From feeling low, struggling day to day to feeling capable, confident and doing so much more.

An 18 year old student overcame her anxiety, depression, PTSD and negative talk. She became capable, confident and able to cycle again.

From feeling low, struggling day to day to feeling capable, confident and doing so much more.

Posted by Yvonne Fernando on

The challenge

This case study has been written up together with my client and with their approval. To protect their confidentiality, I will refer to my client as J.

J, an 18 year old student was suffering from anxiety and slight depression. She was struggling to do normal day to day things. She was also suffering from PTSD from a cycling accident with a car.

She had tried 3 different counsellors, CBT, a 6 week mental health course and been prescribed medication before coming to see me.

The effect

J wasn't able to do as much as she would have liked. Simple things like getting up, washing her hair were a real chore and going to school became a lot harder.

She felt really low, and as a result of not being able to do things had a really low opinion of herself. She didn't know how she was going to get to a point where life was going to be easier and do-able again.

As a result of the cycling accident, she didn't like walking round cars, she couldn't go cycling and would be in tears if she sat in the front seat of a car and needed a distraction if in the back. J had been told that she would have to learn to live with this and to avoid provoking the feelings. But J felt she needed to talk about it and the traumatic and uncomfortable things and get a handle on it.

When she came to see me she was heavily slumped over. It was painful to sit upright. She felt part of her identity had been taken away. She had done 8-9 years of ballet and now believed her posture would always be bad.  


We started to look at how J wanted to be and what she wanted and I explained what was happening with the PTSD and how we could change it. I created the space for her to talk about things at her own pace and we worked with things when she was ready. J says she quickly realised it was working - and didn't feel she needed to know why.

The rapport between us was good and it helped her be honest and say whatever came into her head, regardless of what I thought. J also really enjoyed the presence of my dog which helped her notice what she was wanting to say and helped her really to notice things.

Sessions were done conversationally and using different NLP and coaching techniques. As J was very visual, we worked with different visualisation exercises and an NLP exercise that changed her recollection of the accident and visualised her going out cycling again. I also gave her things to journal on as homework.

We also changed her negative language to positive. J says she found that very helpful.


J came off her medication soon after a few sessions.

She now meditates and cycles every day. Before she would have felt like crying just seeing a car. She now has good posture again and can sit tall and upright.

She is able to check in with herself and her feelings, has more awareness and prioritises good habits like meditation, gratitude, and doing something creative which she discovered is necessary for her. She's also getting better at having boundaries at home.

J uses positive language and is more honest with how she is and comfortable enough to sit with uncomfortable feelings if they come up. She now has an inquisitive approach rather than being scared.

J says the work we did impacted her hugely, positively. She can do so much more, is more capable and more confident. It's all been powerful. She had been repressing a lot and now has the power to express herself. It was hard for a while, but she was ready for transformation. She is now doing more than her goals...and more than she ever expected.

With COVID that's really been tested; she's been great and been able to address things that she needed to.

Yvonne Fernando
Yvonne Fernando

Yvonne Fernando is a certified NLP Master Practitioner & Life Coach who works with adults, children and organisations to help them make positive change.