Holistic Counselling Session
Traditional talk therapy – Case Study
Preparation for client consultation
To offer this holistic counselling session I prepared the room beforehand, making sure the temperature was good, I lit some scented candles and had music on the in the background, but very low so as to not distract either myself or Client.
Client Introduction to Holistic Counselling
Client is already known to me as someone I used to work with. This made the introduction easy as we were already somewhat comfortable in each other’s company, however, this was of course a different situation and so I explained to Client that we needed to complete a treatment card to make sure there wasn’t anything I needed to be aware of before we started. I then explained to her what the session entailed and that this was completely her session for which I would give my undivided attention and I checked that she also had switched off her mobile phone as it was extremely important that we were not disturbed. I asked her if she was comfortable and whether she was happy with the level of the background music and I also got both of us a glass of water.
Commencing Talk Therapy Session
I asked Client what she would like to talk about in this session. She said that I would be aware that her father has been suffering with his health but that nobody had really understood the full extent of what has been happening and what her and her family were going through. Client went on to say that her father is 46 years old and due to diabetes he is blind, I acknowledged that I was aware of this through previous general conversations. Her father had previously had a stroke at home and was rushed into hospital. The stroke had affected his left hand side. Her father is still in hospital.
Client shares her time between living with her mum and her boyfriend. She also has a slightly younger sister who has recently moved out to live with her boyfriend. Client said that her and her sister are very different, whereas Client is the grounded one who keeps herself composed, her sister panics and doesn’t deal with difficult situations well.
I felt that perhaps Client was struggling with being the composed one and that she was a lot more stressed than she wanted admit. I asked how she was feeling about the situation and she said that she feels like she is the parent and is having to be strong to look after her mum and sister. There has been many times over the past few months where they have received a call from the hospital telling them that her dad’s situation had taken a turn for the worse and to prepare themselves but thankfully her dad has pulled through each time. He spent a lot of time in intensive care in an induced coma as he contracted pneumonia and suffered another stroke.
Client went on to explain that it feels surreal for her – almost as if it is happening to someone else. I said that this was a normal feeling in that type of situation. I asked if she was able to talk openly to her mum and sister but she said it was quite difficult to do so and that she has been very worried about her mum as she spends her day going back and forward to the hospital twice a day and that basically her life is on hold, whereas at least Client and her sister have work to go to which helps takes their minds off it.
At this stage Client started to get very emotional and started to apologise but I told her there was nothing for her to apologise for and it would be good for her to let go and have a good cry. She said that this was probably the first time she had cried like that, not that she didn’t care but she felt that if she started she wouldn’t stop and didn’t want to add more worry for her mum if she saw her so upset. I asked if she was happy to continue or wanted to take a break, but she was happy to carry on. She went on to say that she hears her mum crying herself to sleep some nights and feels helpless. She said that she was worried that if they all talk about the situation then it may actually made it worse and seem more real. I said that it was likely that her mum and sister felt the same as her. I reassured her that what she was feeling was a normal reaction, particularly as she had taken the role of being the strong one in the family. By doing so she was placing a huge burden on herself by not wanting to let them down. I said that it was important that she didn’t let this take over her and prevent her from sharing her concern and upset together as a family – this would not be seen as weakness.
I asked about her dad’s present condition and she said that he was out of intensive care and improving very slowly, but this has happened a few times before and he has ended up back in intensive care. I said that she needs to focus on the positive and that hopefully he will continue to get stronger. She would like to dare hope that there is a chance he could possibly come home. I asked her to consider if this was a good time for the 3 of them sitting down and opening up on how they were all feeling?
Client said she was curious as to how her mum and sister were really feeling and that perhaps she did feel safe enough for them to open up a bit more to each other.
I advised Client that the session was nearing its end and so this would be a good time to summarise what we had happened and for Client to say how she was feeling about it. Client said that she felt a mixture of tiredness and relief, she said it had been good to actually tell someone exactly how she was feeling and she said that now she had said it out loud she is starting to realise that perhaps she was putting up too much of a barrier. We talked about any actions she wanted to take forward and she said that it was very much about sitting down with her mum and sister and having a proper conversation about how they were all feeling and how they could all support each other going forward.
Client thanked me for listening and for getting her to cry! She felt this was an important part of helping her to move forward.
We agreed a further date for 3 weeks’ time as she felt this would be useful for her, especially as she was planning on having that conversation with her mum and sister by then.
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