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.
Ben is 13, mum called the centre and asked for him to be seen. At his assessment with an adolescent counsellor, he expressed his frustration and very low mood. Mum was always cleaning and didn’t allow him to sit in certain rooms and dad was never around, and when he was he didn’t speak much to Ben. He says that mum used to be very anxious and panicky and would need him to do a lot of the jobs outside home, like shopping. Since we came out of Covid she has got a lot better. But he notices he seems to be getting very angry and doesn’t know why. Ben struggled to tell his counsellor that he has been harming and that this is upsetting him. He says teachers hate him and if they talk to him in a certain way he just flips. He doesn’t want to go to school for help. He wants to be seen at Bridge in Basildon.
Counselling was initially hard for Ben, he found it hard to trust the counsellor.
It was very important to give Ben the time to develop a relationship with the counsellor. The counsellor began by working creatively with Ben. While painting Ben began to talk and create artwork that expressed his feelings and fears. Ben did not want to be anxious like mum, but also not like dad. It was hard for Ben to see another way. For the first time he was able to talk about his feelings.
“Ben also learned that he was a very reflective person, who had great insight and maturity, but also loves fun.”
Through the counselling Ben became aware of choices and possibilities. And because he also learned that he loved working creatively, something unique to him, he could see that he has his own individuality. Ben also learned that he was a very reflective person, who had great insight and maturity, but also loves fun. He noticed changes in his relationship with his mum and sister, also in his attitude to school He could make choices about his reactions to situations and to begin to think about the future. And when he was ready, left counselling with an awareness that Bridge is here and can help should he need to return in the future.
Sophie, 16 was told to come for counselling by her friends. They say she is always miserable and angry at everyone. They don’t like going out with her because she will kick off and show them up. They are always having a go now and have stopped responding on social media. It really upsets her, she would never not answer their messages and always likes their stories. When they don’t respond or if she sees they’ve seen her story but not liked it – it really makes her mad. Sophie isn’t sure if wants to come because her friends bullied her into it, but she also knows that it can be helpful.
In her sessions Sophie recognised that she was feeling really upset a lot of the time, it is not just about her friends.
“She and the counsellor look at all of her, not only that she gives herself the hardest time, but what a good friend, how kind, compassionate and caring she can be”.
As Sophie began to talk through what was troubling her in counselling she kept saying I don’t know why it upsets me so much – her counsellor noticed this to her, and Sophie began to reflect on what might be adding to her upset. Sophie realises that when her friends tell her how she should be, this is what happens at home too. And often what they say is not how she feels or what she wants to do, so she feels wrong. Sophie feels lonely most of the time, she keeps herself busy and tries so hard to be what she feels her friends and family want her to be. She is afraid that she is not much really and so this causes her a lot of pain. As she begins to notice this about herself, she and the counsellor look at all of her, not only that she gives herself the hardest time, but what a good friend, how kind, compassionate and caring she can be.