Paul Cockayne – 07791 970406 – firstname.lastname@example.org
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It had been quite a journey.
My client had come to see me at time of crisis. His world had fallen apart. His wife had died a few years ago, his son had moved out to live with grandparents, he was struggling to control his anger, he was starting to drink heavily. He knew he was self-destructing. He was desperate for help.
He talked, and he cried, and he talked. He talked about his wife’s death – a road accident – and the anger he felt towards the other driver involved and the failure of the health service to save her. She had been the perfect wife, their lives together had been blissful, they had had everything. It was snatched away.
He talked about his son – a teenager – about how their relationship had deteriorated after his wife died, about how his son’s behaviour had become increasingly rebellious. About how he tried to keep his son in line by being stricter and the conflicts this caused, culminating in a fist fight, and his son going to live with his grandparents. We talked about the anger he felt towards his son for abandoning him, towards his wife’s parents for colluding with that, and even towards his wife for dying and starting the whole thing off.
He talked about his childhood – a happy time, he remembered – an ideal childhood, as he described it, until things went wrong. His mother had an affair, his father started drinking, there was a custody battle. We talked about the anger he felt towards his parents for destroying the perfect childhood.
We talked about how these things linked together. He made connections that previously he hadn’t seen. He started to understand himself differently. He started, too, to understand his son differently, thinking about his own teenage years and looking at his son’s situation through that lens.
As we talked, he slightly changed his view of his relationship with his late wife. It hadn’t been perfect, or blissful. It had been good, yes, they were happy together. But there had been problems too. He looked again at his childhood and started to see some of what had happened then in a different way. And in looking at the past differently he started to look at the present differently as well. The past had not been perfect and the present wasn’t hopeless.
He started to change the relationship with his son. They were able to talk about what had happened and understand each other better. He started to be able to control his anger. He could catch himself as his temper started to rise and do something differently. He was able to manage his drinking better, he no longer needed to blot everything out.
We had perhaps been meeting for about six months, when, suddenly, for the first time either of us could remember, he stopped talking. We looked at each other, and smiled. Then we talked about his silence. And then we started to talk about him, about what he wanted for himself, about what his future might hold. We had never done that before.
It had been quite a journey.
Details of this case have been changed to protect client confidentiality