Case History of Counselling and Therapy Sessions

~ Sarah

Sarah is a bright middle-woman who sought counselling to assist with difficulties she was experiencing with over spending and balancing the family budget. Her carefree attitude and apparent taste for expensive items, caused many problems to surface in relationship with her husband who was concerned that her spending was effecting the family’s financial security.

Moving further into Sarah’s difficulties, it was ascertained that Sarah came from an impoverished childhood and she struggled to secure her own personal identity or needs within the boundaries of strict parental controls and financial limitations. She often experienced feelings of being ‘unworthy’ of receiving ‘the good things of life’ and this often made her feel she was not good enough or that others were ‘better’ in some way than she was.

The pressures of self preservation, coupled with her father’s need to run the household with a stern, abusive and overbearing attitude, forced Sarah out of the family at an early age in an effort to try and establish a more independent and less restrictive lifestyle.


The difficulty that Sarah faces at this present time is to assimilate her feelings of restriction and limitation experienced by her at an early age. Her work towards integration, focuses upon her current spend-thrift behaviour and how this is potentially compensating for a lack of self-worth and independence. At the same time, we explore how her husband is portrayed as imposing these restrictions, which lead to heated arguments and relationship breakdown.

To establish self-responsibility and secure resources for personal growth, Sarah needs to explore these feelings of being compelled to overspend to feel a sense of self-worth, self- gratification and personal identity and how this behaviour is affecting those around her.


The work with Sarah moves towards removing a need to grasp from the outside world to feel her sense of self of by securing an understanding that her behaviour is a relentless source of pain, frustration and conflict.

Exploring Sarah’s issues, we arrive at a point where Sarah has counter balanced her behaviour by broadening her awareness and understanding that her drive to compensate her feelings of restrictions by spending is detrimental to a secure and happy family environment and not worth the risk of loosing. The trade-off to spend has been replaced by an understanding that her family may be put at risk financially and indirectly her children may suffer the same consequences as Sarah did as a child.