Client's Personal Experiences of Psychotherapy with Clean Language and Symbolic Modelling
"You may be familiar with the expression: “Hi my name is ... and I’m an alcoholic.” You may not be so familiar however with the phrase: “Hi my name is ... and I’m the wife of an alcoholic.” For me, however, that was the label that dominated my life for many, many years. That label determined who I was and how I felt. At the time I began psychotherapy, how I felt, in one sense, was pretty bad - I had suffered a seven month period of depression. And, yet in another sense, I didn’t feel anything, a kind of paralyse knowing I wanted to do something to feel alive again but not knowing what that something was.
Doing this work (or should I say having psychotherapy sessions, or should I say having art sessions; or should I say having visualisation sessions or should I say magic sessions...) enabled me to reach decisions on a way forward for my life, as me, and no longer being defined by: ”Hi my name’s ... and I’m the wife of an alcoholic.”
The sessions were all of the things I have said above. Clean Language with Symbolic Modelling and the many ways of working we used in our sessions together meant each session was very different and yet, absolutely right for where I was at the time.
Sessions, where for example, we used a wardrobe analogy. Like taking all my clothes out of a wardrobe I wrote down all the things I was feeling on post-its and just like taking all your clothes out of a wardrobe they were scattered on the floor. At the end of that session I only put back into my “wardrobe” the things I wanted to keep and the rest I was able to throw away.
Or the session where, worried and anxious about the alcoholic in my life, I felt literally, split in two - one part of me in the session, the other part of me half a mile away watching over someone else. Oh the relief during that session of being able to bring myself together – to be at one with myself – to feel whole.
While each session may have been quite different nevertheless the result was always the same - issues were dealt with, I was clearer in my thinking and progress was made.
And the final session, whereby, walking across a floor, I was able to map out where I wanted to be in my life across a time span.That walk across the floor was my walk into a future. I have been able to put things in place that are making that future my here and now."
S., Belfast, 2010.
“I thought my life was destroyed. 'He' took my life and I learned how to get it back. Just talking with someone who's not putting their tuppence in - when they've no knowledge of the situation themselves - is so helpful. I'm a calmer person now, more logical, I appreciate life more."
E., Belfast, 2010
“I probably wouldn’t have dealt with the whole situation if I hadn’t talked it through. I felt as though a weight had been lifted from my shoulders and my mind. Instead of badness there was lightness and happiness.”
Irene, Belfast, 2007
“It helped me overcome the fear of standing up and doing a presentation in front of people."
Marlene, Belfast, 2007
“I’ve been my own therapist for a long time but it’s wonderful to be able to bring in expertise when I can’t crack it myself."
Louise, London, 2007