Every year, I spend a week or so at a festival in the middle of June, out in the country. It’s very much a family occasion, and the reason I go is it can offer the chance for those who need my help to work through issues to come and see me on – neutral ground, as it were. I hire a cabin, and dress it up with lights and things, but it is as usual me, letting them talk, letting them get their concerns off their chests.
My first clients this year were a family trio – a mother and her two daughters. They were in their early twenties – one had long dark hair a brown scarf wrapped loosely round her neck, wearing a white jacket, blue top, grey pants and shirt brown felt boots. The other daughter had lighter hair, and was wearing a patterned white jumper, with jeans and brown hiking boots.
As they came in, however, it was clear to me it was their mother who needed help. She must have been in her early fifties, with strawberry blonde hair cut into a bob, and had on a grey and white flecked smock, black leggings and black ankle boots. She sat down, fiddling with her hands on her lap, as her daughter spoke.
She told me how they had come back from a shopping trip to find their mother had received an unexpected visitor – a masked man, who had forced her to open the safe at their home, and then tied her to a chair in the dining room, gagging her with a hand towel before he left. She had been terrified, and had not bene able to sleep properly ever since – all she said she could see when she closed her eyes was his face. So, they had come to me, to see if I could help her work through the experience.
I could see how afraid she was, so I took her by her hands, and asked her what the most frightening thing about the whole experience was. She looked up at me, and said quietly it was not knowing what he was going to do – so I told her I wanted her to relive the experience, but this time at the hands of the two people she trusts most – her daughters.
She looked suddenly at me, ad then at her daughters, who both nodded as her older daughter said they wanted to do this as well. So I pulled a chair over and told her to sit on it, get comfortable, and when she was ready to let her arms fall down at her sides. It took a while, but eventually she did so, and I handed her daughter a length of rope each, before telling them to tie her wrists to the side of the chair.
She watched as they did this, both of them talking to her as if it was the most natural thing in the world to do, and I could see she was visibly starting to relax. I then handed the younger women a longer length of rope and instructed them in hoe to use it to ensure their mother’s back and arms were fixed to the back of the chair in a way that would not hurt her.
They then took a rope each, and tied her ankles to the front legs of the chairs, as I asked her if she was still afraid. She nodded, and said she was a little, but it did feel different when it was someone she knew doing it. So I asked her about how it felt to be kept quiet with a towel pulled between her lips, and she described the taste of the cotton, and the fact she could not spit it out.
Her older daughter then unwound her own scarf, and asked her mother to open her mouth – she had conquered her fear of the ropes, now it was time to face this. She looked at me, and I nodded, saying she should continue to trust her, so she allowed the young woman to pull the scarf between her lips and tie it round her head, as she sat there, the tears starting to flow.
Both her daughters hugged her as I said she had done what needed to be done…
When my next client came in, I smiled – she was a repeat visitor, who I had helped to work through some rather traumatic experiences on her part, and we met regularly to allow her to speak freely – well, speak may not be quite the right word, perhaps express herself freely would be better.
She’s in her early thirties, with long dark hair, and on this day was wearing a long sleeved grey jersey dress and knee length black suede boots. She smiled as I opened a bag and took some white silk rope out, and as I crossed her wrists behind her back and started to tie them together I asked how she was doing.
“Good days, bad days,” was her reply as I fixed the rope in place, and then we talked as I wrapped the rope around her arms and upper body, holding them in place with bands framing her chest. As she sat down, I secured her ankles and legs, and then she lay on the floor as I hogtied her. A folded cloth and some white tape completed the preparations.
And so, for the next hour or so, she just wriggled round and let loose all her fears and frustrations, safely, unafraid…
As you may recall from some of my past records, I also offer family counselling sessions, and this particular week had their fair share of those sessions – after all, this was a family festival. But this next one was a little different.
These two women had brought their children to me in the past, having had a visit from the home invaders known as the Games Player, but I had not realised they had met in the waiting room of my offices, got to know each other, fallen in love with each other – and when they walked in with their daughter and son, I was both surprised and delighted to hear the news. They allowed me to use their names, so we had Ella, early thirties, in a denim jacket over a t-shirt, jeans and knee length black suede boots. Her daughter, Lola, was eleven, and had on this day a pink sweatshirt, white an grey leggings and baseball boots. Sue is a couple of years younger, with long brown hair, and wore a brown floral print top, black leggings and knee length black leather boots. She had her four year old son Carl with her, very smartly dressed in a white shirt, grey waistcoat, black trousers and black shoes.
So I asked what I could do with them, and Ella said now they were married they wanted the children to know they were all one family – and as I had helped them in the past, I was asked to help now by tying Carl with Ella, and Sue with Lola. I agreed, and asked the children if they wanted to go first or their mothers first.
They wanted to go first, so I started by tying Carl’s wrists together in front of him as Lola watched, and then tied Lola’s wrists together behind her back. I tied some rope round Carl’s arms and stomach, as well as Lola’s, and then they stood and watched as their mothers sat on a sofa, while I knelt down and tied their ankles together, and then their legs below their knees.
I then walked behind the seat, and made sure that both of them had their wrists secured together behind their backs, and their arms fixed to their sides with ropes above and below their chests. They nodded as I did this, and then wriggled round as the children stood and smiled.
The next thing to do was to ask Lola to sit on the floor, all three watching as I tied her ankles tightly together, and then her legs below her knees. I then helped her to lie on her stomach, pulled her ankles back and tied them to the rope round her stomach – before she was joined by Sue, lying next to her as I made sure she was hogtied as well.
Carl then sat next to Ella, smiling as she kissed his head while I tied his ankles and legs together as well. He then lay along the couch, his head on Ella’s lap, as I tied his wrists to the rope around his legs, and then fetched from my supplies a roll of white micropore tape.
They all smiled as I smoothed a length over their mouths, and watched as Carl wriggled on Ella’s lap, Ella smiled at him, and at the same time Sue and Lola started to try to free each other. A truly magical family moment…
My next client came in with her eight year old son, and he had a slightly different problem – he had seen some ‘true crime’ programs by accident, and was afraid a bad man or woman was going to come and hurt him by tying him up.
She wanted me to help him to get over that fear, but as I explained, the best way for him to get over that fear is for someone he trusts to go through the experience with him. The boy was wearing a black Adidas sweatshirt, brown combat pants and brown boots, so I sat and talked to him for a few minutes, his mother watching on, and then asked him if he would let his mum use some tape to tie him up – the tape would not hurt, and it would be his mother, not a bad man or lady.
Well, he slowly nodded, so I handed his mother a roll of grey tape. It wasn’t duct tape – it’s a special tape, that sticks but does not hurt or damage clothes. She asked her son if he wanted his hands in front of him or behind him, and he turned and put his hands behind his back, biting his lower lip as his mother taped his wrists together.
I asked him if he was all right, and he nodded as he sat down, watching as his mother knelt down and taped his ankles together as well. She had long blonde hair, with a pink cardigan over a white top, jeans and white trainers.
When she looked at him, and asked if he was still afraid, he smiled and shook his head, saying he knew he was safe with her – so I asked her to tape his legs together, above and below his knees, and see how he coped. As she did this, he tried to wriggle round, but stopped and just watched.
His mum stroked his hair away from his eyes, and kissed his forehead before she asked me if there was anything else she could do. I then asked if she would be willing to let me tape her, with him on her lap, so that they could enjoy the experience together. He nodded when I said that, so she sat next to him, watching as I taped her ankles and legs together in the same way as he was.
I then lifted him up and sat him on her lap, before asking her to give him the biggest hug she could, and put her hands together in front of him. As she did this, I taped her wrists together, and then wound the roll round both of them to hold their upper bodies against each other.
They both wriggled round now, as I let them talk to each other, get used to the experience, and realise they had nothing to fear if they did it together…
Hanna is another of my regular clients, but I was surprised when she came in with her daughter Rebecca, who was holding a stuffed toy lamb. Hanna has long brown hair, and was wearing a mustard coloured dress with a white collar, dark tights and heels. Rebecca was wearing a blue jumper over a white blouse, a red and blue peasant skirt, blue tights and black lace up shoes.
When I asked why Rebecca was here, Hanna blushed and said she had opened the bedroom door and seen her and her husband – well, I think you can guess. Now she was asking questions, but she felt uncomfortable telling her herself – so she wondered if I could help her explain.
Nodding, I asked Rebecca if what she had seen had scared or upset her. She shook her head, playing with her lamb, and said she was just – curious. Well, curious is good, so I went to a box, and took out a long blue silk scarf. Handing it to Rebecca, I asked her to feel it, tell me what it made her think of. As she did this, I took a matching scarf, and as she watched I used it to tie her mother’s wrists together behind her back.
Rebecca’s eyes opened wide, and she asked her mother if she was all right, but Hanna nodded – and then asked her daughter if she would like me to use the scarf to tie her wrists as well. I – and Hanna – were pleased she nodded, as I took the scarf, guided her hands behind her back, and tied then together with the scarf.
She giggled and said it felt funny, Hanna saying it did but it was nice, as I took a red scarf, and tied her mother’s ankles together – and then a second red scarf to tie Rebecca’s ankles together as well. They both sat there, wriggling and talking to each other, as Rebecca got used to the idea of been just like her mother. It was Hanna who then asked Rebecca how she would feel if I was to do what Daddy did to Mummy, to keep her quiet.
I asked what that was, and Rebecca said she had seen a scarf between her mummy’s lips. So I found a blue handkerchief, folded it, and as Hanna opened her mouth I put it in and let her close her lips over it. Rebecca asked if I could do that to her as well, so I folded a second blue square, Hanna nodding as her daughter opened her mouth and let me put it behind her teeth. She sat for a moment, mumbling as she started to talk, and then she smiled as Hanna leaned over and kissed her forehead. The girl giggled as they tried to talk to each other, happy she was like her mother – and not afraid…
Imagine my surprise, however, when the wife of the festival organiser came into my area. She was in her late fifties, and was casually dressed, in a brown linen jacket, blue vest top, faded jeans and tall brown suede boots. I offered her a coffee, and asked her what brought her to my onsite clinic.
Well, I could see she wanted to ask something, so I poured coffee into two mugs, and we sat down and just talked about everything – the festival, the performance by Bastille at the main tent, some of the carnival acts walking round, things like that – and then she asked if she could tell me a secret.
She told me of what had happened to her when she was a teenager – a robbery at her house, and she had been left bound and gagged with tape on a bed next to her mother, struggling to get free. The masked men had tied them both tightly, and in a way where some ropes rubbed on her more than others…
She didn’t need to say any more than that to put me into the picture in a general sense, so I asked if she had sought counselling after that. She nodded and said she had, but there was something she had never been able to talk about – and when she had seen people coming out of here laughing and talking, she had asked them what had happened.
I had no real issue with that – I make it very clear my counselling techniques include recreating situations to help people work through the emotions – but I was beginning to realise what she was trying to ask me, so I asked a standard question – what she remembers of the event.
She nodded, ad told me how one of the masked men had pulled her arms behind her back, and tied them tightly together at her wrists and elbows. Standing up, I took her mug and put it to one side, and took a length of cord from a box, then walked behind her and asked her to put her hands behind her back. She did just that, and gasped as I quickly bound her wrists tightly together.
As she wriggled her fingers, I asked her how it felt, and to tell me how she felt. She said it was tight – but it didn’t hurt, unlike that time. Now, I took some more cord, a longer length this time, and passed it round her, pulling it tight under her chest as she asked why I was doing this.
I was honest – I said she would find me tying her arms at her elbows more uncomfortable, but this way she would not be able to move her arms very much. She nodded, and watched as I took the cord around her body, her jacket pulled to the sides as I made two bands above and below her chest. Tying it off, I then asked her what the rope that bothered her the most was.
She looked ahead for a few minutes, and then said it was the one the tied between her legs – and between her mother’s legs as well. I asked her if she would trust me to do that for her now, to face that fear. She nodded as she stood up, and watched as I tied one end of a length of thin rope around the bands on her chest, between her breasts, and then let the ends drop to the floor.
She stared straight ahead as I walked behind her, and then pulled the rope gently back between her legs, lifting it up and tying it to the bands behind her back as she tried not to move.
Having said which, I told her to sit back down again, and she both gasped and then sighed as she did so, watching as I secured her ankles together, the white cord sinking into the brown suede as I did so. I then secured her legs together below her knees, as she wriggled round and started to moan.
I then asked how she had been kept quiet, and she said they had stuffed a dirty sock in her mouth, and then taped her mouth over. So I used a clean cloth, and the special grey tape, to allow her to keep quiet as she wriggled round, and let her fears go…
I was about ready to start to pack up, after a busy week, when a mother and daughter walked in. The daughter was in her early teens, wearing a red checked shirt over a black and white striped t-shirt, dark grey jeans, and black baseball boots with red laces, while her mother had a mustard coloured jumper on, dark leggings, and over the knee brown leather boots. What was unusual was the fact the young girl had some thick rope round her arms, and then tied round her wrists, which her mother had used to bring her in.
I asked what I could do for them, and the older blonde haired woman started by saying she had found her daughter with some of the other kids, her arms and wrists tied like this – and the boy had said the counsellor in the tent had done it to him and some of the other girls? This was – awkward – but I have always been honest in my proceedings, so I said they may have been in here – but what was upsetting her?
Her daughter asked the same question, as they both sat down – and her mother sighed as she said she didn’t know, but something did not feel right about this. Which was when her daughter challenged her to have her arms and wrists tied as well.
I asked if she was willing to accept the challenge, and when she nodded I made a lasso with some rope, passed it over her head and then pulled her arms tightly to her sides below her chest, taking it round a couple of times before I put her hands together in front of her, palm to palm, and used the rope to secure her wrists together as well.
As I tied the rope off, the girl asked if her mother was all right, and when she nodded grinned before she said she told her it wasn’t bad. The kid grinned, and then told me to tie their ankles and legs as well.
Her mother nodded as I took four more lengths of rope, and knelt down tying their ankles and making sure I took the rope around and between their legs in doing so, before I secured their legs together below their knees in the same way, the bands tightly cinched.
Mother and daughter both wriggled round, and her mother then had to admit it wasn’t too bad – in fact, it was almost exciting. I then offered to do two things to make it even more exciting. They both looked at me, and then nodded, as I tied their wrists to each other’s legs, and then rolled up two long scarves, cleave gagging each of them with one of them.
I left them there, struggling and trying to talk to each other, as I started to pack some other things away…