In what specific ways are you finding the way we are working together helpful?
Firstly, I find that being on the phone/working together via phone calls works very well for me. I can choose a safe and comfortable place that feels right for me. The great thing about this is that the place may change each session, but it doesn't matter as each time we speak I have chosen the surroundings. Being on the phone also allows me to feel comfortable within myself, sometimes I will just wear pyjamas but that doesn't matter - in fact - this actually makes me feel more at ease. I have wondered occasionally if I would benefit more in a face to face environment, however on reflection, I do not feel the work we have done together has suffered due to this fact; it's actually the opposite.
For someone like me who used to be (and still am to a degree!) a very shy and nervous person, being on the phone really allowed me to open up and be myself. I perhaps would not have been able to do this at first in a face to face environment.
These days - I would have no problem whatsoever with a face to face session - but I feel the work we do together is powerful and does not need changing. It works very well for me.
Secondly, I have found the 'body check in' to be transformative in my way of managing myself, and I intend to take this into future work with my clients. I have found this 'added' tool you use to be of absolute importance when I am either distressed, anxious or even hyperactive/talking too much. By noticing and managing what is happening to my body and breath, my mind then becomes clearer and I am able to process thoughts easier. I am also able to access thoughts from a much more 'stable' place. I draw upon this 'check in' most days and it is always my first port of call when I am experiencing a panic attack or distressing event.
Thirdly, I find the way you listen to me to be counted as a 'specific'. I notice you listen to what I am saying and then take what I have said but put your own interpretation into it, which in turn, allows me to think of things from a new perspective whilst still maintaining my own ideas. This is vital for me as I did not feel I had ever been heard until I began my work with you. Yes, people had listened, but nobody had actually taken my thoughts on board and combined them with their own - more so just pushed their own agenda/s into the conversation. To be in such a 'complimentary' therapeutic relationship has really opened up my way of thinking on so many levels - and it all starts with you truly listening to me.
Fourthly, I find it extremely helpful that you support me in a way that helps me to feel relaxed. For example, I have never ever found your tone of voice to be aggressive or overbearing. You are very gently spoken but also assertive when needed. Even in the assertive moments, I have still felt relaxed and comfortable enough to 'go with' whatever we are discussing at that particular moment. You have never been loud or dull/monotone. You have a wonderful way of expressing ideas and deliver them in a uniquely soft but strong manner. I have found this to be very powerful, as before our work together, I believed that to be assertive you had to be loud and domineering.
I have learnt an awful lot in the way in which you speak.
Finally, (I could go on for days haha!) I have found it helpful that you never judge me - even when I feel like I am being judged - I know that is coming from me. You have never once shown me judgement or blame. You are alongside me in the darkest moments, and because I know this fact, I am often never afraid to share or express how I am feeling.
I know this is of utmost importance to me as throughout my whole life I have been afraid to say how I truly feel.
Administratively speaking - I never feel rushed. The timings of our sessions are perfect. You and I both usually know when things are drawing to a natural close, but I cannot think of a time when I have ever felt rushed or pressured to end the session. We always address finance and other practicalities which I find very helpful as it helps me to feel like we have ''done a day's work'' and I in turn, feel a sense of achievement.
What difference is it making to you and what changes has it enabled you to make?
Well.....I do not even know where to begin with this one. I am aware of the tendencies of clients to 'idealise' the therapist, however, I feel had we not done this work together I do not know where I would be.
You have given me a chance I never knew I had. A chance to work with myself and for myself.
I have changed my outlook on so many aspects of my life. In a way, our work together has shown me a whole new world of 'Emma' that I didn't know existed.
You have shown me true kindness and compassion throughout our work together which has enabled me to see that not everyone wants to hurt me, not everyone gives something for a favour in return, and people can be trusted.
I think you were the first person besides my nana, who I have ever trusted wholly.
I am now embarking on a degree and a career that I never could have imagined, yet somehow I feel it was in me all along. When I think back to that first phone call I made to you, I can remember it like it was yesterday (oh dear, here come the tears). I was a frightened mess of a person but somehow you recognised the strength in me and here I am today, beginning to recognise it for myself.
I have changed the way in which I assert myself, I have changed my boundaries around my family and friends. And the most important change I can think of is I have changed the fact that I am now getting used to the idea that it is okay not to be okay, it is okay to not have all the answers, and it is okay to be vulnerable. Ironically, I have found it is these things that are giving me more confidence as time goes on.
I have found the work transformative on so many levels, it has been extremely tough going and I imagine there will of course be tough challenges in the future. But you have helped me in understanding my past and understanding who I am today and who I am becoming.
Our work together has also demonstrated to me the 'fluidity' of life and how that is not a bad thing, it is how we manage it that is important.
Our work also supports me on a daily basis. I have found the 'end result' to become of less importance, more so putting into practice what I have learnt leads to more learning and this is the beauty and 'magic' of it - there is always such wonderful things to learn!
You seem to know exactly what resources are suitable, and there is not one document/video you have sent on that hasn't made me go 'oh wow that's exactly up my street'.
You understand my language and just in that fact alone - has supported me in changing. I have changed because I have been understood.
A major change I am making is knowing when to ask for help and knowing that it is okay to ask for help. I have found reactions from people to be very surprising when I have communicated my needs to them, they have been supportive and open to help. I have learnt who to go to and who not to go to. This is extremely important.
What has been the impact on your relationships?
My relationships overall have become healthier all round. I cannot believe it now I am actually writing it down.
I have strong friendships with people such as Daniel for example - a person I'd never in a million years thought of having a friendship with! I am finding my friendships becoming very stable and 'solid' if you like. I am noticing a real sense of unity within my friendships and it gives me a very warm feeling.
I have now come to the opinion that great relationships take time, effort from both parties, and clear and honest communication.
I am learning where to put in boundaries. And if I cannot put in boundaries, I am learning to ask myself why and explore the relationship further.
I have a stronger connection to my father, which for me, is something I would have only dreamed of.
I am accepting of the fact that my mother is who she is, but we share a great love all the same.
I am learning that relationships for me should be on my terms but I am and will be open to others. If they cross my boundaries, or don't suit me, I do not need to be rude or hide away. I can communicate my feelings and if they are not heard, then that is up to the other person and I can still continue my life.
I wish I had the chance to carry on my relationship/s with my Grandmothers, they were both such special and wonderful women. And actually one of my Nanny's told all this stuff but I never really listened. I hope I can make her proud now wherever she is and one day show her ''yes Nanny - look at me in all these healthy relationships!' haha :)
I have learnt what is okay for me and what isn't in relationships.
I don't feel I am at the stage where I would like to be involved with anyone romantically, in fact, I seem to have gone off the idea altogether. But from our conversations, I recognise this is not quite the attitude to have and maybe in the near future, I can explore my resistance.
I have also come to the understanding that not all relationships are that great, and that is life. To 'lose' someone is not always a bad thing, it means I am choosing what is right for me.
If a relationship isn't working (family or otherwise) I would now look to ways to address the problems, and if the problems cannot be addressed in a way that suits me or the other person, then it would be time to take some space or walk away. Or at least begin by putting boundaries in that are right for me.
Can you highlight one or two critical moments which were particularly significant?
One moment that has stood out for me, and will do for the rest of my life, was when we were discussing the abuse I had suffered, in particular the childhood sexual abuse and rape.
I remember really crying and you were asking me 'what would you say now' and so on. It was very back and forth between us, but this was because the moment of pain was being held and managed in such a way that it allowed me to heal a part of myself. After this moment, I felt such a release. It's funny because I can even feel that moment now as I am typing!
I will never forget it.
You were present with me and I could really feel the 'energy' that was changing in me and also the energy in which the pain was going between both you and me.
I also remember the time when I told you I was pregnant. Again, as I am typing, I can remember it like it was yesterday!
For the first time ever, I understood what it was like to truly not be judged, punished or blamed for something that normally, I would have. I remember feeling such a 'lightness' in me, as you had told me it was okay and that I had done nothing wrong. I remember thinking ''oh - this is how it feels to be treated with respect and care'.
What could we do differently to be even more effective?
I don't think there is anything in particular that I would change in the actual way we work together.
I would like to work a bit more on my anxiety and confidence. I did a practise session with a client (a real life one!!) and although the observer said the questions and interpretations I made were brave and fantastic, it was also noted that I was anxious. I didn't look at this as a negative (what a strange thing for me!) but I really would like to learn what I can do about that and am excited to do some work on that within myself.
But as for the overall work/effectiveness I can't really think of anything in particular.
I hope I have put everything across as best I can, I am worried I may have missed something because overall, you have changed my life in ways I would not have thought possible.
However, I realise that actually I have done that myself but without the support of somebody like yourself, it would not have been possible.
I have tried various therapists as you know, but I find you have such a unique way of working that my 'transformations' really shouldn't all be put down to my own work.
I know my 'life' isn't an easy thing to handle, but you have approached it with such gentleness and strength that I will forever be grateful and feel very blessed.
It's brilliant the aftercare I receive and the care in between sessions, it really makes me feel extremely valued and is helpful each time.
I could not have asked for better results from your coaching of me.
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