Medium 9781855755413

A Big and a Little One is Gone: Crisis Therapy with a Two-year-old Boy

Views: 379
Ratings: (0)

This is a story from inside the child psychologist's room. Victor, who is two and a half years old, has lost his mother and younger brother in a car accident. He is 'sunny and happy' and does not cry. He is a child in deep crisis and comes for a crisis therapy. In this book we will follow Victor for his fifteen treatment sessions. He shows through play and activities how he is followed and piloted through his grief by his therapist. The healing by play therapy is depicted in words and pictures out of the perspective of both patient and therapist. The crisis therapy will work as the first link into a new future. In spite of the tragic reasons for the meetings, A Big and a Little One is Gone is a documentary story which brings both hope and courage.

List price: $25.99

Your Price: $20.79

You Save: 20%

Remix
Remove
 

21 Slices

Format Buy Remix

CHAPTER ONE: It started with a phone call

ePub

One afternoon in the beginning of March our secretary answers a young man's telephone call. At the outset, she cannot understand what he is trying to say. The man is desperate and seems to be in a state of shock. The words are tumbling out of him. The secretary realizes that it would be risky to tell him to call back at the proper time for making appointments. She is afraid that he will hang up, so she asks him a few questions. This helps him focus his thoughts. He tells her briefly about the catastrophe that has befallen him:

“Car accident ... wife and baby dead ... alone with little son ... they say I should call you ... gave me a piece of paper with your phone number ... my son is two years old ... don't know what to do ...”

Suddenly he wants to end the conversation, and the secretary hurries to ask for his name and a telephone number where he can be reached. He gives his name, Fredrik, and a mobile telephone number. She asks him to repeat the number to be sure she has understood him correctly. She finishes the conversation by confirming for him that he has reached the Erica Foundation and that he will get a return call as soon as possible.Shortly thereafter, the secretary comes into the staff room. She is visibly shaken and holds up the note with the information from the phone call. She reads us the note and pleads, “Help them if you can!”

 

CHAPTER TWO: SOS! Session one: 7 March

ePub

They say my son needs help

A t the appointed time, Fredrik comes running up all five flights of stairs, carrying his son. The receptionist has told him where he can hang up their outdoor clothes. However, they are still fully dressed, wearing their caps and gloves, when they arrive at our rooms. Fredrik just could not bring himself to sit in the waiting room. He preferred to wait on the sidewalk outside instead. They are all bundled up, because it is a cold day and they have walked a long way. We ask them to come into the playroom where Fredrik, Jorge and I sit down in the easy chairs. Victor has buried himself inside his father's jacket and is crying softly. He is distraught and wants to go home.

Fredrik is a nice-looking man in his thirties. He looks as if he would be the sporty type under normal circumstances. Now he has lost sleep and has dark rings under his eyes. His blond hair is tousled and from time to time he just stares into space. He tries to coax his son to come out from under his clothes, but Victor refuses to budge. Fredrik tries to take off his jacket and says, while holding on to the boy, “Victor is never this shy. It's just that he feels weird in front of official people at official places.”

 

CHAPTER THREE: Session two: 9 March

ePub

Must I go on living?

Again Fredrik comes bounding up the stairs with his son on his arm. Before they reach the last steps, Victor leans out of his father's grip. He smiles and waves “happily” with his small hands, first to Jorge, then to me. All four of us go into the playroom and Fredrik starts to take off Victor's outdoor clothes. He is wearing brand new clothes today. When Fredrik has finished, Victor stands there in the middle of the room observing him.

When he sees that Fredrik shows no sign of either sitting down or taking off his coat, Victor moves closer to him. He is endearingly eager to make sure his father is doing all right. He motions to show Fredrik that he should remove his coat. He pulls at his jacket and grabs the lowest button, which is the only one he can reach. Fredrik removes his coat, but Victor wants him to take off his suit jacket as well, and he obeys. I take all their clothing and put it on the unoccupied easy chair. Fredrik takes out his mobile phone and turns it off. Victor notices this and seems pleased.

 

CHAPTER FOUR: Session three: 13 March

ePub

Hold my daddy's hand!

Today, both Fredrik and Victor look a bit more at peace when I see them coming up the stairs. Victor wants to climb the T last flight of stairs, a narrow one, by himself. Fredrik puts him down and he starts to climb, as little children do, one step at a time. He plants both feet on each stair step and holds on with both hands to the step above. It takes some time, but Victor manages. He looks around hesitatingly as he enters the playroom and asks immediately for Jorge. I remind him that Jorge is not going to be here today, as we told him earlier. Father and son also discussed this matter before they came today. Victor is obviously concerned about Jorge's absence and remains standing in the hallway.

I ask them to come into the playroom, because Victor is standing dangerously close to the stairway. His dad helps him take off his outdoor clothes and boots. However, Victor is much more interested in helping Fredrik to get out of his clothes. He reaches up on his tiptoes and pulls at Fredrik's coat, his scarf, and his gloves. When they are all off, Victor drags his own and his father's clothes to the chair where I put them last time. He wants things to be like theywere earlier. After pushing all the clothing together in a pile on the chair, he pats his dad's clothes and says softly, “It's okay. It's okay.” Victor sounds as if he is trying to console his father's coat. Fredrik excuses himself and says he needs to go to the restroom. I can see that he wants to give Victor the opportunity to be alone with me in the playroom. I tell Fredrik that he can sit where he wants to, in the other room, in the playroom or in the hall. When he returns from the restroom, he pokes his head into the playroom and says that he will sit and wait on a chair in the hall. As Fredrik closes the door, Victor is already engrossed in inspecting the toys he has not yet had time to see.

 

CHAPTER FIVE: Results of assessment and choice of treatment. Session four: 21 March

ePub

A “happy” and capable boy in shock

As we have decided, Fredrik comes to see me alone to find out the results of the psychological assessment. We need to discuss Victor's psychic condition and Fredrik's thoughts on whether I can be of further help to his son. As soon as we are seated in our chairs in the playroom, Fredrik asks, Can you tell me how Victor is doing? I mean, how he s really doing?

Victor has shown me a lot during the three sessions we have had. For one thing, he s really made it clear that he s eager to come here, both for his own sake and for yours, I answer.

I summarize my impressions of Victor for Fredrik. Victor is a capable and harmonious boy to the core. He shows all the characteristics of a child who is surrounded by a loving family and given plenty of stimulation. He is sweet, full of initiative, curious, and easy to like. Victor speaks well and has learned many difficult words. Based on what I observe, I can guess that many people treat him as if he were an older child, even though he's in nappies and not especially tall for his age.Fredrik nods and says, “I also tend to forget, sometimes, that he's only two years old.”

 

CHAPTER SIX: Therapy starts. Session five: 28 March

ePub

Gingersnaps make you nice

Fredrik comes up the stairs carrying Victor until they are on the uppermost flight and Victor wants to get down. He climbs the last few steps on his own with his new navy blue backpack on his back. Since Fredrik came to the last session alone, it has now been two weeks since Victor was here last. He looks hesitant as he comes up and he needs a little time to recognize everything. We go into the playroom and Fredrik removes two pairs of trousers from Victor as well as two sweaters and a jacket. Now he can move about more freely.

Today there is a snowstorm and the wind is howling outside the windows. Victor's cheeks are rosy after his trip in the stroller. Jorge is in the other room, where we have agreed that he will wait at the beginning of each session. After spending a little time in the playroom Fredrik makes a move to join him. Victor's lower lip starts to quiver and he looks enquiringly from his father to me, so I suggest, “We can go with dad into the other room. Would you like that?”

 

CHAPTER SEVEN: Session six: 4 April

ePub

Little brother have a daddy?

As they come up the stairs today, Victor is hanging over Fredrik's shoulder. It looks as if he has been sleeping in the stroller on their way here, and has just been awakened. He is sleepy-eyed and his blond hair is wet with perspiration under his cap. Fredrik tries to remove Victor's outdoor clothes but Victor has his own ideas. He insists on keeping his boots on while Fredrik pulls his snow trousers off. He repeatedly refuses to see that this will not work. Fredrik is tired but patient as he explains that the boots are too big and the trouser legs too narrow.

Under ordinary circumstances, such stubbornness, as is typical for a two-year-old, might be expected to lead to a bad scene between father and son. Here is Victor, stubbornly refusing to admit that his father is right. However, Fredrik keeps coaxing Victor to cooperate and after a little while he succeeds. He tells his son that he can put on his boots again as soon as his trousers are off. The weather is getting a little warmer now, but Victor is still bundled up for winter. This might be because Fredrik himself is freezing, inside as well as out.When Victor is fully awake, and he is so rather quickly, he runs into dad's room, as he calls Jorge's room. He walks up to the chair he considers to be Fredrik's, takes a good look at it and pats the seat as if he is dusting it. His dad gets the message right away and sits down in that very chair. Jorge sits down as well and Victor and I go into our room.

 

CHAPTER EIGHT: Session seven: 11 April

ePub

Villa Villekulla is a fortress

We can hear Victor chirping and chatting with Fredrik all W the way from the bottom of the stairs. As soon as they climb the last step, he greets us with a hearty “hi” and, in the best of spirits, marches into the playroom with his father in tow. Today there is spring in the air and it is wet and slushy outside. Victor fell on his way here, when he tried to push the stroller himself, and the seat of his trousers is wet. Fredrik removes all his winter clothes and checks his nappy. He finds that only the two outer trousers are soaked through. Victor makes no objections about taking off his wraps and is eager to start today's work. I hang his trousers on the radiator to dry during our session.

Just like last time, Victor wants to keep his boots on even though he has to put up with being clumsy as a result. He cannot do things in quite the hurry or trot around as freely as he would like. He is endearingly cute in his boots, rolled up jeans and a belt around his chubby little tummy and nappied bottom. Victor looks very much in charge, which shows me that he feels at home and enjoys coming to his sessions. He makes his usual inspection round in Jorge'sroom, and Fredrik follows him. He takes a good look at his dad's chair and brushes it off. Seeing that Jorge is in his place as usual and ready to talk to his father, Victor makes funny faces at him. Then he addresses the two of them, “Bye now, we go to our room.”

 

CHAPTER NINE: Therapy continues. Session eight: 18 April

ePub

Hello, hello, you dead ones!

Today the secretary calls from the waiting room fifteen minutes early and asks if it would be all right for Victor and T Fredrik to come up. She senses that the wait will be too much for them. This time only Victor and I have an appointment. Jorge is not at work. In order not to let too much time elapse between sessions, we have set up this appointment for Victor today even though the institute is otherwise closed for Easter break. The big building feels empty and deserted. This feeling, and the fact that Jorge is not here, have put both Fredrik and Victor on edge.

It is important to start and end each therapy session exactly at the set time, as this helps to establish consistent frames around the work. However, I can hear from the secretary's tone that they need to be seen at once. They are both red-eyed from crying, she says. They arrive instantaneously and, as always, I marvel at how fast Fredrik manages to run up all the stairs.

 

CHAPTER TEN: Session nine: 25 April

ePub

Double up with the twins

Today I have to run an errand shortly before the session with Fredrik and Victor, so I pass through the waiting room on T my way back. They have arrived in plenty of time. Victor is sitting on the floor fiddling with some cars. Fredrik is standing beside him with one foot resting on a wooden bench. He looks tired and sad. If he takes off his outdoor clothes and sinks into a chair, it may not be possible for him to get up again and mount all the stairs. Victor lights up when he sees me, runs up to me at once, and asks curiously, “You doing here?”

“I had to run an errand. Now we'll go up to our room.” Victor is happy and exclaims to everyone in the waiting room, “We start now. She said so!”

Victor starts climbing the stairs on his own, holding Fredrik's hand. We naturally have to let this take its time and Victor needs to concentrate on the steps and the banister, so Fredrik and I engage in small talk as we go. Fredrik tells me they take the bus to therapy now, round trip. Things are going better and better, especially now that the winter roads are clearing up. He also tells me that hisyounger brothers, the twins, visit Victor and him rather often. Yesterday evening they had sat up talking for a long time. After they left, Fredrik had a hard time getting to sleep, and that is why he is so unusually tired today. The stairs seem many and long today. Victor thinks so, too, and wants to be carried after three levels. I take Fredrik's computer bag and he carries his son.

 

CHAPTER ELEVEN: Session ten: 2 May

ePub

My auntie, my auntie

Today, some time elapses before Fredrik and Victor come up the stairs. Victor's Aunt Anna has picked him up at the day-T care centre and brought him here to the institute. Fredrik has met up with them in the waiting room on his way back from a doctor's appointment. Anna's little daughter has come along, but Victor has not paid any attention to her. Aunt Anna borrowed a double stroller, where the two children can sit beside each other. Victor had fallen asleep right away and did not wake up until they were inside the waiting room. At the sight of our receptionist, whom he knows well by now, he livens up and climbs out of the stroller.

When they arrive outside our rooms, Victor looks as if he has just woken up and he is rubbing his eyes. He dashes automatically towards Jorge´s room but is stopped by his father. Victor has a messy nappy and needs a change. Fredrik lifts the boy up and puts him on my desk. They both want to get the change over with quickly so they can start today's session. As Fredrik is lifting Victor down from the desk, Victor bumps his head on the sloping wall butseems to take no notice of it. Fredrik looks at his watch. He does not say anything, but it looks as if he is thinking that he has lost ten minutes of his time today. I go to dispose of the nappy and we are ready to start.

 

CHAPTER TWELVE: Session eleven: 9 May

ePub

Magical thoughts

As previously arranged, Victor and I are meeting as usual today, even though Jorge is not here. When I wanted to prepare Victor for this change at the end of the last session, he had already fallen asleep. However, Fredrik has told him that Jorge will be away today. Victor is joking and calling out my name in a whisper from far below on the stairs and I greet him in return, in the same sort of mock whisper. His dad carries him into the playroom and puts him down on the floor. Victor holds his hands cupped over his mouth as if stifling a laugh. Fredrik does not want to disturb us and says that he will sit and wait in a room next door.

I lead the way and show Fredrik a room they have not been in before, while Victor comes bouncing after us. He wants to see how the room looks where his dad is going to wait for us. It now seems more of a habit than a need for Victor to check out Fredrik's whereabouts. After a quick glance at the room, he says, “Bye now. We leave now. We go our room.”I also say goodbye to Fredrik and follow Victor, who asks about Jorge on our way into the playroom. He poses many questions at the same time, but without the same intensity as earlier.

 

CHAPTER THIRTEEN: Session twelve: 16 May

ePub

Dad in his own need is grateful

Today, Fredrik visits me alone to hear how Victor's healing process is going. The only appointment time I have been T able to offer him is after the end of the working day. Fredrik is early and has made himself comfortable in the waiting room, which is empty this time of the day. After I fetch him and we go into my room, the first thing he tells me is that his brothers have picked up Victor at day-care today. They are taking care of him while Fredrik is here and right now they have gone somewhere to get a hamburger.

Victor had spoken with his uncles on the phone yesterday about how much fun they were going to have. With dad's help, he phoned Anton first and then Johan. Fredrik laughs in amusement and is somewhat surprised at the way Victor is able to take on the family style as far as manners are concerned. Victor, he points out, now sees the twins as two separate individuals, even though he calls them “the twinnies”. Victor loves being with them and Fredrik says, “You know, they're the ones I can count on the most. They're the only relatives who can manage to keep their spirits up, at least somewhat. Well, I guess that's the good thing about being twins, isn't it? They're used to volleying with each other's mood swings. When Johan is down in the dumps, Anton usually cheers him up, and vice versa. Victor looks up to both of them and likes it best when he is on his own with them.”

 

CHAPTER FOURTEEN: Therapy nears a conclusion. Session thirteen: 23 May

ePub

Fun with pee pee and poopy

Today it is as warm, as in the height of summer. The sun is shining and the sky is blue. Victor is in a talkative mood and T we can hear how he chirps for himself and with his dad in the stairway. He looks absolutely adorable, dressed in summery new clothes. He is wearing a bright red baseball cap with the big brim hanging down over one ear. His new blue and white striped T-shirt was clean when he left home, but it has become dirty with sand from his morning play. Victor's hands are also sandy. Indeed, it appears that Fredrik has taken his son right out of the sandbox to bring him here. Victor is eager to report, “Daddy's got a baseball cap, too. It's green or black. It's not on him.”

“Oh, I see. So both of you have new summer caps,” I comment.

Victor beams with pride over his important new cap and wants to tell me more, “The twinnies have, too. They buyed in the shop.”

From what he is telling me so enthusiastically, I understand that the uncles bought four caps in different colours, so that each of the guys got one of his own. Victor is quite displeased that his dad left his cap on the shelf down in the waiting room. Fredrik prepares to leave for the other room, where Jorge is waiting for him as usual. As he stands up, he happens to bump into Victor's cap, causing the brim to slide down. Victor reacts immediately and scolds his father sharply, “Shame on you, daddy. What you think you doing?”

 

CHAPTER FIFTEEN: Session fourteen: 6 June

ePub

I want Erican forever and ever and ever

Last week I unfortunately had to cancel Victor's session because I was down with a bad cold. Fredrik did not come to see Jorge, either. We decided just to move the schedule forward by one week, so that they would still get their last two sessions. Today they are five minutes late. As they step into the playroom, Fredrik explains that they missed the bus. Victor had a tough time leaving his day-care today when everybody was outside playing and having fun. Both Fredrik and Victor have become more relaxed about getting here on time. Previously, it was absolutely crucial that they not lose a single second of the session.

A soft summer rain is falling outside. Victor is wearing his rubber boots, but his socks have somehow disappeared. His T-shirt is hanging down outside his trousers and he is clutching his cap in his hands. His clothes are not in such perfectly neat order as many times in the past. Again, he looks as if he has come here right out of the sandbox. His hands are sandy in spite of a quick wiping off. Victor has painted his nails with a red magic marker. Everything about him shows that he takes part in the activities at day-care and has fun doing so. He looks content.

 

CHAPTER SIXTEEN: Session fifteen: 13 June

ePub

Why we came here?

Victor and Fredrik are right on time today, even though they have had trouble getting here because of traffic delays and V jams. Victor looks as if he has just woken up. He has a new, trendy hairstyle that makes him look like a fashion-conscious schoolboy. Fredrik has both of their caps in his hand as they enter the playroom. Victor remains standing in the middle of the room, rubbing his eyes and complaining, “I'm thirsty.”

I suggest that we go together and get him a glass of water, but he wants me to go alone. When I return with the water, he does not want it and Fredrik drinks it instead.

As this is our last session, I think it is a good idea for Victor and me to accompany his dad into Jorge's room. I want Victor to see that everything is as it should be, so that he can feel at ease and take full advantage of this last session. Jorge greets father and son as usual and sits down in his easy chair. Victor, who is now wide awake, is keen to go back to the playroom. He scurries off, and after he has closed the door behind us, he says, “We take the blue bus today. The red's better. I mean it, I really do.”I respond matter-of-factly “Things are different today from how they usually are. You and dad had to take the blue bus instead of the red one. Another thing, this is the last time for you and me to meet. This is the last time for you and dad to take the bus to come here.”

 

CHAPTER SEVENTEEN: Therapy is over

ePub

It has helped, it really has!

The best medicine for a little child in crisis is loving care, and Victor has certainly had plenty of that. From a psychological T point of view, Fredrik has borne his son through his grief and is still doing so. People close to Victor have encouraged and respected his psychotherapy. Fredrik has also seen it as a matter of utmost importance to respect Victor's integrity.

Fredrik's and others’ respect has been essential because, after the accident, Victor was very quick to accommodate himself to what he perceived as other people's desires and needs. If he had sensed that people around him were sceptical about his therapy, he could not have benefited as much from it as he in fact did. Thus, it was necessary that Fredrik was given time to clarify for himself where he stood with regard to this kind of help. Once Fredrik had accepted it, going to therapy became a natural part of the weekly routine for him and Victor.

After the accident Victor went into high gear. He acted the clown, was hyperactive, and his “happy” manner seemed to intensify every day. The first time we talked to Fredrik, he told us that Victor had not once asked for his mother or little brother, or for his blankie.

 

CHAPTER EIGHTEEN: Four years later

ePub

A school boy

Fredrik came to see me at the end of the summer following F Victor's therapy. He had had a month's vacation, but instead of feeling rested by it, he felt a deep sense of loneliness. Victor was out of nappies during the day and managing it well. He had started to snuggle with a teddy bear at bedtime as a sort of replacement for the blankie that he lost in the accident. At this point Fredrik was worried that he would not have the strength to watch out for subtle signals that Victor might give about how he was feeling. He asked for some follow-up sessions and I agreed.

Over a period of three years, Fredrik and I met once every half-year, six times in all. Victor had his third, fourth and fifth birthdays. I have followed him indirectly via what Fredrik has told me and I have formed an idea of how he has developed. My impression is that he has been as healthy in mind and spirit as could possibly be expected under the circumstances. His development has picked up from where it was once disrupted and it has gone steadily forward.

 

Load more



Details

Print Book
E-Books
Slices

Format name
ePub
Encrypted
No
Sku
B000000036316
Isbn
9781780493930
File size
607 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