Medium 9781912573011

Before You Let the Sun In

Views: 107
Ratings: (0)

This book consists of ten case histories that cover a wide range of themes from obesity to depression. One woman is trying to come to grips with past memories, another cannot escape from a passionate love with no future, an adolescent immigrant is trying to overcome a persistent stammer, a fifty-year-old man decides to separate from the love of his life rather than compromise with his principles. Writing in the first person, the dramatherapist describes her reactions to and interaction with the client as well as some of the techniques used in the therapeutic process. The stories are based on real cases, but in order to conform to the story-telling genre they contain a beginning, middle and end, which is not always the case in real life.

List price: $14.99

Your Price: $11.99

You Save: 20%

Remix
Remove
 

10 Chapters

Format Buy Remix

Chapter One: Dancing with Demons

ePub

Dancing with demons

I was sitting in my Athens office one overcast day in late February when Laura phoned me. She had a flat unemotional voice. “Do you deal with people who are overweight?” she said plainly.

I said that I did deal with people who were overweight, which was a slight misrepresentation of the truth, as I was only just embarking on my PhD in dramatherapy with overweight women. So, her call came as a positive omen. We made an appointment for the next day.

On the phone she had given me no idea of her current weight. She could have been anything from 60 to 160 kilos. So, I was prepared for anything. When I saw her framed in the doorway in a rather masculine mackintosh, I had the feeling I was facing a wall. She was plain and unmade-up, with a solemn face. It wasn't until we were in my office and she lowered herself into the armchair opposite me that I realised just how big she was. I guessed she must have been about 120 kilos. In fact, I was out by 23 kilos. She informed me that she was 143.

 

Chapter Two: Lily Among the Thorns

ePub

Lily among the thorns

“I warn you,” Sandra said. “She doesn't mince her words. She'll quickly let you know if she thinks you're not doing your job properly.”

“Thanks for the warning,” I said. “But she won't be the first.”

“I think you'll find that she's quite unique. You'll be her third therapist. She accused me of being too controlling…that I reminded her of her mother. I'll say no more. It's up to you. I've given her your name and phone number. So, she'll probably contact you. I just thought with your experience, you'd be the best person to handle her. I have to confess I found her a bit of a handful. More than I could deal with really.”

“She sounds interesting.”

“Don't let her appearance fool you. She may look like a flower but she can sprout thorns as fast as a snake can bite.”

“I'm dying to meet her.”

Lily did indeed resemble a flower, a long-stemmed lily with orange petals and golden stamens. Her streaked reddish blonde hair was pulled back off her face and hung girlishly over the nape of her neck. She was immaculately made up, adorned in faux bijoux and wearing a subtle perfume, completing the image I had formed of her from Sandra's brief description.

 

Chapter Three: Before You Let the Sun In

ePub

Before you let the sun in

I warmed to Enver from the very moment I met him. There was something so vulnerable about him. He was quite short for his age and was very thin and pale. He looked fragile and needed to be handled with extra care. His brown fawn-like eyes were not those of someone who had learnt to survive in a tough world but of someone who didn't want to accept how tough the world really was. There was a certain naivety about Enver that told me that here was an innocent child still unspoiled by the need to present a hard exterior. He wore plain clothes that were immaculately clean and smoothly ironed, not in the state one normally associates with adolescents of his age. Only his tousled unkempt hair reminded me that he was a teenager.

On that first day he had come with his mother, an attractive well-spoken Albanian woman. She cleaned houses and looked after old people. At the time she and her husband were doing well financially, earning ten times what they could earn back home in Albania. We had met one day as I was walking the dog. She had admired him and we got talking. After that, we always exchanged a few words or had a short chat in the street whenever we met.

 

Chapter Four: Eyed Like a Peacock

ePub

Eyed like a peacock

It was hard to believe that this imposing dyed blonde with the stunning green eyes and strong, almost manly, features could be utterly paralysed by fear, a fear without apparent cause or agent. Yet, such cases are not uncommon. The victim is overcome by a total lack of control over their rational being. Their defence systems collapse, leaving them feeling powerless, exposed to all the negative forces around and within them. The somatic reactions are so strong that the sufferer may feel on the point of death or as if they are about to have a massive heart attack.

Iris, however, showed none of these symptoms as she strode through the doorway into the hall. She was immaculately dressed in a green chiffon minidress that struck me as slightly inappropriate for a woman in her mid-forties. She was a secretary in a small electronics firm. Yet, she had the appearance of a hostess on an afternoon TV chat show, giving off an air of overweening confidence, which seemed very much at odds with the psychological condition she had briefly described to me on the phone.

 

Chapter Five: The Woman Who Loved Stories

ePub

The woman who loved stories

Reality often appears to be at variance with myth and fairytale. David seldom defeats the giant. Little Red Riding Hood may survive her encounter with the wolf, but his long teeth and big eyes are likely to haunt her for the rest of her life. So, why do myths and fairytales fascinate us? Are they a means of restoring our sense of justice? Do they present the world in a way that makes sense to our ordered minds? Or has it nothing to do with logic at all? Since time out of mind, man has had a need for stories, both to record events and entertain, but also perhaps to heal or at least alleviate the pain and hardship of life. Aren't delirium and delusion extreme forms of creative invention, in which the mind distorts reality, coping devices engineered by the brain to enable us to survive in a heartless environment? Fantasy takes the edge off reality, which is often too painful to bear in its unadulterated form.

In my work as a therapist I have frequent recourse to myths and fairytales. As Marie-Louise von Franz put it, “The fairytale is like the sea, whereas myths are like the waves on the sea,” the one rising out of and dipping back into the other. While myths are the crystallisation of man's image of himself and his knowledge of the world, fairytales are the embodiment of our emotional world, our fears, our hopes, our longings. As with any story we read, the backdrop is always ourselves and our lives. If it were not so, how could the same story elicit such diverse interpretations and varied reactions? We impose ourselves and our experiences on every story we read and interpret it accordingly.

 

Chapter Six: The Fruit of Love

ePub

The fruit of love

Vana was twenty-nine when she first came to see me. She was not beautiful in a classical sense. In fact, there was something rather unsymmetrical about her face. She was, what one might call, a belle-laide, but it was an interesting face, with a story to tell. She dressed modestly, in good taste. Her eyes were timid, lacking in self-confidence.

Beneath her expansive smile, I noticed at once a kind of sadness. She said little and I had to coax information out of her. I wasn't sure why she had come to see me. Perhaps she was not completely sure herself. I could see, however, that she was looking for help of some sort, possibly just to disentangle confused emotions and thoughts. She sat down in the chair opposite me, her knees pressed tightly together, both hands entwined in her lap. She remained upright, her back rigidly straight.

“Why have you come to see me?” I asked tentatively.

“I'm not sure. Perhaps it was silly of me to come.”

“I expect there was a reason and often taking the first step is the most difficult part.”

 

Chapter Seven: Thirteen Stars in the Night Sky

ePub

Thirteen stars in the night sky

Once upon a time there lived a young duck called Athena. She was not much older than a duckling, really. Anyway, one day her mother said that she must marry a drake from the village. He was many years older than Athena and she didn't love him, but she couldn't say no to her mother, who decided on all things important in the home. And so, she married the drake.

But Athena was not happy. She wanted to be out playing with her friends, not looking after a drake twice her age. During the day she followed him around doing whatever he told her. At night she dreamt of being a duckling again and longed for all the fun she was missing.

One day something wonderful happened. She laid a beautiful white egg with dark brown spots. It was a magnificent egg and she fell in love with it the moment she set eyes on it. She stared at it in wonder all day long, sometimes stroking it with one wing. Not really knowing what to do with it, she decided to sit on it, as she had seen her mother do, in the hope that it would hatch out into a beautiful baby duckling. So, she made a nest under a bush and with her beak rolled the egg in under her belly.

 

Chapter Eight: The Woman Who Keeps Coming Back

ePub

The woman who keeps coming back

Cleo is not a beautiful woman. Her features are non-descript; mousy brown hair, dull brown eyes, and a featureless pale face. She is the kind of person you wouldn't look twice at if you passed her in the street. She can have an attractive body, though she seldom shows it off. Her weight, like her psychological condition, has swung from an anorexic forty-five to a plump seventy-five kilos.

The first time I met her was in early April sixteen years ago. It was cold, more winter than spring, with dark clouds blocking out the sunlight, making everything a dull monotone grey. She was wearing a slightly faded light blue cotton dress done up to the neck. One button was undone, I remember, halfway down. Over her shoulders was draped a navy blue cardigan. She was rather overweight and her ample breasts sagged gracelessly over her slightly bulging tummy. There was no indication of the wealthy background I later discovered she came from.

There was a neglected look about her, like someone who had got up in a hurry and couldn't be bothered to glance in the mirror to check that her hair was in place and her dress buttoned up properly. It was not a studied neglect, the grunge look, popular among teenagers and students. It was as if she really didn't care. Her hair was straggly and unkempt and she wore no make-up. Her whole appearance seemed to say, “Think what you like of me. It's all the same to me.”

 

Chapter Nine: Il Gran Rifiuto

ePub

Il Gran Rifiuto

George had been referred to me by a psychiatrist colleague of mine. He had been having a few personal problems, she told me, and wished to discuss them with a counsellor. George was forty-nine, unmarried, and had recently qualified as a cardiologist. He rang me in early October, a time when people often feel the need for therapy. The summer holidays are over. Winter is approaching. The first chill in the air reminds us of the long lonely evenings ahead.

He worked during the day at a private clinic. So, it was late in the evening when he came to see me. It had been a warm day, the swansong of a dying summer. As I opened the door to him, the last rays of an orange sun were just disappearing behind the block of flats opposite my office building. At first glance, he looked like a man in his late twenties or early thirties and for a moment I thought he was not my client at all but a passer-by wishing to enquire about the centre. Then, I noticed something more mature around the eyes that told me he indeed was my prospective client.

 

Chapter Ten: Know Thyself

ePub

Know thyself

It struck me as strange that someone who had spent twenty years in a nunnery on an isolated hill ten kilometres outside Patra should want the services of a therapist. In her world of prayer and tranquillity, I assumed I would be redundant. Rhea was, as she informed me, a former nun, who had been a highly respected member of the all-women community in which she had lived.

Standing on the doorstep to my office building, Rhea confronted me like a burst of orange blossom, the bright sunlight appearing to radiate straight through her. When she stepped inside, I understood why. She was bony thin and her skin, stretched taut over the cheek bones, was almost diaphanous, revealing tiny blood vessels under the paper thin epidermis. She extended a sinewy hand, shyly, a timid smile revealing an array of well tended teeth.

She was wearing a pistachio-coloured dress that hugged her fragile frame. Her shoulders were a little rounded, suggesting a self-effacing humility acquired over time. She held her hands piously in front of her. When I indicated the armchair diagonally opposite mine, she sat down, but looked ill at ease. She seemed to perch rather than sit on the edge of the seat.

 

Details

Print Book
E-Books
Chapters

Format name
ePub
Encrypted
No
Sku
BPE0000267883
Isbn
9781912573042
File size
328 KB
Printing
Allowed
Copying
Allowed
Read aloud
Allowed
Format name
ePub
Encrypted
No
Printing
Allowed
Copying
Allowed
Read aloud
Allowed
Sku
In metadata
Isbn
In metadata
File size
In metadata