Case History of Counselling and Therapy Sessions

~ David

David is a quietly spoken young man in his late twenties who experiences problems maintaining a stable relationship. His communication difficulties were a cause for concern as his previous relationships were often short lived with a pattern of frequent breakups for what he believed was for ‘no apparent reason.’

In turn, these failed relationships would leave David feeling distraught, lonely and struggling to come to terms with reasons ‘why.’ After many such episodes of repeated rejection and frustration, David sought counselling to assist in supporting his self-esteem and confidence that was by now at an all time low.

Moving further into David’s family history, he also revealed that a breakdown and separation had occurred at the age of seven when his mother had left the family home without explanation. This turn of events left David and his siblings struggling to survive in a dysfunctional relationship with an alcoholic father and little or no stable parental guidance.

With the mother leaving home, this affected David’s ability to trust others and subsequently to relate and communicate openly and honestly, without fear of rejection. As a teenager, this deep seated grief and loss surfaced once again, when his first real relationship ended abruptly, leaving David feeling despondent, rejected and deeply hurt.

Intervention

The difficulty that David faces at this present time is developing trust within his relationships. Due to his history of loss and feelings rejection, David now experiences all relationships with women, with an element of distrust and at times, resentment. His overall evaluation of friendships with women is to keep them at a distance, so as to protect him from feelings of loss and in effect provide a barrier to the inevitable pain and rejection that may occur.

It became obvious to the women that sought David’s company, that he was noncommittal and unavailable, his distancing behaviour and seemingly ‘unfeeling nature’ resulted in the inevitable breakup of the relationship, with David convinced that all women were the same and confirming his feelings of distrust. Directing blame for how he was feeling onto women was a common practice and the cycle of distancing, distrust, rejection and resentment would continue.

Outcome

Working with David, it was critical to allow his feelings of resentment and anger surface to alleviate the frustration he was feeling. His inability to understand why he was abandoned at a young age, was a focal point to process before any attempt to build trust could be established.

Through creative experiential role-play work with David, it became evident that in any relationship, David would always reject his partner first by keeping them at a distance as a defence mechanism, in case the opportunity to reject him became available.

As David’s awareness of his own defensiveness became apparent, he witnessed his own rejecting style of behaviour that resulted in an intense emotional response from within, a catharsis came after years of being unconscious of his behaviour. This awakening altered his perception of himself dramatically.

At this present time, David is aware that he may well encounter more rejection, as there are no guarantees in life, however, through self-awareness and learning to be more self supportive of his feelings , he is slowly releasing the pattern of the past and is opening to new meaningful relationships. From this new found re-evaluation of himself, David has decided to risk his feelings of rejection in an effort to move forward and is well on the way to healing.