The following are examples of the problems that people bring for counselling. These case studies reflect themes that we see when working with clients and are not in themselves actual or real descriptions of work with any of our clients.
Luke (38) contacted the service as he felt that things are falling apart. Luke was in a very unhappy relationship for many years, recently he has got back in touch with an old school friend and he feels a connection like never before. Luke is confused around who he is, what he wants and his sexuality.
Luke explored how he has got together with his wife when they were very young, her mum and dad died shortly afterwards and Luke feels very protective towards her. They have tried for children and his wife would really love a family, but recently it was discovered that Luke cannot have children.
He knows there is a lot going on in his life and is noticing that he is struggling to concentrate at work and recently had a performance management meeting with his boss. Something has to give, so he is hoping counselling will give him an opportunity to make sense of his confusion and distress.
“He is learning to recognise that men can be sad, angry or vulnerable as these emotions are normal.”
Luke has begun his counselling at Renew, he is finding it really helpful. Having a space to allow himself to think about the difficult and confusing feelings and learning to manage the distress that this brings. Luke has worked out that he grew up in a family where talking about your feelings was not done. He is learning to recognise that men can be sad, angry or vulnerable as these emotions are normal. Luke says that while counselling can sometimes be really hard, he is going to stick with it as he can see it is helping find out who he is.
Kelly (45) had been to Renew in 2018, she had always struggled with anxiety, panic attacks and depression and worked on developing strategies to help her change this and get out in the world. Kelly feels she was doing really well then Covid hit. She has health issues which meant she had to shield. She lost all her support network. It felt like a prison sentence, she lost all her confidence and didn’t want to go out again. Kelly rang renew during the January 2021 Lockdown and we were able to offer her online counselling.
“Kelly feels stronger and more able to be out in the world.”
Kelly was able to think about her worries and fears, she knows that not everybody feels the same way about Covid. She has noticed that she is distressed when she sees people not wearing masks or talking about the vaccine. Through the work she has done online, Kelly feels stronger and more able to be out in the world, she has requested that she returns to face to face counselling.
T is a woman in her late 40s. Her children are both leaving home shortly, one to move in with her boyfriend and one to move for work. Her relationship with her husband is poor, and she is very worried that he is going to leave her. He seems to be getting on very well outside the home, but when with her is closed off.
T has not worked for a very long time, she has lost confidence in her ability to re enter the workplace. She is out of step with current technology and lacking confidence to do courses and meet new people. She has lost all motivation, feeling ‘too old’ and ‘who would want me’.
T has felt depressed for the last 6 years, she says she has lost all her self esteem, she is not happy with her weight gain and is anxious about her decreasing health.
“She began to recognise the value of self acceptance, look at and value her achievements…”
Working with T to help her develop her self esteem and self worth was the main aim for counselling. T began to see this as a life stage. She began to recognise the value of self acceptance, look at and value her achievements, two happy healthy skilled children, a long marriage that she had taken for granted. She began to develop the communication skills to breathe new life into the relationship. T reports her husband is now also happier and she sees that it was her depression that was closing down the relationship. T recognises that being married for 30 years is something she can feel proud of. T has made a start back into work getting a part time job at the local supermarket and this has been a real source of surprise for her.
Freddie, (24) has always been the angry one in the family. His Mum says that he was a right handful even when he was little. F doesn’t know why he gets angry, but when it takes over he feels like he has no choice but to give in to it. Now he thinks he has pushed every one away in his life. He met his girlfriend two years ago and he calls her the love of his life. After their last row she said she had had enough, that he was nothing but a bully and she was sick of his jealousy. When the counsellor asked Freddie about this, Freddie said why would someone like her want to be with me. Freddie is a good carpenter when he is in work, he loves working but finds jobs hard to hold down because of his temper. He has been messed around by a lot of his employers. They tend to muck him about with his pay and when he kicks off, he gets the sack or walks out and then getting the money he is owed is a problem. His Dad always said never let anyone walk over you and is very supportive of him taking no rubbish from anyone.
When Freddie began exploring the causes of his anger in counselling, he recognised that it all started when his mum and dad split up when he was about 8, he wasn’t happy, but it was manageable. Once mum started going out with her new boyfriend, she began to ignore him and get angry with him for no reason. The boyfriend didn’t like him around and mum always called him a pest. She always sided with her boyfriend. Freddie began to stay away from home as much as he could and never felt happy there. He admits that he would skip school and get in fights all the time. He used to stay over at his dad’s but then dad got a girlfriend who didn’t want a son hanging round either.
F and his girlfriend were getting on fine, but his girlfriend’s mum didn’t like him staying round, he wanted to get a place with her and so did she, but when he lost the last job this couldn’t happen. F thinks this and the jealousy is the reason why they really split up.
F wants counselling so that he can understand and control his anger. He wants a better life for himself and would like to be in a relationship and have kids he can love. He is fearful of his anger and doesn’t want to end up alone with a criminal record.
“Has made incredible headway so far, but his journey is not over…”
He is consistently attending his counselling, contributing what he can afford and has made incredible headway so far, but his journey is not over.