One-to-One Psychotherapy Service
Client confidentiality means that we rarely produce case studies from our formal therapy services. When we do it is with the written permission of the client. Names and other identifying details are changed.
B, a 29 year old woman, London-born of Indonesian ethnicity, came to us feeling suicidal. She was living on her own in Islington and worked part-time. She had problems with her immediate family who disapproved of her living on her own, being unmarried and being “Western”. She had been sexually abused by a close relative for a number of years when she was a girl. She was over-weight, was very unhappy with her body image and felt unable to have a close relationship. She had incurred over £20,000 in debt, mostly on clothes and beauty products, had debt collectors chasing her, had low self-esteem and felt pushed around and ignored at work. She had had a number of sessions in an NHS service after a previous suicide attempt but she said that these hadn’t solved her problems.
B agreed that she would not attempt suicide for the time being and would give the therapy at least 12 sessions to see how the work developed. The work ended up lasting a year and a half.
B valued the non-judgemental approach of the therapist; it allowed her the possibility of suspending judgement on herself and, with the therapist, being able to assess her situation from various angles. A particularly important issue for her was in some ways feeling able to come to terms with being abused as a child. This very complex matter had not been reflected upon before and, over the course of the therapy, had significant ramifications for her and her family. One of the impacts of this was that B regained a sense of personal sovereignty, dignity and identity. This in turn had enormous consequences – B began to take charge of her life.
One of the first things she did was to arrange an IVA to deal with her debts. She found the daily budgeting restrictive but was glad that there was light at the end of the tunnel. She also began to concentrate on making her flat a real home, with key items reflecting her newly emerging sense of unique identity. This identity drew on facets of her and her family’s religious and ethnic background, as well as on those of “western” culture. A growing confidence in this sense of identity gave her confidence about relationships and she began to grow her social circles, inviting people to her flat and going out with colleagues after work. She began to feel that it was OK to be close to someone and hoped that she would, in time, find a partner.
Our low cost service allowed B., who had almost no disposable income, to work through very difficult issues in a time-frame suited to complex work. The consequences of not having had this service available to her are grim to imagine.