Suzanne had early stage ovarian cancer, had surgery, and was reassured that all the cancer was taken out and that she was O.K. However, the diagnosis of cancer had frightened her a great deal. When she experienced bloating or intestinal pain she worried that her cancer had come back. She often suffered anxiety attacks thinking the was sick again.
In therapy she learned to tell her child self that it was very understandable that she was scared, but that there was no evidence that she had cancer again. She reassured the child self that if symptoms persisted she would check with her oncologist and get tests to determine whether the cancer had come back and get treatment. Suzanne learned to reassure her child self that she was not alone and she would take care of her. With these skills, Suzanne was able to calm herself down and her anxiety decreased`significantly.
As psychologists we can teach skill to manage anxiety.