Fiona and Quentin’s story
Fiona, the wife of Quentin (neither are their real names) wrote this a couple of months after our last session. They had to come to me in a quite desperate state – fearing that their relationship was completely broken.
These are Fiona’s own words and beneath them I am sharing my understanding of what they needed and what I attempted to do. My basic approach to healing relationships which my work with Fiona and Quentin exemplified, is to work with each partner individually – knowing that if change is made at the individual level then a new and improved relationship can emerge quite naturally in most cases.
Their story is more than this though. It is also an appalling indictment of the danger from long-term analytic psychotherapy and the power it still holds to wreak terrible damage on innocent minds.
Quentin and Fiona came to see me having experienced years and years of psychodynamic counselling at the Tavistock Institute. The Tavi as it is called is the centre of psychodynamic or Freudian therapy in this country and still retains a reputation for authoritative and worthwhile long-term therapy. The therapy the Tavistock do, as I understand it is hidebound in procedure and prior assumptions and starts from the arrogant presumption that all real psychological help has to take a long time and must be painful. And any who believe that real therapy can be quick are just applying sticking plaster.
As a Human Givens trained therapist I know of course that this is complete rubbish and am appalled by this counsel of arrogant despair and the power it still exerts on innocent and not so innocents minds. I can only imagine the pain endured at the hands of these charlatans by Quentin and Fiona and of course the quite enormous cost, expanding into many thousands of pounds, which will have flowed into the pockets of these people to finance their activities and livelihoods.
Our relationship was an ongoing war zone. Twenty seven years later and many sacrifices to meet the fees for the conventional wisdom – despite our individual and joint efforts, there was no improvement and in fact sometimes the therapy make things worse.
Failure and despair seemed our only future. And then I saw Andrew’s phone number and thought what was there left to lose.
If you are prepared to look at differences in a new way and if you are prepared to hear, work with and build on what Andrew can teach you, then life can change.
We found that after six sessions we are not different people, problems still exist but we are able to deal with them in a different way. We are able to enjoy our lives and experience joy and contentment. We have discovered happiness in being.
Whatever your age or difficulties and whatever short-term treats you give up to work with Andrew, it is worthwhile for these life changing benefits you can gain. If you are sincere in your wish to transform your life and open to change, you have nothing to lose and much to gain.
When Quentin and Fiona came to see me together for that first session, I saw right away that both of them were locked in extraordinarily negative pattern matching and both absolutely bought into the story peddled by the Tavistock that there were fundamental defects in Quentin character that had to be corrected before their marriage could improve. I worked on Quentin individually for three sessions of therapy and in that time, by judicious use of trance work and the tools and approaches that Human Givens teaches, I managed to build his confidence and give him the potential for emotional stability that he needed in order to feel much more equal in his marriage.
And there I left it at this time as Quentin reported back that their relationship was now much happier. But then a couple of months later he called me again in significant distress. It appeared that the same patterning of extraordinary negativity in his capacity to sustain the relationship had again returned. I saw them together for a session and realised that it was Fiona who now needed to see me. I saw her for a handful of sessions and in that time managed to clear the main negative patterns and trauma that were disfiguring her life and which were manifesting so dangerously in Quentin’s response to her anger.
And that was it.
Fiona and Quentin are now able to make the effort they need to respond and behave differently to each other and in doing so, they are creating their own new relationship dynamic – of support and contentment which is in turn opening them to real happiness for the first time in their relationship.
David and Nesta’s story
David and Nesta were arguing too much of the time and at times she was scared of David as his temper could be very short. They both came to see me – needing to feel better with each other so that they could turn their attention to her lack of work and his heavy overworking commitment. There were other areas that caused distress between them, manlily related to her eldest son from her previous marriage.
We agreed that they would practice being more respectful of each other and at that first session my role was to help them communicate clearly and calmly what they each wanted to say. This was a revelation to then and out of this they both developed a strong to using and practising reflective listening skills whenever they were aware of tensions rising.
After that first session, I saw them both separately for two sessions before one final session together. They each needed to work on particular issues. For Nesta it was about building her confidence to get the work she wanted. For David, there was unquestionably some anger patterns that needed to be cleared.