Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Healing with laughter

I’m a firm believer in seeing the funny side to things and turning negatives into positives. I’ve been reminiscing today about when I lived in Italy and my father arranged for me to see a counsellor. After having an initial session with a psychiatrist I was referred to a counsellor in the hospital. I still have vivid memories of being sat in her dim office; the curtains were drawn so there was barely any light. She sat smoking a fag and asked me a few questions, which I struggled to answer. I felt so uncomfortable in that bleak room, there were awkward silences and she didn’t make me feel at ease. Also, even though I speak fluent Italian, it just wasn’t the same having therapy in another language. For some reason I returned for another session and it was even worse, the counsellor sat slouched in her chair pulling her fringe down over her eyes! Needless to say, I didn’t return to her as it just wasn’t going anywhere.

Fortunately, when I started having therapy in the UK I had an amazing counsellor called Joanne. I’ll never forget her and how she helped me get through that terrible time in my life. I remember in my first session I said to her, “I don’t think I’ll ever get over this.” Obviously I did because in our last session she said to me, “You came here like a little girl but you’re leaving like a woman.” She was so right, I had come a long way in my healing and she had observed it every week. What made her not just a good counsellor but a great counsellor is the fact that I could tell she genuinely cared and was concerned. I also liked the fact that, like me, she has a sense of humour which is so important in life. I remember when we were preparing for my confrontation and I was a bit concerned that the abuser could get violent, she replied: “What’s an old man going to be able to do?” We laughed together and I felt great. I often laugh out loud when alone but I don’t care if people think I’m crazy, at least I can laugh at myself.