Case Study: Journey out of Depression

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Journey out of Depression:

Transformational Stages in Flower Essence Therapy

A case study by Dr. Ernesto Bolio


Sonya (a pseudonym) is a 52-year old woman who complained of severe depression. Dr. Bolio describes her family of origin as "extremely dysfunctional," with both parents having "addictive personalities." Her father was an alcoholic, and suffered from the "Casanova" complex, having 23 children with nine different women, and was married five times. At the time he fathered Sonya, he was not married to her mother, but was still married to another woman. Sonya's father was also verbally and physically abusive. Shouting and violence were common family experiences.

Her parents divorced when Sonya was six. As a divorcee with illegitimate children, her mother became an outcast in her small town, so she moved her family to Mexico City. There, her mother dealt with the stresses of her life by becoming extremely angry and violent with her children. At age 17, Sonya had reached the limit of her ability to endure this violence. She moved out of the house, along with her brothers and sisters. As the oldest child, Sonya became the main source of support for her younger siblings.

Sonya studied to be a secretary, and later a fashion designer and interior decorator. She had deep anxiety about committing to marriage and family, and especially feared being abandoned. Eventually, Sonya married a dentist, who promised to stay with her for life, and treat her to a comfortable upper middle-class lifestyle. For the next 27 years she devoted herself totally to her family, and especially to her two daughters. When her older daughter did not meet her expectations, she reacted with frustration and anger, just as her mother had done with her.

Summary of Condition Prior to Treatment

When Sonya came to Dr. Bolio he observed that her depression was so severe, "She had no interest in anything." Her physical symptoms included low energy, shaking and trembling throughout her body, heart palpitations, irregular menstrual flows, a medical history of cysts in the pancreas, liver and intestine, insomnia, constipation (since age six, when her parents divorced) and bad breath. Sonya's previous medical doctor had placed her on antidepressants and hormone therapy, which she felt had only worsened her condition and made her feel more anxious and withdrawn. At the onset of therapy with Dr. Bolio, Sonya displayed extreme suicidal feelings, profound resentment towards her mother, anger and frustration with her oldest daughter (aged 26), and poor communication with her husband.

Her report of low energy was corroborated by measurements on the Dermatron. This instrument measures meridians according to the Chinese systems of acupuncture. Sonya's initial readings yielded very low energetic readings within almost all of her physiological organs.

Dr. Bolio saw Sonya for five sessions prior to making his case study report. Below we have summarized the major essences used (sometimes combining several sessions in one description) and we have analyzed the case according to the four stages of transformation described earlier.

First stage: Release, Relaxation or Rejuvenation

In this stage, the flower essences help to relieve some of Sonya's extreme physical and emotional symptoms. At first Sonya was extremely skeptical about flower essence therapy. She felt, "either this is a joke or this Doctor is a charlatan. How the hell does he suppose I'm going to get out of this terrible state with flowers!!!"

For the first three days her symptoms worsened. She felt more depressed and suicidal, and suffered from headaches. Then she reported dramatic changes for the better.

Main flower essences used:

  • Aloe Vera for energy and revitalization.
  • Mustard for depression.
  • Cherry Plum for fear of loss of control and suicidal feelings.
  • Baby Blue Eyes and Mariposa Lily for the childhood emotional wounding from her mother and father.

Summary of changes noted:

  • Her trembling and shaking vanished.
  • She began to feel more energetic, and her Dermatron readings improved.
  • Her constipation lessened.
  • She laughed for the first time.
  • The Dermatron registered increased levels of physical energy.
  • Her depression began to lift.

Sonya arrived for her second session in a bright yellow dress (the color of the Mustard flower) and exclaimed, "These drops are wonderful!"

At this point she was feeling relief from some of her most bothersome symptoms. While the deeper issues addressed by Baby Blue Eyes and Mariposa Lily had yet to surface, the release of long-standing physical symptoms such as constipation showed they were working at a subconscious level.

Second stage: Realization and Recognition

In this stage Sonya began to draw deeper connective links about her physical condition and her emotional outlook on life.

Major new essences added:

Two key essences Black-Eyed Susan and Holly, were added at this stage which acted as catalysts to her increased emotional self-awareness.

  • Black-Eyed Susan to bring the light of consciousness into the hidden, "shadow" parts of the personality.
  • Holly for jealousy, envy and hostility. Holly is a foundational flower essence that fosters greater love and inclusiveness by addressing feelings of isolation and separation.

Summary of changes noted:

  • Sonya became aware of how her "overly sweet" personality was a way to cover her "inner monster."
  • She became aware of her anger at her mother and daughter; and aware of jealousy and lust for her neighbor's husband. She realized how these feelings grew out of her own insecurity.

Third stage: Reaction, Resistance and Reconciliation

In this stage, Sonya retrieved memories from her troubled past and brings new understanding to them. Strong emotions of grief, anger and loss were experienced, but rather than remaining stuck in these past traumas Sonya moved forward to emotional reconciliation and forgiveness with both her father and her mother.

Main flower essences used:

  • Black-Eyed Susan for awareness of hidden emotions.
  • Mariposa Lily and Baby Blue Eyes for the lack of mother-love and father-love in her childhood.
  • Golden Ear Drops (newly added) for awareness of painful childhood memories.

Her father had died ten years previously. Although she took care of him for the last four years of his life, she was not able to speak to him at the time about her feelings about his violence and abandonment of her. While working with the essences, she was able to write in her diary about her feelings towards her father that had remained buried from the past.

Summary of changes noted:

  • She was motivated to keep an extensive diary in which she recalled precise incidents from her childhood, with renewed understanding.
  • She was able to come to a point where she could inwardly forgive and accept her father.
  • Similarly, with her mother, she was able to understand her predicament with compassion and forgiveness.
  • Sonya no longer felt a knot in her stomach when she visited her mother.

As she found peace with her parents and her past, Sonya began to reexamine her present life. She realized she had neglected her younger daughter, and resolved to give her more care and attention. She came to the conclusion that her current plans for further academic study were based on a shallow need for recognition, so she decided not to go back to school. She still has troubling incidents involving resentment, or frustration with her older daughter and husband. Sonya continues to examine these feelings though she has still not come to resolution.

Fourth stage: Renewal and Reconstellation

When the case was reported, Sonya had yet to work through the final stage of finding her true identify and path in life. She was still struggling with her resentment at her daughter and husband, and while she had discarded her academic ambitions as shallow, she had yet to find an inner calling and purpose in her life. Nonetheless, she had made remarkable progress, which could serve as a strong foundation for further development.

Summary Comments:

Dr. Bolio wrote, "The improvements Sonya exhibited after five months of treatment were considerable. Her depressive state and suicidal thoughts disappeared and her energy levels increased dramatically. On the physical level, the constipation problems improved 70% and the shaking and the trembling completely vanished.

"Sonya became conscious of the importance of 'exploring the shadow' to confront negative feelings and traumas in order to transcend them. She was able to accept feelings of lust, envy and anger which she thought she did not have. She also discovered the origins of her fear of abandonment and her fear of water. In general, Sonya made many things conscious about her personality which she is now willing to address. She recognized the 'victim' role she was playing, and her need for recognition. She is also learning to establish new boundaries in her life." By the end of five sessions of flower essence therapy, Sonya's physical state of health was dramatically improved. This was reflected in her Dermatron readings which now registered optimal levels in nearly all areas.

In this case we see that flower essence therapy not only relieved many of Sonya's physical and emotional symptoms, but also stimulated new insights about herself, and opened up new possibilities for her future soul development.


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