The Consultation

By Brian Robinson.

“Come in Mrs Adams. Please, take a seat. Can I call you Susan? Mrs Adams sounds so formal.”

“I’d rather you didn’t.”

“I understand. That’s not a problem. Okay, so I know roughly why you’ve asked for therapy. You’ve already spoken a bit about that. This first session will concentrate on assessment. We have to quantify the problem first. Then figure out how to deal with it. I’m sure there will be ways we can help.

Now you’ve mentioned about a trauma you suffered as a child. Could you tell me a bit more about that?”

“Well, when I was a young girl my father sexually abused me. It started when I was about eleven. And it carried on until I was fourteen. He did some disgusting things to me. And he made me do some disgusting things to him. I’ve had to live with that ever since.”

“I see. That must have been difficult. Tell me a bit about your thoughts now. What things go through your head? What feelings are current?”

“What’s in my head is revenge. I want him to pay for what he’s done. But what I feel is guilt. He’s my dad. Children shouldn’t feel that way about their dad. I’m chewed up inside.”

“Okay, well that sounds completely understandable. We’re going to have to process this and I’m sure that will take some time. But don’t worry. We can do that. In the meantime, can I suggest a way to help with this internal conflict. Think about splitting your father in two. You can love the person who read you stories at night, who fed and cared for you: and you can at the same time dislike the person who abused you. It is possible to love and dislike a person at the same time. There is no conflict in that. Dividing someone in two is a great way to overcome these conflicting emotions.”

“I don’t dislike him: I hate him.”

“Well, hate is a strong word. But I’m not going to argue about that. Think about what I’ve said over the next few days, and we’ll talk again in a week.

“I’ve seen a few murders in my time, but I’ve never seen anything quite like this. Our victim has been hacked to death. Poor bastard!”

“And the murder weapon? An axe maybe? Something heavy and sharp.”

“Could be! I don’t know. But whatever it was, they’ve literally tried to cut him in two.”

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