From Panic Disorder to a Life Full of Love and Hope


Saint John's Wort


A certification case study
by Chieko Kobayashi

Editor’s Note: This is an outstanding case illustrating the soul causes of panic disorder. It also shows how the practitioner’s skill as a healer, along with the flower essences, helped to bring about the client’s stability. Utilizing Saint John's Wort, Arnica and Filaree, Chieko was able to facilitate the client's transition from the paralyzing effects of panic disorder to self-confidence and surety. The process occurred incrementally, at a pace which enabled the individual to delve deeply into the underlying causes of her condition. Bringing to light childhood issues and traumas, allowed this person to develop a healthy foundation of self-love. She was then able to engage fully in her present life. This account has been edited and condensed from the original case presentation.

Overview and background information

Major changes observed

Healing plans and goals

The therapeutic process
Healing the past and shedding light on the darkness of her soul
Releasing the trauma resulting from frightening experiences
Learning self-respect and the development of the will
Transformation of the soul from response and resistance to harmony
Developing a foundation for the future
Moving forward toward revival and rebuilding
A fresh new start with love and hope

Overview and background information

Four years ago, H.K. suddenly began to experience palpitations and shortness of breath. Because the symptoms occurred abruptly, she gradually became afraid of driving a car or being by herself. Since her job of providing home-based nursing care services required that she drive a car, she decided to quit. She visited a psychiatrist and was diagnosed with panic disorder. She reported that she has long been afraid of tunnels or dark, constricted places. As a child, she was scolded severely by her mother and was locked up in a closet several times or chased out of the house through a window. While growing up, H.K. always felt that her parents were fond only of her older and younger sisters, and were strict only with her. It became clear that because of these experiences, H.K.'s “inner child” remained deeply hurt.

Having been diagnosed with panic disorder, she felt as though she was no longer a good person and that she was useless. She thought that nobody understood her distress. She became engaged in May 2004 with her boyfriend of five years. However because of her illness, H.K. worried about her future and could not decide to get married. Another reason was that her fiancé had no understanding whatsoever of her illness. She herself gave up explaining it to him, thinking that he would not understand anyway. She took tranquilizers and sleeping pills prescribed by a psychiatrist. She felt guilty about taking medication and thought that she had gotten weaker after starting to go to a psychiatrist.

Each time she felt overwhelmed with anxieties, H.K. told herself that she was “no good” and “useless.” While she was desperately looking for something that would help her, she learned about my counseling room and came in contact with flower essences.

While undergoing flower essence therapy with me, she phoned me several times in the middle of the night for help. She explained that, whenever a feeling of fear arose, she felt as if she was trapped like an ant-lion not being able to come out of its hole. While in elementary school, a close friend of hers died in a traffic accident, so she had decided to live for her also. So dying was the last thing H.K. wanted to do.

Major changes observed

Prior to flower essence therapy, H.K. used to live thinking only about eliminating her panic disorder. However, she became able to think about how she could live with the disorder.

Although she gave up explaining her feelings to her fiancé, thinking that he would not understand anyway, she became able to tell him how she felt. As a result he, too, changed to become more caring and understanding of H.K.

Although she used to think that her parents, especially her mother, were only fond of her older and younger sisters, she realized that they were concerned about her also. She is now able to feel thankful for them.

She learned to respect herself. She began doing things she had wanted to do but could not because of fear, and became confident after realizing that she was able to do them.


Healing plans and goals

The goal which I proposed initially was for her to not overly focus on eliminating panic disorder, but accept herself just as she was, panic disorder and all, and live with this condition. She convinced herself that she was no good because she was ill. These words, "no good," restricted H.K.'s activities and actions. She increasingly isolated herself from the outside world.

I felt that H.K. needed an essence that would enable her to first accept herself, and become aware that there was a meaning to being born to this world and that it was important to live her life with her physical body.

I set the goal of searching for activities that H.K. would want to do, after she achieved the goal of "accepting herself." H.K. was an active woman before her panic disorder emerged. The energy of "will" is created as one works toward things he or she wants to do. And I felt that with such energy of will, the positive qualities that H.K. has, such as the ability to take action, strength, and courage, will be revived in her body to promote the process of transformation, and ultimately lead to the growth of her soul.

Between these intermediate goals, I felt that more detailed goals would no doubt emerge:

  • How should she deal with the drugs currently prescribed by a psychiatrist? Can she eventually discontinue them?
  • How can she mend the relationship with her mother and heal her inner child?
  • Will she be able to discuss partnership with her fiancé and eventually decide to get married?

Based on her desires, I set her long-term goal as resuming her work of supporting the elderly.


The therapeutic process

Session 1 – Healing the past and shedding light on the darkness of her soul

Starting with the initial session, I chose Saint John's Wort and Arnica. This was because I felt that H.K. needed essences that would shed light on the darkness in her mind, her soul and her body, which was apparent by the fact that she could not enter a tunnel or dark, confined places, that she was afraid to be alone at night but was also extremely fearful when morning came and a new day started. I felt that Saint John's Wort's light would support her efforts to connect herself strongly with this earth, and support the growth of her body, spirit and soul.

I instructed her to use Saint John's Wort every day and take Arnica whenever panic disorder symptoms appeared or when she became engulfed by fear or anxieties. The Flower Essence Repertory describes Arnica as an essence that helps heal a person whose past mental and physical shock and trauma has become buried deep inside his or her body, preventing that person's complete recovery. Reading that, I realized that her current symptoms manifested in the form of fear of the dark, and were linked to her past experience of being locked up inside a dark closet whenever she was scolded as a child.

During conversations with H.K., the term "therapeutic medicine of light" came to my mind. I recalled that it was none other than Saint John's Wort, so I did some research, and became convinced that it was a perfect essence for her. I showed the picture of Saint John's Wort to H.K. and found that yellow has always been her favorite color. However she realized that recently, she had been wearing just dark-colored clothes such as gray and black. I felt that Saint John's Wort would improve her yin yang balance.


Session 2: Releasing the trauma resulting from frightening experiences

H.K. told me that she felt substantially calmer just by holding the flower essences. When she absolutely had to go through a tunnel while driving a car, she held Arnica's essence bottle tightly in her hand, and was able to pass through it. This episode confirmed for me that Arnica had resonated well with her energy. Thanks to Arnica's energy, H.K. recalled her fearful experiences as a little girl. She tried to remember when it was that she began to take on the habit of holding onto negative thoughts and recalled a frightening experience during elementary school. A friend told her that whenever there was something she hated, she would create a straw doll and curse it. The story made H.K. afraid that she, too, would become cursed one day. She said that whenever she got into a fight with a friend, she would tremble throughout the night, thinking that something bad would happen to her. With the help of Arnica essence, her past trauma had come to the surface. By having H.K. recall these incidents again, I felt the negative energy inside her was being released. Meanwhile, H.K. began living with her fiancé.

Before coming to the session, H.K. was convinced that she should not tell, even to her family, how distressed she was, or how much agony she was experiencing. As she continued to take flower essences, however, she gradually became able to confide her feelings, first to her older sister, and learned that the sister was concerned about her. After realizing that it was okay to show her weaknesses, she looked around her family and learned that her father too, was worried about her. I felt that the door to H.K.'s heart that had been closed until now was slowly opening up.

In this session, we utilized art therapy. I asked her to draw her present self. The comment to me she made in regard to her picture was, "I am about to be buried in something that resembles a dark, black ant-lion or something similar. But for some reason, amid the color black, I am red." Red is the color of vitality, and the color of the first chakra. When asked if she had the will to live, H.K. said, "Yes, I want to live. I absolutely don't want to die." I felt that she was saying these words not to me but to her own body and soul. Her assessment of this art therapy was that she felt somewhat relieved after being able to freely draw things that were inside her heart.

H.K. wrote on her drawing:
"I'm getting buried inside a place that is pitch dark, like inside an ant-lion. I cannot emerge. But for some reason, only I am red amid total darkness."

Although H.K. began living with her fiancé, she was made to confront the fact that he did not show any attitude of trying to understand her illness. She complained to me that since he had never experienced panic disorders, he would never understand what it was like to fall in a state whereby one wished to do something but could not. She felt that it was useless to explain to him. Through counseling, I conveyed to H.K. that she needed to show, little by little, the will and action to help him understand. So the task became to try to practice this, with the support of flower essences.

From the session, I learned that H.K. had begun the process of the transformation of her soul and began making physical adjustments. I felt that as she continued to where her body, mind and soul perceive the self and confront their dark (yin) side, the light of Saint John's Wort would provide an extremely important support. I also felt that she would need to confront her trauma brought about by her mother. To do this, she would require Arnica. So, I decided to prescribe both these essences again, to encourage the growth cycle.


Session 3: Learning self-respect and the development of the will

H.K. was re-experiencing within her the relationship she had with her mother as well as her childhood traumas that were some of the causes for her panic disorder. I found that these were the effects of Arnica. She remembered in detail how her mother was strict with her and not with the other daughters, and how this had made her sad. Having the client acknowledge his or her past injuries will focus on the dark side, hidden deep inside the problem. From here, the client can proceed to the next process, of shedding light on that darkness. H.K. began working on the healing process associated with her relationship with her mother.

She reported that she argued with her fiancé. Before, H.K. could not say what she felt, being afraid what her fiancé might think. However, when they began arguing this time, she was able to tell him that it was painful for her to be with someone who did not approve of her. H.K. told me that the essences helped accomplish this. With the support of Saint John's Wort, she had shed light on her will, and learned to respect herself.

After starting to live with her fiancé, she began seeing things that she could not see until now. A new problem emerged: what sort of a relationship would she build from here on? H.K. told me that she would think carefully if she would continue living together and confront her partner, or dissolve the engagement and return home.

Up to now, I allowed her to take Arnica whenever she felt it was necessary. Beginning with this cycle, however, I instructed her to take it 2 to 4 times a day, along with Saint John's Wort.


Session 4: Transformation of the soul from response and resistance to harmony  

Due to fear, H.K. cancelled a series of appointments. I felt that this represented further transformation of the soul. When I met her for the first time after two months, I was shocked to see her ghastly-pale complexion; she resembled a ghost. Positive qualities that had emerged up to the previous cycle were nowhere to be seen, and negative energy dominated H.K.

H.K. complained to me that she could not sleep soundly because she was afraid that once she fell asleep, she would never arouse from it. She felt herself totally confused, trapped in the feeling of "What should I do? What can I do?" and not being able to emerge out of it. However, she told me that there were times when she perceived telling herself that she did not want to remain like this. I felt that this psychological polarity represented an awareness crisis. Clearly, Saint John's Wort and Arnica made H.K. access the dark side of her soul, deep inside, and since this was brought to the surface, her condition appeared to have worsened.

A change was occurring in her relationship with her fiancé. Since she had continued to argue with him, she temporarily returned home. They both learned about the meaning of not having each other close by. He looked back on his attitudes and words, and decided that he, too, would change. So he proposed that they try living together again. Although H.K. worried the same thing would be repeated, she chose to live with him again. The backdrop to this decision was the revelation that her parents were concerned about her more than she realized. In returning home, H.K. told me that she had a nice, long talk with her parents. They reassured her that she could stay home if she wanted. I felt that, since the stubborn wall that H.K. had formed with her parents (especially with her mother), was eliminated because of Saint John's Wort and Arnica, the energy of exchange (love) began flowing between them.

This cycle was a very difficult one for her, both physically and mentally. However, I perceived that H.K. was proceeding steadily along the process of the transformation of her soul—from response and resistance, to harmony.

H.K. became aware that she wished to have a baby in the future. However, she herself knew that she could never get pregnant if she continued to take medication. She was very anxious to let go of her tranquilizers at that point. A new task emerged to fulfill her goal of having a baby and determine what to do about receiving psychiatric treatment and taking medications.

For the subsequent cycle, I decided to have her use Filaree for a brief period. The essences she had used until now—namely, Saint John's Wort and Arnica—provided support for the changes and evolutions related to her past incidents and traumas. This session revealed that once H.K. fell into an anxiety pattern, she spent the majority of the day being dominated by that anxiety. Filaree's essence can encourage a person to "direct his or her psychological and physical energy to truly productive works," so I felt that this was an element necessary to promote her process of the transformation of her soul even more smoothly.

The formula of essences I chose included Saint John's Wort, Filaree and Arnica. Saint John's Wort provides light to H.K.'s soul to help guide her into the future; Filaree is an essence she currently needs; and Arnica heals her past self.


Session 5: Developing a foundation for the future

As a result of using Filaree and despite sometimes feeling fearful, H.K. had managed to initiate actions. Feeling that if she stayed at home all day long she was liable to have negative thought patterns, she went to a job interview. She explained honestly to the interviewer that she had a panic disorder and failed to get the job. This greatly disappointed H.K. and she felt depressed. However, whereas before it took some time for her to bounce back, this time, she was able to switch her mind quickly, thinking that she only needed to look for a job that would accept her more readily. I felt that this was manifestation of the qualities of Filaree during times of harmony, or the ability to look at daily events from a cosmic perspective.

Using Arnica, H.K. realized that her envy of other people stemmed from the emotions that she had held toward her sisters during childhood. H.K. continued to heal her past, saying that she now noticed that her parents thought fondly of her and respected her.

One effect of Saint John's Wort was that although she could not previously make up her mind to get married because of anxiety about her illness, she decided to get married three months later.

All the effects that appeared were not necessarily positive. Whenever she was about to be engulfed by anxieties or fear, H.K. phoned me several times during the night. It appeared that she wanted someone to reassure her that it was alright. Being called in the middle of the night, I could only recommend her to take the essences. However, these phone calls made me reexamine how the sessions should be conducted. I felt that I should support her but not allow her to depend on me. Just as I was considering how I should convey my policy to H.K. at the session, she told me herself how she felt secure after calling me, but that she should be able to overcome her problems by herself. I felt that the three formulas I had established in the previous session continued to be of importance, so I decided to prescribe the same essences.


Session 6: Moving forward toward revival and rebuilding

H.K. no longer phoned me in the middle of the night. We had set a goal the last time in regard to becoming able to overcome problems by herself and that was fostered by an experience with a friend. A girlfriend called H.K. at 5 o'clock in the morning, because of some misunderstanding she had had with someone. Because H.K. was asleep, she felt very upset and became angry. However, she realized that she too, may have caused the same kind of disturbance herself. She reported to me that she has been taking the essences and is working hard, without phoning me even when stricken with anxiety. I could see that with the use of flower essences, her spirituality had become enhanced.

H.K. said that she was able to fully accept the fact that her mother worried about her or was looking after her, telling me how a feeling of gratitude has been growing recently. She said that, although she was hurt when she was a small child, she became aware that she is what she is today because of such (difficult) experiences. Her inner child was healed because of Arnica.

With the combination of Saint John's Wort and Arnica, she became able to enter a tunnel which she could not before. I believed that the reason for not being able to enter dark places or a tunnel was that she had been locked up in a closet when being scolded during her childhood. However, H.K. was able to overcome this phobia because her inner child had been healed, and because of the light provided by Saint John's Wort.

The important event that took place during this cycle was that a friend of her fiancé had committed suicide. H.K. did not know what to say to her depressed fiancé, and she, too, became dominated by negative energy. With "death" becoming familiar to her, she, too, was drawn to the allure of death. When she told her fiancé that she had wanted to die, he scolded her, telling her to think about how that would make people around her sad. His words, that he must overcome his friend's death, struck her heart, and H.K. became even more determined to deepen her partnership with him.

Filaree had provided numerous awarenesses for H.K., so I decided to quit using it at this point. I felt that her soul was steadily moving forward toward revival and rebuilding. I felt that all she needed to do was to allow herself to experience many things and to savor them by herself. To make this possible, she requires grounding. I have decided to allow her to use Saint John's Wort in a concentrated manner, because the essence helps grounding while opening up a person's spirituality and awareness. Since she told me that she was still anxious about letting go of Arnica entirely, I decided to let her use it as needed.


Session 7: A fresh new start with love and hope

Upon arriving at my office, H.K. had sparkling eyes and expressed, with all her body, her energy to start talking immediately. She said that she had been unable all this time to perceive the meaning of the phrase "loving oneself,” which I had spoken of at our initial session together. After the last session, she thought of all the things she had wanted to allow herself to do and went ahead with them as much as she could. Although she felt anxious, she gained confidence. She realized that if she spent her days enjoying things, positive people gathered around her. H.K. suddenly learned that this was what "loving myself' was all about. If she began loving herself, other people began coming to her for advice, or made her realize that she was needed, making her extremely happy as a result. I felt that thanks to Saint John's Wort, H.K. has her feet firmly on the ground and is enjoying living in the present.

H.K. herself suggested that if she were to draw a picture of herself now, it would be a completely different picture. Since I too, was interested, I asked her to draw a picture. What she drew was a large heart. Unlike the dark, gloomy picture she drew at the beginning of the sessions, this drawing was full of love and hope. I was made aware that being able to visually confirm the effects of flower essences was a wonderful experience both to the client and the therapist.

"The large pink heart shows everybody. I realize that I was being supported by everybody. I cannot live by myself. But when I was in pain and distress, I was unable to realize this simple fact. The red heart inside the pink heart is me. Red is my vitality. Yellow is shining force. I used an orange polka dot to show my goal. This shows my hopes and dreams. I want to live, making other people cheerful and happy. Light blue shows a calm peaceful world. I want to live my life there."

Now that many people have begun coming to her to discuss their problems, H.K. decided that she wanted to help people more from now on. She created a new goal for herself "I want to work as a nursing care service provider. I want to help old men and women who had worked hard all their lives. This may take a long time, but I want to realize this goal," she said.

H.K. decided to get married. To make a fresh new start from there, she told me that she wanted the continued support of Saint John's Wort. I felt that Saint John's Wort, which sheds light on one's awareness, would also provide the awareness that helps foster her consciousness of transformation.

About Chieko Kobayashi:

Chieko Kobayashi is an Energy Chakra Therapist, Counselor, and does Seifushi (a type of Chinese bodywork). She opened her own counseling room, Pule Cool C., in Yamanashi Prefecture in Japan in 2001. Her therapy addresses the scope of body, mind, and spirit of her clients. Chieko experienced herself a deep healing process with Rosemary flower essence and this experience lead her to become a flower essence therapist. She attended the FES Intensive Training in Japan in 2004 and completed her certification process in 2005.


[ About FES | Online Repertory |Class Offerings | Research & Case Studies | Interviews and Articles]
[ What's New | Publications | Membership | Find a Practitioner | Members' Pages | Home ]


P.O. Box 459, Nevada City, CA  95959
800-736-9222 (US & Canada)
tel: 530-265-9163

Copyright © by the Flower Essence Society.
All rights reserved.