Counselling Conversations
...turning things around

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I heard this week of a young woman who had killed herself, from a colleague who is a friend of their mother. This tragedy of a life lost and family bereaved, impacts as all such tragedies do, way beyond the bounds of those directly involved.

It was a familiar story of an apparently happy and successful young woman, whose hidden distress and pain could ultimately find no resolution in the world. As always on the outside it is easy to see the waste, the possibilities of different lives that were available. What is harder, is to accept the pain and distress of the world that some young people live in. It is often a world where self-harm, in this case to the point of self-annihilation, gives a sense of control and meaning. Yet acceptance from somebody else that this is how the world is for them, is almost certainly what the person needs to find if they are to find a way forward and avoid self-destruction.

For those who go through the experience of a child' self destruction, the parent's feelings are inevitably complex, often involving huge amounts of guilt as well as questions of what, if anything,  might have been done differently.  Making sense of a child who is separate and increasingly responsible for their own life as they grow up is always a challenge and a path which parents tend to navigate with varying degrees of difficulty.  For those who's children's separateness and responsibility includes acts of self destruction by their children, the pain can feel unbearable and making sense near impossible.  However, even though this is hard to do,  people can manage it in their own ways, sometimes with outside help, sometimes not.  What is important is that they find someone to talk to; someone to listen; someone who will not forget the pain; someone who will accept it; someone who will allow them to unburden themselves, in order to find a way forward.

In the end both child and parent need the same things that we all do if we are to move forwards through painful experiences and live a life: a sense of acceptance and being understood by someone, and to see a way forward within a conversation that respects us and our capacity, to not only cope with life in all its terrors and horrors, but to grow beyond where we have been. Providing a space of where it is safe to feel and to move forward in one’s own time, to people who want it, is what we are aiming to offer at Counselling Conversations in its new home in Stockbridge. The hope is that people who need this space will find it here and use it to help them find their way. It is why we are here.

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