A week later, I saw Andrea again. I was glad that she came for a second session.
I took this as meaning that I hadn’t messed up too badly during the first session.
Fortunately, I had a daughter in the same grade as Andrea, so I had some idea of the academic and social challenges faced by eighth grade girls.
After the first session with Andrea and her mother, I was almost certain Andrea’s stomach aches were related to anxiety.
My first clue here was that Andrea’s stomach aches were worse on Sunday nights and Monday mornings—and were less severe towards the end of the week,
Stomach aches also began to disappear by midday, when she occasionally agreed to go to school.
None the less, not only as a counselor-in training, but also as a mom, I knew medical conditions—as well as emotions conditions—could cause stomach aches.
I certainly didn’t want to overlook a medical issue.
I began the second session by meeting with both Andrea and her mother. I asked them to have their family doctor check to see if there was a medical cause for her stomach aches.
An anxious frown shrouded Andrea’s face when I mentioned a doctor visit, but she reluctantly agreed to have her mother set up an appointment.
I spend the second part of the session with just Andrea. She’d already missed almost three weeks of school.
I knew the longer Andrea stayed home from school, the harder it would be for her to go return.
What would make it easier for her to return to school?
And what was behind her school phobia?