Stella's Obsessive Personality Style

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Stella (pseudonym) is a Caucasian female in her late thirties. She is with a mother, three sisters, and her father who passed away two years ago. She is single and lives with two roommates. She has been working as a graphic designer for six years. Stella spoke in a low tone but was coherent and was able to articulate her thoughts and feelings. Her dress was clean and appropriate, and her hair was tidy. She does not have a history of drug or alcohol abuse, hospitalization, medication, or self-harm ideation.
Presenting problems
The client came to therapy to seek help for her anxiety which involves physical symptoms. When she feels anxious, she feels tightness in her chest and has difficulty breathing. She mentioned that she has a lot of thoughts
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The sense of “should” and “have to” allows people with obsessive styles to be unable to escape. The obsessives’ superego is described as inadequately integrated, harsh (Shapiro, 1965). In addition, as described in the Presenting Problems, client’s ways of thinking, perceiving, and experiencing emotions are consistent with the obsessive personality style. Shapiro (1965) characterized the obsessive style by its rigidity, mode of activity and distortion of experience of autonomy, and its loss of reality. People with obsessive personality style are rigid in their thought process; their attentions are intensive and sharply focused. They are overly aware of their roles and struggle to follow the “right” way. The mode of activity is deliberating, trying to, and making efforts rather than deciding (Shapiro, 1965). The client is excessively concerned for her mother. Throughout the session, she expressed strong anxiety about her mother. Her intense focus on her mother could be considered as one of the characteristics of the obsessive style. Also, Stella immoderately plays the role of a daughter. She believes she “has to” support her mother, not only providing financial support, but also being involved in her mother’s daily life, such as buying groceries for her. The client is aware that she should take care of herself; however, she does not do any self-care activity. During the free time, she reads books to educate …show more content…
The client’s harsh superego that requires dedication toward her mother, and the id which wants to stop working, engender a conflict. Hence, her ego employs a defense mechanism of undoing and displacement. Displacement allows a person to switch unconscious desires to more acceptable ways in order to disguise unpleasant affect (Langer, 2016). Stella keeps things tidy and pulls her hair as a coping strategy; it helps her to remove anxious feelings. Her roommates cooperate to arrange the common areas, but she mentioned that if they do not organize things, Stella does it by herself. She is very obsessed with arranging everything to be neat and tidy. This shows that she conceals her unpleasant affect from work and mother by focusing on checking and organizing things tidily, the perfect illustration of

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