stepfamilies aren’t easy! #2

Dear Suzie,
I have just watched your programme on Stepfamilies aired 25/11. You discovered that there was a woman who had been sexually abused as a child and had lost two babies, and that her anger had caused her to use her partner and his son “a lighting rod” for this pain. You did absolutely nothing to get to the route of the pain and your therapy consisted of producing an ineffective message board and a scrappy piece of paper on which members of the family could place ticks. You opened a lot of old wounds, apportioned blame and went off for a fortnight. It was quite obvious from the outset that your techniques, red ribbons aside, would do nothing to help the family. My question was “what were you doing while this family disintegrated before all our eyes” but seeing your £25 fee for answering emails from customers has answered that query. You are a disgrace to your profession.

Hmmm. So to be a credit to my profession I should, for a start, work for free? Actually, I do – all of the letters showing on this site are answered for free, as is my work on a website for looked after children, as is…well, I could go on but I won’t.

It’s interesting that so many people watched my series and reacted perhaps with discomfort and remembered pain, but didn’t shoot the messenger. I wonder what bells this rang for you that you are so angry at me and I’m truly sad for you that it seemed to revive such pain.

I can easily forgive your not knowing that this film was a one hour distillation of over 100 hours of film. I was responsible for the counselling that went on – over 30 hours of it – but not for making the film or choosing what was shown and what was not – that was the director. If you think I did nothing to get to the root of the pain or that what you saw was the extent of my therapy – well, I can’t help you. I got there alright and I offered a lot more than you saw.

The extensive counselling I offered may well have opened old wounds but I never apportion blame. And the most important issue you have to accept about counselling is that it consists of 50% from the counsellor in experience, expertise and insight but it only works if the clients give their 50% in work and effort and commitment. If they don’t work, it doesn’t work.

I can’t wave magic wands and I can’t put a family together by myself and by my efforts alone. What was I doing? Worrying, working, suggesting options, offering insights and ideas. But horses and water come to mind, and I can do nothing about that. As I can do nothing for you and that’s sad.

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