Joe was referred to the Butterfly and Phoenix Project via the pastoral team at his school. He was struggling with anxiety and panic attacks. He was in the final year of school and had a lot of worries regarding exams and the future. Joe described himself as being a perfectionist, often feeling overwhelmed by the expectations he had of himself, feeling like he was not good enough and putting pressure on himself to succeed.
The counsellor worked with Joe to explore some of these expectations, inviting him to challenge his own thoughts and beliefs around perfection and his own expectations. The sessions were a mix of talking and more creative exercises. The counsellor worked with Joe to create a revision timetable leading up to his exams, inviting Joe to consider more realistic and achievable goals. Joe started to recognise the importance of self-care and time out, to allow space for the things he enjoyed as well as revision. Joe started to take part in hobbies that he had previously dismissed as not important. Throughout the sessions Joe appeared more relaxed, and described feeling less pressure to be perfect, which helped to lower his anxiety. He was supported face to face within school and sessions were also carried out by video call due to the closure of school during the coronavirus pandemic. The counsellor was still able to work therapeutically online with Joe, often using creative exercises, including exploring his anxiety and behaviour through drawing and art. Joe had a greater understanding of his own expectations and learnt strategies to help him manage these in a more productive way.
Joe described being kinder to himself and said he now communicates better with friends and family when he needs help or someone to talk to. Joe described feeling happier and more content with who he was by the final sessions and had a better understand of his anxiety. Joe was feeling more confident about the future.