Casebook: Sometimes a depressed client is not ready
What of those who come to me with serious depression and who leave, unsatisfied and still depressed?
Freddie – a case study of failure
This is the story of one such case of failure. He came to me very stressed and classically depressed – ruminating and worrying all the time, stuck in his life after a personal crisis and clearly dreaming far too much.
In that first session I listened to what he felt he had to tell me. And even then I was aware how much there was and that he was not going to be put off “explaining”. In his late fifties, Freddie had left his wife and then when he realised his mistake, discovered that she would not have him back. He had long hated his job as a meat market trader and now he was stuck at home with his mother, with little money coming in and no friends. He had also managed to convey something of how his life had always been wrong.
I could not stop him until the very end. I then did explain a little about dreaming and how he had to find a way to worry less. I burned for him a copy of my Overcoming Depression Mp3. I also found a little time to get a hint of what his strength were (which he certainly had). For a start, he did have quite a strong circle of friends afterall.
The second session began with the news that he had not listened to my Mp3, had not distracted himself at all, was feeling just as bad and had a further torrent of insight and information about his problems that he felt compelled to share with me. And these were new insights and quite different it seemed from last time – before I attempted to cut him off.
And then battle was joined. I asked him why he was telling me all of this. What did he expect me to do with it? I said that I could not in conscience take a fee just for listening to him. I tried different tacks in attempting to explain what he needed to do and how I proposed to help him. And as I did, I could see his eyes averting. He was not interested. Towards the end of the session, I deliberately raised my voice in an attempt to shake him out of his self-obsessed depression trance. I then suggested that he close his eyes so I could relax him. But he was having none of it.
At the end I said that I would only see him next week if he had listened to my Mp3 once a day and he had done something each day for his Mum – that he had worked out she will enjoy.
That was the last I saw of him.
Was it failure on my part for not letting him say what he had to say or was he actually not interested or ready to get his life back in shape? Or was something else going on? I honestly don’t know.