Gill Jones

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Gill Jones - Professional Portfolio

-- Anonymous, April 28, 2001

Answers

I have received permission from my "client" to paste up my correspondence with her - so here it is.

Dear Gill This is a note to make contact. I'm not sure how to do this, so I'll just tell you a bit about myself, and maybe you can tell me if I am doing this right. I'm a normal 45 year old mother of three, but I'm really depressed at the moment. There's just too much going on and I cant cope. I really do need someone to help me through this time. My husband is hardly ever home, my eldest son wants to marry a japanese girl and live in the Phillpiines, of all places, my youngest son drinks far too much, my daughter doesnt speak to me and has her A levels this year. I have got hot flushes and have put on so much weight none of my clothes fit any more. My mother is driving me demented with her fussing about her bad leg, as if a leg ulcer was the end of the world! I lie awake at night with it all going round and round in my head. I just cant cope with all this. It makes me cry just to write it down. I'm glad to have someone to tell. I feel very lonely. Please write soon. Eleanor.

Dear Eleanor, Thank you for your email. In order to do justice to your issues I would like to take a few hours to think about my reply. I will send you a detailed reply within 48 hours. I hope this is acceptable to you. Gill

Dear Eleanor, I was moved by your email to me. There seemed to be a great deal happening all around you, but no-one appeared to have time for you. You mention physical changes in yourself like hot flushes and putting on weight which are worrying and your motherís ďfussing about her bad legĒ is irritating you - it doesnít seem as serious as the issues you are having to cope with. Your close family members donít appear to have noticed what is happening to you and you may be feeling unsupported, even ignored by them at the moment. It sounds as though you are in a very lonely place at the moment, lying awake at night thinking about all these issues, no wonder you were crying when you wrote to me. I hope you have found it helpful to write things down and perhaps, together, we can look at them one by one? Since you describe yourself as a ďnormal 45 year oldĒ I wonder if you have had email counselling before? In case you haven't, I've added a few notes about this sort of counselling as a postscript to this email. I hope, if you find this email is helpful, you will write to me again and we can look together at the issues you are having difficulty with at this time. With best wishes, Gill Jones

P.S. Ė How Internet Counselling Can Help

Internet counselling offers a professional relationship which is defined by a contract we both agree to. It is important that you have an opportunity to see if we can work together and the first counselling email is a way of finding this out. If you found the first email exchange between us helpful and you want to continue to exchange emails with me we can set up a contract between us to do so. A typical contract is set out below and if you agree to it, you need to say so in your next email and we will begin to work together on your issues. CONTRACT FOR COUNSELLING I am accredited to the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) and am bound by their Code of Ethics and Practice which defines the counselling relationship in the ways listed below. I undertake to create and sustain a professional counselling relationship with you as set out below. CONFIDENTIALITY I respect your right to privacy by keeping information I hold about you, confidential. Such information will be in the form of email exchanges which will be held on my computer (to which only I have access) for the length of our counselling relationship. Since the internet is no more secure than any other postal or telephone system, if you prefer, we can encrypt our emails for greater security or use a secure mailbox to send and retrieve them. When our work together is ended, I remove all notes from my computer. SUPERVISION I receive regular supervision of my work to maintain my professional standards and to comply with the above Code of Ethics and Practice. I do not identify my clients to my supervisor and generally use the supervision time to reflect on my understanding of the counselling relationship rather than specific client issues. INDIVIDUALITY For me, each client is a unique individual and it is important I affirm and uphold your uniqueness as part of my work. I will respect your mode of being, way of life, sexual orientation, culture, etc. Your emails will receive my personal, undivided attention and I undertake to offer you a reply I consider to be therapeutically effective, within the constraints of my professional competence and knowledge of you. I do not judge or evaluate your issues and will treat them with respect. ENDING The ending of our email relationship will be by mutual agreement and once contracted, I will not contact you again. If you should contact me again, I will assume that it is for the purposes of contracting for another series of counselling emails. It is agreed between us that there can only be one type of relationship - the professional one.



-- Anonymous, May 08, 2001


Recíd 20/5/01

Dear Gill I read your email and it did seem to tell me a lot, it took a while to digest it all. I know I havent written for some time but its all been a bit much recently. I' sure the contract is Ok, I dont know a lot about all this and I'm sure you know what you are doing. Im not sure how much time I'll have to reply to you, so just to warn you I may be a bit slow in answering your emails. I feel much better this week, and I'm sorry I went on so much last time, really its not so bad. my husband is a good man and he has his own worries. My daughter just mopes about the place, and he says its because she is stressed by all these exams. I' m sure I wasnt like that when I had exams in the 1960s in those days we just had to get on with it. My mother would never have allowed me to be in a mood like Jane is virtually all the time. But them my mother always gets exactly what she wants. The latest is that she has an ulcer and they are going to put some huge bandage on her leg, and she won' be able to wear normal shoes etc etc. We are all running around after her now. I tel you, its unending. My washing machine broke yestrday and I waited in all day and the wretched man never came. I wish you could help me but I know you cant do anything. Thanks for reading this, anyway. yours Eleanor

Dear Gill A very comforting, holding response with everything covered and acknowledged. I felt that you had the capacity to "hold " me in my distress and I was free to offload. I was surprised how unimportant the contract was in its detail, the fact that it was there gave a kind of " here we go" quality, as if a journey has begun. T

Dear Eleanor, As before, your email has given me a lot to think about. I want to think about it for a bit longer before replying and will send you an email in a few days' time. Gill J

Dear Eleanor,

I read your email and shared your frustration - even the practicalities of daily life seem to overwhelm us sometimes donít they? That broken down washing machine sounded like the last straw.

You do seem to be facing a difficult time at present. You write that your husband has ďhis own worriesĒ and Iím wondering if you are sad that you canít share things together as you used to? You sound angry with Jane for having the moods that you werenít allowed to have, or perhaps you are angry because your husband seems to understand Jane better than you do? I think Jane is lucky to have you as her mother, you donít control her moods like your mother did and you are concerned about her. Sometimes other people make it difficult for us to find space talk about our problems. They always seem to have more serious matters to deal with and itís easier for us to listen to them and keep quiet ourselves, saying our problems arenít as important. Iím struck by the fact that youíve told me several times now that your problems are not really serious and Iím wondering why you think that? Do you keep quiet about your own problems and tell people youíre feeling all right when youíre not?

I may be wrong here, but it sounds to me as though part of you would like to be able to do what your mother does (get everyone to listen to you and do what you want) but another part of you doesnít approve of the way she draws attention to herself. Maybe there are other ways to get people to listen to you. I wonder if your husband feels shut out when you donít talk about your problems?

If this is helpful, I hope you will keep writing. It doesnít matter if you are slow to write to me I will listen to you and reply to your emails.

Sincerely,

Gill

Dear Tish,

This reply has been re-written so many timesÖ. If I was charging by the hour, I would be losing lots of money. I only hope it gets easier to say things the way I would like to read them! Please let me know how you find it Ė itís really helpful.

Gill

Recíd 24/5/01 Dear Gill

This sounds really warm and holding. The reflections make me feel "heard." I am not sure about the number of questions. I have had the same thing myself with email counselling, it seems to be a function of the fact that there is no response out there, it being asynchronous. The questions sound like a kind of " hallo? is anyone out there?" sort of response. I find myself ignoring the actual question and responding rather to the fact that there are so many. I dont know where that leads us, but I thought I would say it at this point.

Tish

-- Anonymous, May 24, 2001


Recíd 20/5/01

Dear Gill I read your email and it did seem to tell me a lot, it took a while to digest it all. I know I havent written for some time but its all been a bit much recently. I' sure the contract is Ok, I dont know a lot about all this and I'm sure you know what you are doing. Im not sure how much time I'll have to reply to you, so just to warn you I may be a bit slow in answering your emails. I feel much better this week, and I'm sorry I went on so much last time, really its not so bad. my husband is a good man and he has his own worries. My daughter just mopes about the place, and he says its because she is stressed by all these exams. I' m sure I wasnt like that when I had exams in the 1960s in those days we just had to get on with it. My mother would never have allowed me to be in a mood like Jane is virtually all the time. But them my mother always gets exactly what she wants. The latest is that she has an ulcer and they are going to put some huge bandage on her leg, and she won' be able to wear normal shoes etc etc. We are all running around after her now. I tel you, its unending. My washing machine broke yestrday and I waited in all day and the wretched man never came. I wish you could help me but I know you cant do anything. Thanks for reading this, anyway. yours Eleanor

Dear Gill A very comforting, holding response with everything covered and acknowledged. I felt that you had the capacity to "hold " me in my distress and I was free to offload. I was surprised how unimportant the contract was in its detail, the fact that it was there gave a kind of " here we go" quality, as if a journey has begun. Dear Eleanor, As before, your email has given me a lot to think about. I want to think about it for a bit longer before replying and will send you an email in a few days' time. Gill J

Dear Eleanor,

I read your email and shared your frustration - even the practicalities of daily life seem to overwhelm us sometimes donít they? That broken down washing machine sounded like the last straw.

You do seem to be facing a difficult time at present. You write that your husband has ďhis own worriesĒ and Iím wondering if you are sad that you canít share things together as you used to? You sound angry with Jane for having the moods that you werenít allowed to have, or perhaps you are angry because your husband seems to understand Jane better than you do? I think Jane is lucky to have you as her mother, you donít control her moods like your mother did and you are concerned about her. Sometimes other people make it difficult for us to find space talk about our problems. They always seem to have more serious matters to deal with and itís easier for us to listen to them and keep quiet ourselves, saying our problems arenít as important. Iím struck by the fact that youíve told me several times now that your problems are not really serious and Iím wondering why you think that? Do you keep quiet about your own problems and tell people youíre feeling all right when youíre not?

I may be wrong here, but it sounds to me as though part of you would like to be able to do what your mother does (get everyone to listen to you and do what you want) but another part of you doesnít approve of the way she draws attention to herself. Maybe there are other ways to get people to listen to you. I wonder if your husband feels shut out when you donít talk about your problems?

If this is helpful, I hope you will keep writing. It doesnít matter if you are slow to write to me I will listen to you and reply to your emails.

Sincerely,

Gill

Dear Tish,

This reply has been re-written so many timesÖ. If I was charging by the hour, I would be losing lots of money. I only hope it gets easier to say things the way I would like to read them! Please let me know how you find it Ė itís really helpful.

Gill

Recíd 24/5/01 Dear Gill This sounds really warm and holding. The reflections make me feel "heard." I am not sure about the number of questions. I have had the same thing myself with email counselling, it seems to be a function of the fact that there is no response out there, it being asynchronous. The questions sound like a kind of " hallo? is anyone out there?" sort of response. I find myself ignoring the actual question and responding rather to the fact that there are so many. I dont know where that leads us, but I thought I would say it at this point. Tish Recíd 27/5/01 Dear Gill I dont know what to write to you this week. Ive been really down. I feel so alone and I keep crying when I am by myself. I feel as if no one in the whole world wants to hear about my troubles except you, and I expect you are bored to death already with all my tales of woe. You are so kind taking the trouble to answer with so much care., you really dont have to, just a few lines would be enough at least I know you are out there somewhere. I was thinking about you today: I wonder how many people you have to write to, and if you get tired doing it all. It must be hard reading all those emails of people pouring out all their troubles on you. I dont know what else to write, I have a terrible headache today to be honest with you. Yours eleanor Dear Eleanor, Thank you for your email, I will send you my reply as soon as I can. I am thinking about you. Yours, Gill J

Dear Eleanor,

Thank you for your email which I received on Sunday. I feel privileged that you choose to write to me, especially when you have a headache.

It sounds as though other people have let you down recently by not noticing how sad you are and perhaps it also feels as though I let you down when I donít reply immediately. The reason for the short delay is because I want to be sure I have sent you the best reply I can and for me that means reading through your email several times and re-reading my reply, too, to make sure itís the best I can send you. I hope you donít feel I am letting you down by doing things this way.

I was struck when you wrote ďI feel as if no one in the whole world wants to hear about my troubles except youĒ because it sounds as though you cut off from everyone around you when you feel low Ė keep your troubles to yourself, donít let others see. But other people around you might be worrying about you and want to help you but donít know how. And you donít seem able to accept help at the moment.

With all those feelings going on, it is good you can write about your troubles to me. I am listening to you and I am concerned for you. I hope you feel less alone when you write to me they do say that a trouble shared is a trouble halved donít they? Perhaps one day you will be able to share your troubles with someone close to you as well.

Please keep writing to me for as long as you choose.

Gill



-- Anonymous, June 06, 2001


FOR THE READER OF THIS PORTFOLIO - I have managed to overlap my copy and paste and have repeated a segement in the middle section. Apologies.

-- Anonymous, June 06, 2001

The next email exchange took place on the same day, Friday 8th June. I tried to mirror in my reply the wordlength of the client.

Recíd 8th June, 2001

dear gill i am sorry i havnt written for so long. you must hgave beren worried. i fell in the garage on 30th may and broke my elbow. i cant write with my left hand but i cvan type. my mother is gouing on about her leg and there i am struggling with one arm! i just wanted to let youy know. it doesnt really hurt that much but itsd syuch a struggle doing things, and no one wants to help as per usual. will write more later thanks for listening eleanor

Dear Eleanor,

I was sorry to read of your accident. It must have been very difficult for you to type your email to me as well as struggle to continue doing all the things you usually do.

When you wrote ďno-one wants to help as per usualĒ I felt very sad for you and thought how lonely and unsupported you are feeling if nobody can give you the help you need. Your mother doesnít seem to have noticed that you have broken your elbow and is only concerned with her leg. That must be very hurtful for you.

Please keep writing if it doesnít hurt you too much. Iíll keep listening.

Yours,

Gill

-- Anonymous, June 08, 2001



dear gill well, things are improving. Thanks for what you wrote. Its been along time since anyone has acknowledged how hurtful this has all been. i had a bit of a do with ray last night, completelyt lost tears all that. i never do this. i am sure its rigting to you. ray says dont worry about sandra thats my mum he says shes a seklfish old bat. coukld have knocked me down with a feather. i wanted to knock her down with somthuing a bit stronger. we laughed and ctried i have been so lonely. its been marvelloius to write to you, its been like a nice warm blanket wrapping me up. thank gill so much. its really hard to writeo i think ill give this a miss for a while. jane had her last exam today what a releif. even the dog looks moire cheerful. i hope you get lots of clients on your new service. thanks again so much with best wishes Eleanor

Dear Eleanor,

I read your letter with great interest and I felt so pleased for you. You sound a different person, more energetic and happy somehow. Even thought it is difficult to write. Iím so glad you are able to tell me that - I hope you are telling it to your family as well and they are beginning to help you, now they can see you are not able to do everything for them as you used to do. You sound as if you have taken some great steps towards making changes in how you view things.

I guess it was difficult for you to break down and cry in front of Ray but I was pleased to read what Ray thinks about your mother. It sounds as though he understands what it must be like for you and your comment suggests to me that it was a real surprise for you to learn that. I hope it will make you feel more supported and closer to him.

Itís good that Janeís exams are now over and you can all relax a bit more Ė including the dog! I understand that you would like to take a break from the email exchanges for now and thatís fine with me. If you do want to write to me again at any time, please do.

With warm good wishes,

Gill

-- Anonymous, July 09, 2001


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