22 Chapters
Medium 9781855757462

CHAPTER EIGHT: I'll Tell You a Story

Davies, Hilary A. Karnac Books ePub

“Just sit for a few moments and I'll tell you a story,” the therapist began as the trainee was settling herself into her usual chair exactly one week later.

“Your story last week reminded me about families’ individuality and individual circumstances.

“Quite a long time ago, when I was just beginning this work, when I was a trainee like you are now, I met with a family who were experiencing some difficulties.

“The mother was a sole parent, was depressed, and her small son's behaviour was beyond her control. The psychological input at the clinic worked to a certain extent, though the family were poor attenders and it was felt that the mother was not committed to the programme and was really struggling to cope.

“The team felt that they should be referred to the social services department for assessment of risk to the child.

“The social services department found that the mother did not have the fares to attend the programme every week and had difficulty managing her young son on the three buses when she was able to come to the clinic.

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CHAPTER TWENTY-ONE: The Families' Curators

Davies, Hilary A. Karnac Books ePub

The trainee was welcomed in as usual and flopped into the comfortable chair. There was a chill in the air and an open log fire flickered in the hearth opposite.

When they had settled into their chairs, the trainee began.

I enjoyed the task,” she said. “It did help to get out and do something different. I spend so much time working, studying, and writing my papers that it was good to get out and have a complete change of focus”

“Yes, that helps when you are tired. Now tell me what you saw.”

“Well, I found the painting and spent about half an hour looking at it from all angles” the trainee began, feeling both pleased and hesitant. She so much wanted to get this right but she did not know what was expected.

I looked at it from all angles, from near up and from far away. I even looked at it around heads in front of me, sitting down and standing up. I sat on the bench for several minutes and the painting looked different from down there”

She paused and the therapist interjected, “And what did you observe?”

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CHAPTER FOURTEEN: Catch Them Unawares

Davies, Hilary A. Karnac Books ePub

The next week the trainee arrived and told the therapist that she had received a phone call from the local doctor of the Barker family, of whom she had spoken the previous week. The family had returned home and phoned their doctor to ask if they could have a therapist locally to meet with regularly as they had found the meeting with the trainee a few days earlier so helpful.

The trainee looked really pleased, but very surprised.

The 3-Point Therapist smiled broadly, confirming that the trainee had done very well.

“And now we will move on, but we will continue with this difficult part of Point 3,” began the therapist. “Most importantly of all, be sure to catch the families unawares.”

The trainee could not disguise her surprise, almost shock, at what the therapist had just said. She had, over the preceding weeks, welcomed and become used to the therapist's style of always supporting and respecting families, planning for each meeting. The work, she had learnt, focused on facilitating the families’ stories and histories, always using their strengths and expertise.

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CHAPTER TWELVE: In an Unexpected Way

Davies, Hilary A. Karnac Books ePub

The trainee was beginning to understand, but was also feeling quite confused.

The 3-Point Therapist seemed to be teaching her something quite different – not what she had come to learn and not what she was expecting, but something was working and in an unexpected way.

She arrived the following week and settled into the therapist's room.

“Last week in my training placement I saw a new family, a really diff … a family with many difficulties.” She corrected quickly, hoping that the therapist had not noticed her near lapse into unacceptable language. “ The Barkers.

The two parents came with a very troubled child with extremely challenging behaviour. I had felt anxious and not sufficiently prepared, as the child's difficulty was in an area of which I had little knowledge and certainly no experience nor expertise.

“I remembered your instruction to listen well and make close notes on a new family with a particularly challenging problem. And I also remembered that I should simply ask the family about themselves, their situation, their solutions. I knew that I had to be prepared to listen very hard and very carefully indeed.To be honest, I was beginning to see how this way of talking and being with families actually related to doing therapy and, indeed, I think I was beginning to realize that this was, in fact, therapy itself. This, not techniques, not strategies, but curious and purposeful interest and listening.

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CHAPTER TWO: Work of Which You Are Proud

Davies, Hilary A. Karnac Books ePub

The trainee was slightly bemused but very curious, and returned one week later.

The door opened promptly and she sat in the same comfortable chair.

The therapist greeted her, and then said nothing. The trainee began.

I am seeing a very difficult case, the Abbott family, I don't know where to begin.”

“Tell me about the family and the work of which you are proud,” the therapist invited.

“Both parents attend my sessions together with their teenage daughter. It's the daughter who is the problem, she is very difficult and the parents are at their wits’ end. I have tried everything and I think I have done some good work. The mother is so anxious, my supervisor thinks she needs some medicine to calm her down. I'm not sure what to do now”

“Tell me about your work of which you are proud,” the therapist repeated.

Well, a couple of weeks ago I decided to try some circular questioning, to try to get to the root of the mother's anxiety, to try to find out what she is really worried about. It went very well, the reflecting team complimented me on my technique. After a while the mother put her headin her hands and just sobbed. I think we began to get to something, though the problem seems just as stuck as ever and I am not sure what to do now. I've tried some anxiety management, but it doesn't seem to work with this mother at all. She just seems to want to talk on and on and I have to intervene frequently and be quite assertive in order to do any work at all”

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