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Talking Openly with an “outsider”
The client was referred by IAPT Ealing due to experiencing psychological and physical abuse from her ex-husband as well as coercive control. The client is going through a divorce and is being supported by a solicitor for that.
According to the referral, her goal in coming to therapy was, to be able to speak with a professional and process what has happened so she is able to sleep better, overthink less and carry on with her life.
After the initial assessment client expressed the desire to understand how the relationship came to this point and be able to shed light on some of the things that had created confusion for her, above all she would like to be able to reduce the level of stress accumulated as a result.
From the first session, the client reported experiencing doubts and uncertainty about how this service will be able to help her, but more so client reported fears of not being believed.
We began our work with the assurance of the non-judgmental and safe place service and reassured the client that our aim is to support her.
Throughout the sessions (10 to date) client reported trust issues and feelings of guilt and shame.
With a gentle approach and steady pace, we explored those feelings, going back to childhood memories and experiences during her upbringing. The client shared many separate occasions of her life where abuse and neglect had been present in the family but also 2 separate sexual assaults she had experienced at the age of 8 and later in puberty age.
By going deeper into those early experiences client at times showed great distress and reported feelings of anger, guilt, shame, and resentment.
The client was encouraged during sessions 8-9 to do some inner child work and she managed to write a loving letter to her younger self to practice love and compassion.
The client reported being able to do this more freely and aims to practice after our work together.
As we moved on with our work together, during session 10 client reported feeling surprised by the awareness this work has brought to her, and with that, she reports finding a new ability to recognise her strengths and capabilities. She reports, in her own words, “ I never thought that talking about my feelings and looking back into my upbringing and the incidents that had taken place, can bring so much relief and empowerment”.
She also reports that there is still work to be done in terms of releasing the resentment and the anger and accepting all for what it is, something we have agreed to work on in the last couple of sessions.
We will meet for sessions 11&12 in the next couple of weeks.