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Posted: 22nd December 2023

Case Study: Sarah

York Mind Adult Counselling Service - Case Study 

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Sarah, aged 27, referred herself to York Mind following a conversation with her GP. She was living in a shared house which she found difficult as the people she lived with were messy and different from her. The referral highlighted that she had a complex childhood and no longer had contact with her parents, resulting in feelings of resentment towards them. She found it difficult to speak to her friends or to form trusting relationships with people. She found her recent ADHD diagnosis had helped her make sense of many things in her life and she was seeking counselling to process her past, hoping to eventually move forward with greater knowledge and awareness about herself.

The Counselling

Initially the work was challenging, and Sarah struggled to build a relationship with the counsellor due to her history of finding it hard to form trusting relationships. She wondered whether she would be able to attend all 16 sessions. In session 4 she expressed concerns about how she would know she had achieved her goals, but after a discussion with the counsellor, she felt supported in continuing to work towards them.

In session 8 Sarah acknowledged that she needed to work on “self-acceptance” and felt confident that her counsellor could support her with this in the remaining sessions. Despite her uncertainties about sharing the events of her past, the sessions progressed with her attending every week. Her increasing engagement became visible to the counsellor as Sarah began to speak in more depth about her history. As the counselling relationship developed, it became apparent that Sarah’s anxiety was decreasing, and she was willing to explore new ways to think about events from the past. She also began to have a more positive outlook. 


Towards the end of the counselling Sarah described herself as “still a bit scared but more settled”, explaining that she was now able to talk to her friends rather than “bottling everything up” on her own. She felt “proud” of her 100% session attendance and recognised that going back to work after being signed off was a very positive achievement. At the end of the final session Sarah expressed that she was “now able to process her past” through being given the space to speak about what she had been through.  

At the start of the work Sarah had set herself 3 goals, all of which she exceeded. These were, “reframing how I feel about myself and others”, “having a more positive outlook” and “greater self-acceptance”. In her feedback, she shared that her confidence and level of happiness had improved, describing herself as “less critical of myself”. Moving forward Sarah said she, “would not dwell on what may or may not happen in the future” but would focus on “appreciating the present”.

You find out more about our services here at York Mind here.

Winter Appeal

If you would like to support our services this Winter so that we can help more people like Sarah, please consider donating to our Winter Appeal here. Every donation no matter how big or small has a huge impact on our services.

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