Reality Exposure Therapy (VRET) can vary in duration, contingent on the severity of symptoms, readiness for change, and the willingness to put in the effort. BZ's case, a fictional mish-mash of real cases, offers readers a glimpse into the typical trajectory of VRET treatment. It underscores the fact that we all have the ability to enact change for ourselves.

In conclusion, BZ's journey through VRET serves as a reminder that change is not only possible but often just a mental shift away. With dedication, self-awareness, and the willingness to challenge our fears, we can reshape our lives and embark on a path of self-improvement and personal growth.

Case studies provide readers with an opportunity to become familiar with Virtual Reality Exposure Therapy. Each case study will unfold over multiple articles. Future case studies will explore a variety of problems. Leave a comment if there is a specific problem or disorder of which you would like to see a case study.

Wishing everyone well! #DrDug #LittleThingsFromDrDug

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