The case that we present to you is that of Valéria, 48 years old; she works in a department that is shrinking and where the workload is decreasing due to the progressive digitization of tasks. After a few repetitive but short-term work stoppages, this time she is off work for 1 month but with no real visibility as to her return, and on anti-depressants.   

When we see her in consultation, she is very anxious, with the urgency displayed to get better.

His dilemma is: "Staying at home is impossible, going back to work is unbearable."

Staying at home seems impossible to her because she sees herself as an active person, and returning to work is unbearable because she is afraid of "going back to death row" as she says, of being mistreated by her superior. hierarchical, to incur the derogatory comments of his colleagues and sometimes even to come up against their sexist behavior.........

She is ashamed to see her colleagues again, to have fallen so low; she feels powerless to find a solution acceptable to her.

When we meet Valeria, she is a weakened combative warrior; she cries because she can't act. She is caught between rage and shame at what is happening to her. What affects her the most is being helpless.

Solution attempts 

At work ; she reacts by denouncing what is wrong, in particular the shortcomings that she observes on the part of her hierarchical superior. She forces herself to do what from her point of view has not been done. The tone rises, he mocks his fighting spirit. She is now perceived as unbearable and finds herself knocked out at home. unacceptable situation for Valéria. We are therefore in a conflictual dynamic in which it is exhausted.

At home, she tries not to think about her situation but in vain. In fact, she thinks about it all the time and she measures the trap in which she finds herself. In doing so, she tends to isolate herself. She is ashamed and avoids contact.

Surroundings. The doctor trivializes (you're not the only one having problems at work, it's not that serious), his sister gives him the contact details of a therapist, who can help him, the colleagues comfort her, say to take care of her "we need you"......

All of this contributes to comforting Valéria in her feeling of powerlessness.


Diagnosis: Valéria does not know how to cope; she cannot bear her difficulties. She would like to return to work but she is afraid of not being able to do so. We must teach her to fight differently and to channel her unease which has become permanent since she has been at home.

The tool on which we rely is the "contemplation of disaster" which she must put into practice every day, with all the emotional dimensions attached to it. This is a paradoxical task, intended to reconvene the symptom, which will help it regain control.

At the same time, we encourage him to come to terms with his own limits. She has worn herself out by struggling year after year, and rest has become as necessary to her as winter is after the seasons that preceded it.

The best way to operate effectively is to go into active hibernation mode so she can better plan her return strategy. As Camus said, "in the middle of winter, I learned that there was an invincible summer within me".

Except to put herself in a Quechua tent and wait for things to happen, she realizes that she will have to face new situations; we then give him a new task called "the half hour of the worst". If she can't come back to work, she will have to imagine the worst fantasies, face her fears.

At the 5th session, she feels better. She managed to channel her discomfort. Back at work, she got the training she had longed for.

In this case, we can say that the contemplation of the disaster was the pivot of the intervention.