Colour Therapy for client suffering from Grief related symptoms
Client is a sixty-one-year-old female. She lost both parents four years ago within three months of each other and was suffering from Grief related symptoms. Client had divorced in 1987 and moved back home with her two children and reared them with the help of her parents.
They were all very close and the deaths of her parents has rocked her world and she feels lost and stated that Client had died with them and the person left in Client’s body could not cope with the world.
She has continued to work and to the outside world looks as though she is coping but her loss is consuming her, and she can’t move on.
Client stated that when they went it was like losing a husband, best friend and parents all in one package. For over twenty-five years they had lived as a secure and happy family and all of that was now gone.
Prepared treatment room. Ensured it was warm and comfortable and lit some mildly scented candles. Got my consultation form organised and made sure I had all I needed for this session.
Client arrived, and I met her at the door and brought her to the treatment room. I offered her a refreshment and we both had a cup of herbal tea. As an introduction I told her a little about myself and my training qualifications. I spoke to her about the consultation form and we spoke about confidentiality, Client told me she had attended grief counselling, but it had not helped her come to terms with the enormity of her loss.
The consultation form was as usual a significant help in moving the session on and Client had no medical issues and was not on any medications.
On completion of the consultation I asked Client, what had brought her to see a holistic counsellor?
Client said that after attending grief counselling a couple of years ago she decided that there was little else she could do but to get on with it. She said that friends assured her it would get better with time, but she now feels as though there is something blocking her moving on. She feels its more than just grief. She is constantly tired even though she sleeps ok. She feels sluggish and gets little joy from life anymore. She tries not to talk about this sadness to anyone anymore as she thinks people are sick of hearing it and does not want to burden her daughter who loved her grandparents and is also grieving but in what Client calls a healthier way. Client is constantly keeping busy hoping to push away the feelings but once alone she is overcome with her pain.
A friend recommended holistic counselling and alternative therapies as a way forward and at this stage Client is willing to try anything that will ease her pain.
I asked Client what she hoped to get from our work together and she wants to talk but mostly to find some relief from the constant sadness.
In the last ten minutes I told Client I would be happy to work with her. I summarised the information I had received from Client and said we would work on helping her move on. I told her she had suffered a huge loss and that her reaction to it was not wrong, as there is no normal way to grieve, everyone does it differently.
We discussed actions that needed to be taken by her before our next session in a week. I suggested that Client in the times she is not busy should consider mindfulness practice. I recommended that she use YouTube to find some mindfulness talks and see if there is anything in it for her.
After Session 1
I felt that Client was very open to everything we had spoken about and would be willing to try anything that would lift her pain. I had gotten quite a lot of information from Client and felts he would be good to work with. I decided I needed to consider how people grieve and what path I could offer to Client.
Client arrived on time for our next session and seemed to be in good form. I asked how her week had gone and she said it went well. I could sense that Client gave this answer to anybody who asked after her well-being, because it was how she had learned to cope, and it is how she hides the level of pain she feels.
I asked Client if she would like to give five minutes of the session to doing a relaxation exercise that would ground her and make her more present in the room. We did a five- minute breathing exercise.
After this Client was more present in the room and looked more at ease. She said she had watched some mindfulness lectures and found it quite interesting but didn’t understand how it could help her.
I explained that mindfulness is about being present in the moment and having a kindness to oneself was paramount to its teachings. I thought that this practice and some other therapy along with the talking would be a benefit to her and she agreed to do whatever would help her live a happier life.
She was eager to know what therapies I could offer. I told her I could offer massage as a way of treating herself to a relaxing treatment. I asked her if she had heard of colour therapy and she had but had no sense that colour could affect our lives in many ways. Client was curious about this and asked if I could explain more to her.
I asked her to calculate her birth number, explaining how to do this and from this we could find out her identity colour. Client was a 6 and her colour is blue.
This delighted Client as she said blue was one of her favourite colours, green another favourite. I asked if she wore or used either colour in her home and she said no, as she used mostly browns in her home and wore black nearly all the time. We discussed colour a little more and she said that she did not like orange although it had been one of her favourites years ago.
I went on to explain that our short-term attractions to colours relate various stages we are going through in life. By rejecting orange, I felt she was suffering from exhaustion, mental or physical fatigue.
At this stage I noted we had only 10 minutes left and asked Client if she would like to try some colour affirmations. I explained that these are short positive sentences that are repeated regularly and can help us gain the most from positive thinking.
New thought forms can become real and bring wonderful changes to our life. I told Client to keep the affirmations short and easy to say and repeat them as often in the next week as she could. We decided she would use an affirmation containing the colour blue, “Through the colour blue, I am attaining more peace and tranquillity in my life”. Client repeated the affirmation a couple of times and said she would continue to do this each day for the next week.
At the end of the session Client said she felt good and was quite excited about colour and I asked her to look at her home surroundings and clothes and see if there was any colour other than brown or black in them.
We agreed that for the following session we would do some talk therapy, some colour meditation and finish with a massage using some colour and scent relating to colour.
Client arrived for her session and we started with a five-minute-deep breathing exercise which relaxed Client.
I asked Client how her week had been, and she said it was good that she had used her breathing as a focus in those sad periods during the week and found it eased her sadness and she found that by clearing her mind and focusing on breathing in visualising the colour blue that her mind did not wander to all the what if’s that usually occupied her every waking moments.
Client started to talk about her parent’s deaths and knew that she was keeping herself trapped in sadness as a way of holding on to the past and all her loving memories.
We discussed the year she had been nursing her parents and how it had engulfed her whole life and although she felt that it was time to move on she had isolated herself from people to protect them from her grief and couldn’t find a way back into what she called the living world.
Client also said she was pushing her daughter away as she never wanted her to suffer from this type of sadness. I asked Client if she would exchange the years of love she had with her parents to avoid this loss and her firm response was no, that it was the memories of all those years that kept her going.
put to Client that maybe it was time to start to make good loving memories for her daughter and her grand-children to have of her when her time came, and she agreed. I felt that through this talk therapy Client was realising that she needed to stop pushing people away and embrace them into her life again.
I asked Client if she would like to do a rainbow meditation and she eagerly agreed. I guided her through a 15 – minute meditation as laid out in my notes and when we were finished Client got very emotional and said that whilst doing the meditation she could feel her parent’s presence within her and it was a very healing experience for her sadness that through meditation she could let go of the sadness and nurture the spiritual feeling of knowing her parents were at peace and wanted the same for her.
Closing the consultation
With only 15 minutes of the session left we decided that a massage would not happen in this session and we discussed the theory of mindfulness awareness and how it can keep us in the moment and encourage us not to live in the past or the future.
Client could see the benefits of this and said she would love to do an introduction to mindfulness practise and to learn more about colour and its effects on our lives. I asked Client to try eat green ray foods as they would soothe and relax her and help her sleep better. I explained that milk or cocoa would aid sleep as milk contains the green ray of the grass from where it originated.
I summarised the session back to Client ‘So I’m hearing that you are feeling ready to try and move on from the constant grief and open up your life to your family and friends again.
That she would always have her parents in her life and heart but needed to be alive and happy to ensure her daughter would know the same love and support that she had received from her parents. Client agreed that she could not stop her daughter from grieving her loss sometime in the distant future by pushing her away in the present. She acknowledged we had made progress already and she was feeling optimistic about the future for the first time in years.
I asked Client if she would consider talking to her daughter about our sessions and it would help her discuss what had been happening in her life since her parent’s deaths and the reason why she was isolating herself from her daughter? Client agreed she would.
I then told Client about mindful colouring as a way of focusing on something relaxing, that is fun and easy to do, and she said she would try it. I also asked her to introduce some colour into her home, a colour that she was drawn to at the time of purchase and we would discuss it next session.
This session started on time and Client was in great form and was wearing a beautiful pink scarf. She told me she had been drawn to it during the week and on impulse had purchased it. I explained that pink is a colour used to promote self-love and she laughed and said maybe it was time to start giving herself the love that her parents and daughter thought her worthy of. She told me she had been working hard on just being in the present and not ruminating on the past.
Client had also bought a beautify green throw for her bedroom and found it very soothing. I explained that green can help to alleviate depression and offers a sense of renewal, self- control and harmony.
Client had spoken to her daughter and although it was very emotional for them both, she realised that her idea of saving her daughter from the pain she herself was experiencing from the loss of her parents was futile and it had the opposite effect of hurting her daughter in the here and now and that death for us all was inevitable so living in the present was of upmost importance.
Clients daughter also encouraged her to continue with alternative therapy and agreed to start a mindfulness class with her. Client enjoyed the mindful colouring and her grand-children also took part which she found very pleasurable. Client said that the last week had been the happiest she had felt in a long time. Client has made a promise to herself to introduce assorted colours to her wardrobe and home. She was also including more green vegetables into her diet and having hot milk before bed.
Client wanted to finish our last 40-minutes having a massage as she said she wanted to continue to treat herself with love.
I left Client to prepare and settle herself onto the massage table. When I returned I ensured Client was warm and comfortable and proceeded with a 20-minute back massage starting with effleurage gentle strokes which helps to warm the skin and relax the client. Then used more invigorating strokes to aid the elimination of toxins.
I used some petrissage movements to breakdown some tightness and tension in Clients shoulder muscles. Then finished with more effleurage all over the back. I left Client with a glass of water and told her to lie for 5 minutes and then slowly get up and dress.
We had ten minutes left in the session and I asked Client if she had gotten what she needed from our sessions. She said that most she had gained various methods of dealing with her sadness. She knew that her loss would always be with her but that she felt with more sessions she could move further on from her grief and return to the living world and be happy again.
On reflection, I feel that these sessions went well and although Client is still not fully recovered that she now has more coping strategies, to enable her to live a happier life.
After four sessions, I felt I had achieved in meeting Client’s needs. In the four weeks, she had learnt breathing techniques, colour affirmations and gained some knowledge on the use of colour in her life. She is now focusing on joining mindfulness classes that will improve her way of dealing with her every-day life.
She is now opening to bringing colour into her every-day life which I believe will bring joy back into her life. The loss Client suffers will I believe will be made more manageable if she continues her journey into the alternative therapies.
As a therapist I used all the techniques I have learnt. Listening skills, building a rapport with client, empathy, no judgements made and delivered a professional and pleasant experience for my client having completed the courses in Colour Therapy.
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