Case Histories (true stories but names are changed)

Belinda’s Story

Belinda, a tall attractive 18 year old who could not control her tears, came to us because she was not attending college and would only go out with her Mum and Step-Dad.

During most days when her mum was out at work she would hide under her duvet.

It took three sessions before Belinda was able to be in the counselling room without her mum. She would colour pictures whilst talking to the counsellor but would often use baby-talk .

As a little girl Belinda was her father’s favourite but when he left she felt discarded, replaced and unwanted. He now lives fifty miles away and has remarried twice starting two new families. Her older brother who has always been there for her had just left home to travel on his gap year. His leaving had unconsciously re-awakened for her all the feelings around her father.

Through talking with the counsellor Belinda could see that her duvet had become the only place where she felt secure. With the help of the counsellor she began to explore ways in which she could rebuild her own sense of security. Practically, she devised ways of venturing out with friends, having agreed pick-up times with her step-dad. She started going into college for a short time each day and built up to half days and then full-time.

After only 12 weeks of counselling she told the counsellor that she was ready to stop and that she would use what “she now understood to get on with her life”.

With just 12 weeks of counselling (costing just £540) Belinda gained the insight needed to restart college…with all that would mean for her future.

Reg’s Story

Reg is an elderly gentleman who has suffered from severe depression for many years. He has been on medication which has unpleasant side-effects. He lives alone supported by carers, one of whom brings him to counselling each week – a bus journey of over an hour each way.

Counselling gives Reg an opportunity to talk about the difficulties he has in living life with depression. He told us that coming to counselling has given him the ability to recognise the difficult sides of himself and learn to live with them. Most importantly for Reg since he started counselling he has been able to halve (with his doctor’s consent) the amount of medication he is taken.

Reg describes counselling as his ‘life-line’.

Reg contributes £5.00 to the cost of his counselling with the remaining £40.00 being met by our Bursary Fund

Molly’s Story

Molly, a 13 years old female, was referred to by the statutory Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service where she was originally sent by her GP. Her parents were informed by the school that Molly was self-harming after her friends alerted the teachers what she was doing.

Molly is an only child who came to this country with her parents when she was 4. As well as self-harming she has feelings of anger and sadness and feels stressed at school and at home. As Molly and her parents were born abroad they have no other family members living in the United Kingdom; the extended family live in the US and the Far East.

Once Molly realised that the counselling sessions were for her it was like a ‘go’ button inside of her had been pressed. She talked at great length about her Mum and Dad and the difference between their culture and her newly adopted one and how she cannot understand why her parents are so judgemental. As Molly shared her story the power of her experiences, her anger and other feelings filled the room. Furthermore, it was very clear how much she was carrying on her shoulders because she spoke non-stop for nearly the entire 50 minutes.

There have been many ‘light bulb’ moments for Molly as she has unburdened herself in a safe place where she can show her true feelings. She has recognised that she has presented a different image of herself to her parents and friends – and that this has been so unhelpful for her. As she has done this her confidence in her-self has grown and is risking being truly herself with her friends. Molly feels a lot of pressure from her parents and her school to succeed and this has been overwhelming for her. She recognises the need to be ‘good enough’ for them and for herself.

Molly has not self-harmed since she has been come to counselling.

After just 7 weeks of counselling Molly is on an important journey of self-discovery and recovering her self-esteem.

This life-changing work has cost just £315.00 – a small investment which will bring such huge benefit for Molly’s life and future.

Emily’s Story

Emily is a little girl who is struggling at school – teachers are saying that she is very naughty and isn’t paying attention to her lessons. Actually school isn’t the issue but the breakup of her parent’s relationship after many years of fighting. Through playing with sand and puppets, she began to be able to concentrate and play more freely and as she did she began to talk to her counsellor about all sorts of things. She made up a play with the puppets about how a growly dog and a princess fought all the time. School is improving for her – she can sit and do her work – but some days are still hard.

Dennis’ Story

Dennis came to us after being forced to take early retirement at 58 – he thought it would be good but after a while he began to struggle and wonder what the point of life is. His disabled son made life especially difficult. His doctor thought that we might help with this huge change in his life. Dennis talked about having worked from the age of 14 in the same business as his Dad – who died with his boots on – but now he didn’t have a reason to get up in the morning. He cried about his son and his life. After being able to talk through his feelings, Dennis has begun to build a new life for himself and his son doing some of the things he’d never had a chance to do before: golf, go-carting and fishing which he did with his son. He recognised just how much he was missing the company of his work-mates, has joined a club and is thinking of doing some volunteering.

Stephen’s Story

Stephen’s Nan rang us because she is very concerned about him because he keeps getting in trouble in school and flies off the handle at home. She says that he gets very angry with himself and has been hurting himself. He has been living with her since he was 8, he‘s now 14, because his Mum has problems of her own and Social Care placed him with her.

When Stephen first came he said he was very worried because his Nan hasn’t been well for a while and he was concerned for her health. She was in and out of hospital last year and his Aunt and her daughter, who he doesn’t get on with, came to stay to look after him and his younger sister. Social Care say that if anything should happen to his Nan, his Aunt would care for him and his sister. Stephen doesn’t think this is an ok idea, his sister is only 9, the same age as his cousin and he knows his Aunt will dump them on him. Stephen won’t speak to the social worker about this, as she is not to be trusted. They took him and his sister away from Mum after all. Talking to his Aunt is also very hard as she doesn’t see where he’s coming from. He feels really angry and it is hard for him to keep up in school or have time for friends. He is struggling to sleep and eat and when his head starts to throb all he can do to feel better is to cut himself. Stephen would really like to work as a mechanic, he is good with maths and science but is very worried that his ‘moods’ are going to stop him getting where he wants to go. He doesn’t want to fall into the same traps his father and mother did – drugs and alcohol – but is struggling to keep focused. He is now using counselling to help him think about his problems and achieve what he wants. It is a place where he can talk about the kind of person he wants to be and what makes this so hard. Stephen is now able to talk through his fears and think about doing what’s best for him (and his sister). While he still finds it hard to trust, he is finding it easier to express his fears and to think about speaking out about concerns he has. He is also taking the time to reconnect with his hopes and dreams.

Issy’s Story

Issy is 44, in her second marriage, has 3 children and works in a school. Her relationships have always ended in violence and she came for counselling because she doesn’t know what she’s doing wrong. Surely all men can’t be like this – it has to be something she did. With gentle encouragement from her counsellor in telling her life-story Issy could trace the violence back to home when she was a child and into her first early marriage, which was an escape from home and which ended in horrific violence resulting in her losing a baby after a bad beating. Her second husband – though not violent – is very controlling and for Issy the relationship feels as bad as before. She is beginning to realise that she deserves respect and through increased self-respect and esteem has the ability to choose what is right for her and her children. It won’t be an easy path for her but she will have support from us as she travels it.

Victor’s Story

Victor, who suffers from schizophrenia, has had a variety of therapeutic relationships over many years and was recommended to us for one-to-one support alongside the treatment he receives for his mental illness. Faith and spirituality is important to Victor but sadly his trust and his body have been abused in the past by his family, churches and Christian organisations. Needless to say he finds relationships incredibly difficult and at times threatening, when he has the capacity to lash out.

Over the months that Victor has been seeing his counsellor he has been able to connect his past experiences to his present reactions and feelings, become more accepting of his illness and vulnerabilities and develop strategies to deal with difficult situations and feelings. Life continues to be a struggle for Victor but he has found a place of constancy with us which he recognises as vital for him.

Lotti’s Story

Lotti, aged 14, was referred by the Educational Welfare officer because of non-school attendance and the authority was contemplating prosecuting. She had only attended 6 days in over two years at secondary school. Lotti is the youngest child of a vulnerable family through no fault of their own – chronic ill-health of a single parent family. She came to counselling and built a good rapport with the counsellor. Her attendance rate was fantastic: over 90% – the average for this client group is around 66%. When we were approached to get involved in discussions about prosecution, through negotiation with Lotti and with her consent we were able to give her a voice in the decision making. I attended a meeting on Lotti’s behalf and as a result of the commitment to and work done in counselling, the authority has put transitional tutoring in place which will lead to a return to school in the spring and our counsellor will see her in school as part of that transition. Lotti now has the potential to leave school with some qualifications because we had the resources to work with her. More importantly perhaps, she is getting out of the home and interacting socially – prior to the tutoring, the counselling sessions were the only time each week that the young person left the house.

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