I met Sacha once with her husband, both in their twenties, about 5 yrs ago. He was obviously unwell with disturbing mental health problems, was hospitalised soon after and struggled with these disorders. She then came alone and continued to work with me off and on throughout but especially over the last two years when we worked online because she had taken a new job in Scandinavia. Her husband remained in the north of England within the mental health service. They were effectively separated with little contact made by him.
She had no family support at all and was a very private person when it came to friendships. Our sessions involved me being someone to share with, being alongside her, asking her to reflect on her thoughts and feelings and consider action points where possible. Maybe she, herself, is better at explaining how that works.
“Mig has been there with me through my most difficult times. She has been unfailingly patient, dependable and caring, and I honestly don’t know where I would be now without her. She gave me a safe space where I could talk completely freely and honestly, without any fear of being judged or criticised. She was there for me when I felt there was no one else I could talk to.
The best thing about talking with Mig was the feeling of being accepted, of my thoughts and feelings being understood and recognised. The feeling of relief this brought really came as a surprise. It was like the lifting of a burden I didn’t know I had been carrying.
Sacha (name changed)
To finish, it looked as if the relationship would end in divorce as they had little communication and she felt this was the way she would have to go to move on with a life. However, and although the story is by no means over, when her husband’s health improved and he came to join her a few months ago we decided to cease our sessions.
It’s often very hard for both client and counsellor to deal with an ending and we talked this through a lot. But she, and he, were tentatively starting a new phase and maybe I was part of the old.
Postscript: seven months on from writing the above, I know they are still together and he is receiving good support and treatment in their country of residence. They continue to rebuild their relationship; “… generally things are going very well.”
Please note, while the scenarios are real, the names and identifying information have been changed to protect my clients’ identities.