School of Life Studies Blog
The Holistic Counselling course is ideal for those of you whom would like to start a career as a professional therapist. If you are just starting your journey as a healer this foundation course is a must and can help you to discover which therapies you may wish to learn in the future. This course will be perfect for those of you that would like to begin their studies slowly with a certificate course prior to deciding whether to proceed with a Diploma level course.
Below is a case study that has been sent in by a student from The School of Life Studies
I have an office at my home that I have recently been decorating to make it more client friendly, comfortable and presentable. It won’t ever be my place of work but it is where I have been doing my case study sessions. Before my client arrived I made sure the room looked welcoming, it wasn’t too hot or cold, I had some quiet relaxing music playing in the background, loud enough to set an atmosphere but quiet enough so the client didn’t feel they had to struggle to speak over it. I positioned my chair to the side of where the client would sit. When my client arrived I offered her a glass of water and we filled out a printed version of the consultation card.
Although normally I would spend ten minutes on an introduction in the case I did already know my client so we spent the first ten minutes casually chatting and settling into each other’s company so the session did not seem so formal. I explained briefly what we were going to do over the period of the session and what they could expect from our time together today. We discussed the duration of the visit, what the treatment/consultation card was for and the assurance of confidentiality. I also went on to explain the qualification itself.
I assured my client that there would be plenty of time to find out what brings her to me today despite the amount of paper work we were filling out as I didn’t want her to become disheartened and begin to question the value of the session.
I asked my client ‘So what brings you here today?’.
No, obviously in this case it was a friend of mine who had come to visit to be a case study of mine, because of this she hadn’t taken much time on her own to really think about how valuable this session could be. She said she didn’t know. I then asked her if there was anything she felt a little frustrated with in her life at present or anything she wanted to talk about.
My client suffers with her weight and has done since about 2007. After a family member died she began to suffer with depression and as a result gained weight, however her father died in 2006 but she didn’t begin to gain weight until late 2007, when I asked her what happened in the time in between she told me she fell in love. By 2010 she had gained a total of 7 stone. In 2010 she had managed to lose all extra 7 stone and was so happy with herself but slowly she had begun to put it back on. She had now put 6 stone of it back on. She explained that no matter how hard she tried to lose weight, which she claimed she felt was quite easy she would always put it back on again. Losing weight was never the problem but maintaining her loss. She didn’t have a large skeleton so she knew she wasn’t meant to be heavier and felt so much healthier when she was smaller so she didn’t understand why her body insisted on packing the weight back on.
At this point I checked with the client that I fully understand what she was saying, and she confirmed I was correct. Her main concerns were controlling the weight, being unhealthy, being attractive to others and loving herself. I asked her if she could rate those concerns from most important to least.
I found this very interesting and controlling the weight was the most important thing, above being healthy, above being attractive and above loving herself, being able to control the weight was the most important. I asked her about the two times in her life she had lost gained the weight, she told me both times she had been out of work, both times she had been in a relationship and been happy-ish. We discussed what ‘happy-ish’ meant. She explained that both times she had been dated men, (different men) who were lovely people but never able to provide her with the support she felt she needed from them. She would give and give she said and they were extremely grateful but when she needed their support they didn’t have a clue how to provide it and so no matter how much time they spent together she always felt she was totally alone, like it was her against the world and she would have to be independent. As I had mentioned earlier, her father had died just before she began gaining weight. She told me how he had always been the life raft. She didn’t drive and so if ever she was stuck somewhere or needed someone she would call her father and he would turn up to save the day. When he was gone she was left with that same feeling of being alone and knowing from now on she had to do things alone.
After that I asked her two tell me about the two times she had been successful in losing a significant amount of weight, the first time was in 2010 and the second in 2012. Both times she had been single and busy. Once had a full time job and the other was a full time student. She told me how easy it had been for her, how she rarely got tempted to cheat on a diet, didn’t even need to hunt for motivation, it just came so easily to her once she had TRULY decided she was going to do it, and she would.
I asked her if she thought there was a connection there that she could see. She laughed and said she should always be single.
I asked her how she felt in the two relationships she had been in and she replied ‘scared, scared they would leave me, disappoint me, scared I would realise they didn’t make me happy and I’d have to be alone’.
I then asked her how she felt when she had been single the two times she had lost weight. ‘Really good actually, I was busy, I’d made lots of female friends which I never seem to do, I was happy and I didn’t feel scared to be alone.’
I then asked her to correct me if she thought I was wrong, but if she thought it was possible that she self-sabotaged?. She smiled and told me she knew for a fact that she did. I asked why and she said she didn’t know.
I shared a story with her about a study I had seen that showed a high statistic of babies who lived in incubators shortly after birth grow up to be overweight because it is a way of them keeping safe subconsciously. They put a wall (a layer of fat) between themselves and the outside world to feel safe. When I told her this story she started to cry and told me how she had always thought it was possible that she ate because she was frightened of dying how her father had so she ate to feel indestructible or at least that’s how she felt when she was bigger, she felt unattractive but solid and safe. When dating men she felt could provide equal support she was reminded of how alone she felt and ate more and more to feel indestructible and safe, when she was single and relying purely on herself she lost weight because she didn’t need to feel indestructible she told me.
I wanted to make sure we ended the session on a positive note so I asked her what she was thinking.
‘I’m thinking if I want to maintain my weight I need to feel safe and happy in my life and probably date a man who I feel provides me with the support I need’. She told me.
How does that make you feel? I asked her.
‘Good I think, yes good. I seem to go from relationship to relationship at the moment and it’s become a bit pointless like I have forgotten why I am doing it, it feels like I am dating for the sake of it. Now not only do I feel I have a good way to maintain my weight and motivation to lose my excess but I’m excited to be single for a bit and wait for someone who actually makes me feel really good about myself the way I need to.’
She seemed really happy and I was very pleased with how it had gone.
I assured her that we could work together to overcome this problem if she would allow us to. Although I didn’t feel that she was in present crisis I provided her with a list of crisis services and hotlines for when she was alone. I assured her that she could always reach me whether it is by answering machine or email, that I will respond briefly and she can discuss the stated concerns at the next meeting.
During the session I mirrored my client’s behavior and she seemed to respond very well to that, we also have a very similar vocal pitch and tone to it was easy to match my voice to hers.
Throughout the entire session I was careful with my language surround the topic of gaining weight. It is common sense that many people are body conscious not to mention conscious of their size and weight and discussing this and admitting lack of their own control can make people very anxious. Whenever discussing her ex-boyfriends my client stroked her neck, which was interesting and alerted me to the fact that she was uncomfortable discussing them.
HOLISTIC COUNSELLING FOUNDATION CERTIFICATE COURSE