Monday, February 3, 2014

Case #56 - The little girl needs attention

Wendy spoke of wanting a partner. She was divorced, and ran a business. She talked about how impatient she was with her employees, and how she was very businesslike, and never showed her vulnerabilty. She contrasted this with the patience she recognised in me. 

I discussed issues of power with her - the ability to be businesslike and direct, the pleasure of being in control, being the boss.

She looked very sheepish as I was talking, fiddling with her hand…reminding me of a little girl. I asked her how young she felt - she said 10, and I asked her what happened when she was that age.

I asked about patience in her family. Her father had slapped her when she was 10 because her marks at school were going down. In fact, he regularly beat up her younger brother. But in public, he was a patient man, who had time for people.

I pointed out that the patience she saw in me as therapist might make her wary because the question was: would I explode like her father?

She agreed. She said the issue was she didn't have much trust in men. Her first husband was also impatient with her, only interested in what she could do for him. She said she just wanted to find another partner.

She revealed that the reason her grades went down was that she was at boarding school, and she was bullied very badly, very meanly. Her parents had no idea, and no interest. She felt very much alone.

I sat close to her, and spoke to her, recognising her sensitivity, her vulnerability, and in the place of being young, her need to be seen for who she was, rather than a part of someone else’s agenda. Someone interested in her struggles, rather than just achieving grades.

She started crying, softening even more. I declared my interested in her, without any agenda she should be anyone different. She seemed hungry for this kind of attention, and we sat there for some time, while I encouraged her to absorb this experience. 

I pointed out that this part of her needed care, attention, and to naturally grow up, before she had a stronger core with which to be in relationship. 

In Gestalt we dont just go with the client’s presenting issue - what is also important is what I am aware of as the therapist - something they may not be in touch with at all. We then bring that fully into present awareness, and exlore the context - often family, but not always. Then that Field information is brought back into the present, and into the therapeutic relationship. 

Doing this provides here a clear therapeutic agenda, a process by which we could continue to work on the theme she originally presented - wanting another partner. 

No comments:

Post a Comment

© Lifeworks 2012


Who is this blog for?

These case examples are for therapists, students and those working in the helping professions. The purpose is to show how the Gestalt approach works in practice, linking theory with clinical challenges.

Because this is aimed at a professional audience, the blog is available by subscription. Please enter your email address to receive free blog updates every time a new entry is added.

Gestalt therapy sessions

For personal therapy with me:

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

© Lifeworks 2012




Informed Consent & Rates


Gestalt Therapy Defined





Book:Advice for Men about Women


• English






Greek ελληνικά

Hindi हिंदी








Russian Русский

Serbian српски

Chinese 中文

Japanese 日本語

Arabic العربية

English Bahasa České Deutsch Español Filipino Français ελληνικά हिंदी Magyar Melayu Italiano 한국의 Polski Português Română Русский српски 中文 日本語 العربية

If you are interested in following my travels/adventures in the course of my teaching work around the world, feel free to follow my Facebook Page!


This Gestalt therapy blog is translated into multiple languages. You are welcome to subscribe


Interested in Gestalt Therapy training?

Contact Us


Career Decision Coaching


and here


Gestalt training and much more

For Men

Here is a dedicated site for my book Understanding the Woman in Your Life

The Unvirtues

A site dedicated to this novel approach to the dynamics of self interest in relationship

Learn Gestalt

A site with Gestalt training professional development videos, available for CE points

We help people live more authentically

Want more? See the Archives column here

Gestalt therapy demonstration sessions

Touching pain and anger: (40m)

Permission to feel: (54m)

Marriage after 50: (1h 17m)

Serafina - Angel wings: (45m)

Barb Wire Tattoo: (37m)

A natural empath; vibrating with joy: (39m)

Dealing with a metal spider: (51m)

Interactive group: (1h 57m)