Christine met Cheryl very soon after Cheryl had been released from a psychiatric unit.
Cheryl was resistant to working with anyone and did not trust a soul; so she challenged and confronted and questioned me deeply and incessantly. I stuck with her recognising how difficult it is when a new person comes in to your life suggesting they may be able to make a difference.
Cheryl was remarkably intelligent and insightful but had some very deeply seated issues created by her convoluted and difficult life experiences and we had to start and stay deep for a long time.
We started with a trip to the Tate Modern reflecting on reflecting and internal and external experiences. We pretty much battled so that she could see and I could show enough evidence that I could ‘hold’ what Cheryl wanted to ‘offload’. This was not a threat in any way but it was difficult and a super learning process for me as well.
Cheryl and I would meet 2/3 times per week and participate in casual informal therapy-she was completely resistant to any formal help even though this was of course on offer.
Movement began as we looked at her rather intense and unhealthy relationship with her high achieving but emotionally immature mother. Cheryl was an only child to a single parent. Her mother had substance misuse issues with alcohol and Cheryl was still experimenting with illegal substances. Her mother had had serious surgery after a car accident which Cheryl was in and Cheryl had had to deal with very mixed emotions about this dramatic incident.
We did a lot of work around the possible consequences and the neuro/chemo/biology of the brain and the drug’s effects. We did some work around Cheryl coming out as bi-sexual and we worked to try to make Cheryl’s living environment better and healthier.
She house shared with another person I worked with and the Ying/Yang polar opposites of these women taught them a lot as they attempted to work towards health and well being together.
Cheryl progressed and moved forward remarkably fast with a ‘holding maternal figure who expected so little back’; this had not been her journey historically. She was expected to be such a high achiever that the pressure from her own internalized mother and in the external real world had often been too much to cope with.
We looked at healthier coping mechanism and strengthening her own sense of self without the identity of her pressurizing mother getting in the way.
With my help and with her own growing confidence Cheryl travelled doing voluntary and charity work in South East Asia. She returned and went to college. She then had a serious health issue but she now had the resilience and the strength to even continue taking her exams with support.
She is now in her own flat with some work and I believe has high hopes of actually applying her exceptional competencies when she is ready. Her drug use is measured and assessed and she is still in contact with me.