15 Chapters
Medium 9781855753457

CHAPTER TWO: Douglas’s life history

Cleve, Elisabeth Karnac Books ePub

During the period of time it takes for Douglas to go through all the testing, Margareta and Gunnar visit Birgitta three times. To her, they describe their son’s life before and after adoption as well as their family situation right now. Margareta and Gunnar have known each other since their youth. They married early and looked forward to having a family. However, Margareta failed to become pregnant. They took a fertility test but it was not possible to determine the cause of their childlessness. After having been childless for ten years, they decided to apply to adopt a child. They were approved as adoptive parents. After a two-year wait, they were asked if they would like to adopt a little boy who did not have any parents.

The boy’s name was Ogar and he had been born to African parents in France. To start with, Margareta and Gunnar received photographs of him and a short description of his first years of life. After they had looked at the pictures, they asked to know more about the boy’s background. By mail, they received some documents prepared during the French adoption investigation, translated into Swedish. They read everything over and over again and had many discussions about whether they would be able to be good parents for this boy, who had suffered such deprivation. Both of them knew all along, despite all the discussions for and against, that they would give a positive reply and receive him as their son. They had a deep longing for a child and had already become attached to the cute brown boy in the pictures. He was said to be three years old. A short time before the adoption they found out that, in fact, he was one year older.

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CHAPTER ELEVEN: Has it been worth it?

Cleve, Elisabeth Karnac Books ePub

Douglas wants to know if this “therapy thing” really has I been worth it. Yes, that is a relevant question. To identify * -~ which effects various efforts have had on Douglas’s development is naturally not an easy matter. Apart from his parents and me, there have been many other people trying to help. However, in many ways, Douglas himself has shown that therapy has played an essential role in his life. It is my hope that readers have had a chance to form an opinion of their own on this matter, after following the boy through seven years.

I would like to shed some light on the question of whether it has been worth it by comparing Douglas’s way of functioning at the beginning and at the end of therapy.

By the time Douglas was seven years old, he had received a long series of diagnoses which had emotional, neuropsychiatric, somatic, and social causes. Because of his impulsivity his parents’ worst fears were that he could be killed in an accident or turn into a grown-up who went about provoking violence. Because of his violent behaviour he was forced to leave both his school and his soccer team. This had happened by the time he was eight years old. Douglas could not distinguish between his thoughts and actions. Indeed, they merged into each other and because of that he could not understand what his actual intentions really were. Other people also did not understand his ways of reacting, resulting in many misunderstandings and horror-stricken moments for the boy.

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CHAPTER SEVEN: The fourth year

Cleve, Elisabeth Karnac Books ePub

Where’ve you been all summer?

Douglas is ten years old when he returns from his summer vacation and is ready to start his fourth year in therapy. He is upset when he sees that some things at the institute have been changed and modernized. The waiting room has been redecorated and he finds it ugly. A newly employed girl in reception “asks strange questions” and my new hairstyle is the worst thing he has seen.

The room we moved back to during the previous term also has all the shortcomings and defects he can imagine. He has forgotten that we inspected it carefully several times before the summer break. He does not feel at all prepared for these changes and they disturb him greatly. Actually I needed to change the time for one of Douglas’s weekly sessions because my schedule at the institute has been changed. However, I refrain from doing so because it would be entirely too disconcerting for him. Douglas knew the waiting room was going to look different after the summer break, but he has still imagined it would look the same. He blares out, “I hate changes!”

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CHAPTER TEN: The seventh and last year of psychotherapy

Cleve, Elisabeth Karnac Books ePub

I want to talk with you

Douglas has turned thirteen when he starts his seventh and last year of therapy. He is a good-looking teenage boy when he returns from his summer holiday and I enjoy seeing him again. He has grown even more, his legs are longer, and he is quite a bit taller than the average boy his age. He comments on the new term by saying, “Weird how I’m here again. I just keep coming back.”

He has a new, flattering hair-style, which also makes him look older. All the hair on the sides is shaved so he only has a bunch of hair on top of his head.

He is quite appealing as he tells how the hair-style came about.

“Mum cut my hair ‘cause we were gunna go to a party. I guess she wanted me to look good ‘cause she didn’t wanna be ashamed of the family. She usually goes full throttle with the trimmer and shaves off most of the hair. If you’re lucky, you end up with a new hair-style.”

“Well, I suppose you were lucky this time.”

He agrees because he is pleased with the way he looks in his new hair-style. Both he and his parents think that the summer holiday has gone fairly well, calmer than in a long time. He recounts what he has been up to without joking about it or making things up.

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CHAPTER FOUR: The first year of psychotherapy

Cleve, Elisabeth Karnac Books ePub

Ugly and repulsive

Douglas is seven years old when he starts the individual psychotherapy that is going to last for the next seven years. His therapy will take place in the same room as the assessment sessions, four floors up in the building. In one part of the therapy room the sand tray and the toy cabinet are placed. There are also drawing paper, paints, play telephones, balls, a few other toys, and games of differing levels of difficulty. In the other part of the room there are a table and two easy chairs, as well as a desk with some of my office material on it.

Six months have passed since the psychological assessment was made. It has taken time for Douglas’s parents and for me to plan his therapy, and a summer has gone by since Douglas was last in the building. When he now returns, he does not seem to recognize the interior, except for the stairs. There are many stairs, from one floor to another and they are not always in the same stairwell. To a child, it can seem like a maze of stairs. Douglas becomes fond of a creaky, narrow, spiral staircase, which winds around and around from the ground floor all the way up to the attic. It is an emergency exit and is seldom used, but Douglas likes to climb it and swing himself around on it. He is not bothered that others are worried that he might fall and hurt himself.

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