Jane Hallett

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Jane Hallett - Professional Portfolio

-- Anonymous, April 28, 2001


Dear Melvyn,

I may be able to help.

If you wish I can give you the opportunity to express your anger and hurt around the separation to me through emails. You may safely write (or draw) anything you wish to me as I shall not disclose your feelings to anyone else and I will respond to what you communicate as best I can. Over time you may discover responses which you find helpful and others that are unhelpful. If you are able to tell me about your response to what I write we can perhaps find a way of working together which will be of help to you.

Other people have found that writing about their feelings helps them to express their feelings in appropriate places (I think you are telling me that you know work is not an appropriate place for your anger), rather than in places where expressing them causes more problems still. It usually takes a little time to notice differences, results. For some people the very first communication of those difficult feelings in a safe place has a good effect, but not for everyone.

I suggest an exchange of five more emails and then we look at whether you are finding the exchange helpful; whether your behaviour at work is any different. If you want to do this please look carefully at the web site and the confidentiality policy there. If you have any problems with any of it, please raise them with me. I don't imagine you will, but you never know. I can undertake to reply to any email you send me within four days. I may reply earlier but will respond within that time. Is that agreeable to you? Again let me know what you think and feel about it. You will also need to check out the web site regarding the 'how' of payment which is £30 an email. If five seems too many suggest a smaller number; too few suggest a larger.

Sometimes people find it hard to start. I may be wrong, but your original email gives me the impression that you do not often talk with someone else about your feelings. Forgive me if I have got this all wrong about you. If there is some truth though don't be too hard on yourself. We all have to practice before we become good at anything and that includes expressing our feelings. Melvyn, if you choose to continue you are free to write whatever you want. And you might find it helpful to describe your partner to me - what does s/he look like? How does s/he behave? What do you like best and least about s/he? How long had you been together? How did you meet? You are likely to find description rather than factual answer more helpful if you are to become more expressive of your feelings. If it works for you simply write and tell ma all the things about s/he and your separation that make you angry. There is no right way to do this Melyvn, just a way that works for you.

And don't forget your hurt feelings Melvyn. You are not showing them at work (or so you write) but they are thereand it is great that you know they are there. Some people are so angry that they block the pain - difficulty is it usually comes back later and sometimes in disguise.

If you want to know more about me you are welcome to ask though there is a description on the website. I hope you decide to write again Melvyn and I shall respect your decision if you decide not to.

Best wishes, Jane

-- Anonymous, May 18, 2001

Dear Jane,

I wonder if you can help me? I am so hurt and angry. My partner I have separated after some considerable time and I don't seem to be able to cope with it.

My angry feelings seem to be spilling out all over the place, and it is affecting my performance at work. Everybody has noticed it and there have been several comments about my short fuse.

I know it is all about the end of our relationship but I can't seem to get it under control.

Can you help?


-- Anonymous, May 18, 2001

Dear Jane,

You are right that I do not find it easy to express my feelings, what I find so difficult is that my the strength of my anger. I have always been able to keep it well in control before but now it is boiling up in me all the time and I am struggling to keep it under control.

I heard her on the phone to him you see, and although she denies an affair, the way they were talking sounded intimate. I feel I have put so much into this relationship, sharing looking after the children, the household chores, and this super house that I have put so much into. And now we are separating it is me who is going to have to leave, live in some dumpy flat and see the children now and then, I'm afraid I'll loose touch with them like you hear of so many separated fathers. It seems so unfair as she is the one who has done wrong.

The other thing that is so hurtful is that he was a friend of sorts and there he is seducing my wife. I want to go round I and confront him. And thats what is so disturbing for me, I have always been balanced and rational in my view and I cant be now!

The arrangements for this seem alright, I will check the website again re payment etc, I did look at them before but I didn't take them in much. I find it hard to concentrate at the moment.


-- Anonymous, June 01, 2001

23/5/01 Dear Melvyn,

I was very pleased to receive your email on Sunday and very impressed by your clear description of what is difficult for you, worrying for you and downright painful. For someone who does not find it easy to express his feelings you are making a good start.

So the anger that you feel is far stronger than that with which you are familiar and it is difficult to (and sometimes you cannot) control it. A factor that increases your anger is overhearing your wife speaking with a man (the man with whom you believe she is having an affair) intimately. Have I understood you correctly? Please tell me when you reply because it is important. Did you and your wife speak together intimately? In the days before this ‘affair’ perhaps, or in the early days of your relationship? Or is this something that was never there between your wife and yourself?

I would like you to clarify something else for me. You write that your wife denies an affair. You also write that you are hurt as a friend of sorts is seducing your wife. Are you and your wife separating because of the affair she denies? Or would you be separating even if there was no affair? And if the later is so what are the factors - behaviours, feelings, words that have led you both to decide to separate?

OK the main thing you write about is your strong, strong anger that you cannot control. I suggest we concentrate on your anger unless and until you wish to concentrate on something else. When you reply will you write in some detail and describe a recent time when your angry feelings ‘spilt out all over the place, effected your performance at work and someone commented on your short fuse (your first email to me). Also, do you know any techniques for reducing your anger when you feel it and are in a situation in which you can take 15 minutes out and do something else before returning to what you were doing? You may or you may not. Please tell me when you reply and tell me whether you want me to teach you any (you will have to practise them!). One I am sure you will know about as it is part of our ‘cultural wisdom’ is count to ten. You may feel irritated with me for mentioning it, but I am mentioning it because I want you to have something you can try out (do) as a result of our emails. What matters is how you count to ten. SLOWLY is how you need to do it. And in between each count breath deeply. You may need to count to twenty or even more. Also this does not work in every situation in which you feel angry. You have to experiment and find out which ones it is effective in and which ones it is not. It is likely that it will work best when you first notice some anger rather than when you have spent 30 minutes trying to keep you anger under control. I mention this because it is simple to learn and generally effective. After you have emailed me describing you anger, as I ask above, I may be able to suggest more appropriate, focused techniques.

I am aware you also wrote about the fear of loosing touch with your children. What are there names, ages etc. Remember that you will have a right to access. Is your separation a personal arrangement between you and your wife? Or is the law involved? I can understand that things seem very unfair to you as the man in the marriage. How is it writing to me a woman about this?

Melvyn, I am going to stop now as I am becoming more and more aware of details I do not yet know about you and your situation. And I don’t want to make assumptions. I appreciate that it is difficult to concentrate as you feel very, very stressed but it will help our contact a lot if you can address the points I have raised and that includes checking the website thoroughly. I shall assume that you are agreeable to the exchange of 5 emails then reviewing; the time lapse before reply; and the cost if you do not tell me directly. Keep writing Melvyn and notice if it the writing (not the reading my replies), but your writing about your situation and feelings is helpful to you.

Best wishes, Jane

-- Anonymous, June 01, 2001

Subject: Re: Reply to Melvyn Date: Wed, 30 May 2001 21:44:41 +0100 From: "Brian Turner" To: "Jane Hallett" References: 1


Dear Jane,

Thanks for your email, it has been helpful to be able to talk to you. Its alright that you are a woman, I have some good woman friends and I have spoken to some of them re this, but they know both of us so it is hard for me to tell and they to hear without feeling disloyal to one of us.

My anger is because I heard her talk like that with him, it is the disloyalty and betrayal of trust that upsets me and makes me so angry. She wants us to separate and more of my anger is because I have worked so hard to get us, where we are the nice house and garden, good circle of friends etc, and I have to leave and live somewhere else and not live with our children. I could not continue to live with her now anyway.

We have talked and I am managing to be civil and make arrangements with her although it is easy for this to tip over in arguments, I just leave if this happens. We are going to tell the children soon and our families which will be a relief as we have had to keep it from them so far.

The contract is ok, I have read the conditions and arranged payment on the website.


-- Anonymous, June 19, 2001

June 4th. 01 Dear Melvyn,

Thank for the email.

I am glad it is OK that I am a woman as what I could have done about it had it not been OK is perplexing! Seriously I am glad too that you have some good women friends with whom you talk about your relationship. Do your women friends tell you they feel disloyal? It is one (of many) reasons for working with a professional who is separate from the people in your day to day life and social circles etc., rather than depending on friends in a situation like yours.

I am still a little confused. I understand that your wife wants the separation and whilst at first you did not, by now you do also. What I do not understand is whether your wife is or is not having an affair. I do realise that you believe she is. I could write more about this but won’t right now. Whatever your wife is or is not doing you feel betrayed; you feel the effects of her behaviour as disloyal - hurtful and angry making. You are indeed giving up a lot - house, garden, children, friends. I cannot help but wonder why you are doing all the giving up? But I am also aware there is so much I do not know, that you have not told me. It sounds as if your arrangements are between yourselves and that the law is not involved.

Did you try counting to ten? Did it have any effect that you noticed? If you did not try it out do you know why not? Did you find it unhelpful and prefer I had not written, describing it. As you do not describe a recent spilling out of your angry feelings, I guess techniques are not what you find helpful, so I will not include any more unless you ask for them.

I am purposely keeping this email shorter than previously Melvyn. You have not responded to several questions I have asked and suggestions around areas you may want to talk about and/or describe. Are you aware that this is so? What do you feel when you read my words pointing this out?

Would it be helpful to speak of telling the children and your family next time, I wonder, as that is something you are going to be doing soon? You didn’t tell me your children’s names or ages or anything. Does it feel to painful to do so? Or might you want to now?

Thanks for letting me know you are OK with the contract and payment. Keep writing and noticing whether it is helpful.

Best wishes, Jane

-- Anonymous, June 19, 2001

Subject: Re: Reply No. 3 to Melvyn Date: Fri, 8 Jun 2001 16:16:27 +0100 From: "Brian Turner" To: "Jane Hallett" References: 1


Dear Jane,

Thanks for the email.

Both my wife and the other man deny having an affair but the way she was talking on the phone they might has well have been. She wants us to separate and I won't be able to trust her again so I want to also.

I feel a bit better now as we have told the children and our families so we can also tell other people, work etc - it was getting very hard to keep it secret.

I am still angry a the loss of all I have worked for - thought we were both working for, but the logical part of me tells me it is better that the children stay with their mother and in their house, it is easier in practical terms for me to move out.

I am still angry at the man for hitting on my wife, I used to see him in the club etc - notice he is not there lately though! I would like to do something nasty to him, don't worry I won't.

I haven't tried the counting because I seem to be more in control again, although I am still distracted at work. I tend to drink a bit more also, not a lot, but a pint or two helps me sleep.

It is helping to be able to tell you. I think I am getting there now, I would just like one more email to tell you how I get on with looking for houses, if that is ok.

Thanks a lot,


-- Anonymous, June 19, 2001

June 13, 2001

Dear Melvyn,

Thank you for your email and again my apologies for the delay in responding.

Of course it is OK if you only want to send one more email - you are in charge here. I am surprised though as from my point of view I thought we had only just begun to work together.

Thank you also for answering my questions. I understand clearly now that your wife denies an affair, as does the ‘other’ man. For you the affair is no longer the issue as the intimacy you overhear between them has led to your loosing any trust you had in your wife and consequently whilst the separation was initially her idea it is now also what you want. Your children, your famlies, people at work etc have now been told and you feel relief at no longer having to hold the secret. You remain angry - at loosing all you have worked for and accept that you will be without these things because it is practically (and emotionally - you don’t actually say) better for your children. And you are very, very angry with the ‘other’ man.

You haven’t needed to try the counting because your anger is less intense than it was and you are more able to control your behavior though still distracted from your work. Also you’ve found your own ‘technique’ in discovering that a pint or two helps you to sleep. And overall you have a sense of ‘getting there’. I am really glad to hear that you feel things are getting better for you and that you are more able to manage your anger.

One thing I notice is that you ‘take care of me’. By this I am refering to where you write of the ‘other’ man "I would like to do something nasty to him, don’t worry I won’t." You are anticipating that I will be concerned for him and you (as you would be the subject of the consequences) and you don’t want me to be. I mention this only because I wonder if it something you do a lot (in a previous email you wrote of the difficulty of speaking with friends who would feel disloyal) and it may indicate a tendancy to put other people’s needs before your own. Something you are choosing to do in giving up so much with the separation also. So I wonder whether there is something(s) that you would really want for yourself but rarely permit yourself to have.

I am going to stop now Mervyn. Of course you can write again. If you feel you can say something about what was helpful and what was unhelpful for you in our contact that would assist me. Also I want to encourage you to write after that if you feel you would like to. I hope you experience me as trustworthy enough for that. House hunting can be very stressful so I wish you all the best with it and that for you it is as stress free as can be.

-- Anonymous, June 19, 2001


Subject: OLT5 I am a new client Date: Sun, 03 Jun 2001 20:45:36 +0100 From: "Hilda Hughes" To: j.hallett@linst.ac.uk

Dear Jane, I have been given your name as someone who may be able to help me.

Basically, I am worried that my husband is turning into an alchoholic. He is 64, and drinks about the same amount as he always has done, but it now affects him more than it used to. Everytime I suggest he gets some help with this, he brushes it on one side and says I don't know what I am talking about. I know other people have this problem and that it is not an easy one, but I don't really know where to start. I feel too disloyal talking to my friends about him and he would be very angry if he thought I had been discussing it with them. At least talking to you I don't feel guilty, as this is your job, and I am not really 'talking' to you am I, only typing something out. Can you give me some guidance, as to what I can do, if anything, or how I can talk to him about it without making him angry. I would like to prevent it getting worse if that is possible.

I really look forward to getting an answer from you. Thank you in advance.

With hope in my heart, Hilda Hughes ______________________________________________________________________ ___ Get Your Private, Free E-mail from MSN Hotmail at http://www.hotmail.com.

-- Anonymous, June 22, 2001

June 14th ’01

Dear Hilda,

Your email gives me a really strong sense of how very concerned and upset you are by your husband’s drinking. And also of what a loyal wife you are, though perhaps a bit frightened of your husband’s anger? I’ve put a question mark there as I recognise I may have misunderstood or assumed too much. It would help me and our exchange(s) enormously if are able to confirm or contradict misunderstandings or assumptions I may share with you.

You ask if I can give you some guidance. That is a very difficult area. Counselling is not about giving you advice but enabling you to discover your own resolution to your difficulty(ies). It might be more helpful if you allow yourself to notice whether or not you feel any better within yourself as a consequence of emailing me and your reading my responses. I include this one, our first exchange. If guidance is really what you want I can recommend a self help book or two full of good sense and guidance, or maybe you have read some yourself already? There is of course no reason why you should not both write to me and read self help books. What I can do is support you as you try to assist your husband, by reading your words, attending to them carefully and checking I understand them accurately. I will write to you at all times with respect and as an individual with your own way of being, way of life, values, culture. Unique in other words.

I wonder about your last sentence of your email:

"I would like to prevent it getting worse if that is possible"

By it do you mean your husbands anger or his drinking? Please let me know when and if you choose to reply. Perhaps you mean both?

I am going to end here for today Hilda. If you decide to respond to me with another email I suggest we agree to exchange four more each and when we have done so agree to summarise what has been achieved. You can of course, stop writing whenever you wish if this medium of counselling is not proving helpful. You may want to stop here, but I hope not. I will respect your decision whichever it is. If you choose to keep in contact I will reply to your emails within 72 hours and should anything unexpected prevent me I will at least acknowledge receipt of your email and let you know when I hope to respond. I am very sorry about the delay in replying with this email. It turns out to be due to my having an incorrect email address which I do not completely understand.

I look forward to hearing from you again. And if you want to tell me I would be interested to know who gave you my name. Best wishes Jane

-- Anonymous, June 22, 2001

Subject: OLT5 from HH Date: Wed, 20 Jun 2001 21:01:00 +0100 From: "Hilda Hughes" To: j.hallett@linst.ac.uk

Dear Jane,

Thank you for replying to my email. I am not sure what you are saying. I am in despair about my husbands drinking, my father had a drink problem and the family suffered very much from it. I love my husband and I really do need guidance about what to do, so many people tell me different things, and I hope you can give me guidance and say 'if I were you I would do this….' I know you counsellors don't like the word advice, but I really need your kind and loving advice about this difficulty. I don't honestly need books. I am tired of books and articles in the paper. Is there some really good counsellor who really knows about alcohol and how to help people that you can recommend. Or what? Sorry I am very low today and so I might seem a bit rude. Perhaps I am asking too much, from someone in cyberspace.

Yours sincerely, Hilda Hughes

______________________________________________________________________ ___ Get Your Private, Free E-mail from MSN Hotmail at http://www.hotmail.com.

-- Anonymous, June 22, 2001

June 22, 2001

Dear Hilda,

I do not think you rude. I think you very stressed, very tired, desperate to help your husband and perhaps depressed. I do think you may be disappointed with my response. Believe me Hilda, if I could say ‘do this, do that, do the other’ and all the difficulties you experience around your husband’s drinking would be resolved, I would do it. If I had a magic wand that would solve your problem I would wave it for you. Unfortunately to do so is simply to be dishonest.

Neither do I think you are asking too much from cyberspace. You may though, be asking too much. Let me try to explain. You are asking for a solution Hilda. I (or any other counsellor ) could work with that, only you are not asking for a solution to your difficulty, but to your husband’s. No one - me, the most experienced alcohol counsellor, or you, can solve your husband’s difficulty. Only he can Hilda. And from what you write he is a long way from that as he does not acknowledge he has a problem. What by the way is his name?

Sometimes in relationships one or other of the couple do all of ‘certain types’ of emotional work for the couple. It sounds to me like you do all the worrying, carry all the concern for what might happen, feel all the upset and despair. It is too much for any one person (you) to carry two people’s worth of responsibility. My guess is that your husband does all the anger work. Might I be correct?

Hilda have you heard of Al-Anon? It is a sister organisation to Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). It is for the family and friends of people with a drinking problem. From your first e-mail I assume that your husband would not attend AA. But you can go to Al-Anon. You would meet other people with a similar problem to yours - living day to day with someone who drinks too much. It does not suit everyone, but you might find it helpful. They hold meetings all over the country and internationally. Their telephone number will be in your local phone book if you are emailing me from the UK.

What I can offer you Hilda is a safe place to share your distraught and distressing feelings, the pain and the anxiety and your love for your husband. A place where you need not feel guilty. You might also find it helpful to tell me more about:

‘He … drinks about the same amount as he has always done, but it now affects him more than it used to.’

In telling me more about this you may discover ways of speaking with him about his drinking that he will be able to listen to. Also I would be very interested to hear more about your feeling ‘very low today’ and to read more about you experience as a child in your family. It must be very, very painful for you to watch your husband’s drinking when you have already watched your father drink (when you were a child) and experienced the hurt, confusion, anger etc that it brought about amongst your family members.

Hilda, as you have emailed me for a second time it means you have paid in advance for this response and I shall assume you agree to my suggestion of exchanging five emails each in total and summarising what has been achieved. If you really want the contact details of someone with more experience than I in working with alcohol problems you could get that (in the UK) through the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) website:


I hope this email is not too great a disappointment for you Hilda. I hope even more that you will choose to email me again and I will respect the decision you make. Wishing you strength and courage.


-- Anonymous, June 22, 2001

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