Family Counselling – Home Visits
With the holiday season and the long period of isolation ending, I have made a number of home visits to help more families deal with the particular type of trauma I can help with. They have given their permission to share these stories – the names have been changed to preserve anonymity.
Hannah and Rose
Hannah is a mother in her early forties, with a twelve year old daughter called Rose, who had recently been visiting a friend when they had been the victims of a home invasion. Now Hannah was in constant fear of what might happen, and she was referred to me.
They welcomed me into their home – Hannah had long dark hair, and was wearing a light blue short sleeved top, jeans and tan Ugg boots, while her daughter was wearing a red jumper and faded jeans, the legs tucked into knee length brown riding style boots.
As is always my practice, I talked to them individually, and one thing became clear – Rose had coped far better than Hannah had realised, and she was more concerned about her mother than herself. After talking to both of them, I knew a trust exercise was needed.
I asked them both to hold a length of soft white rope in their hands, and tell me what they thought of when they did so. Hannah said she was afraid, but she didn’t know why – but Rose said she wasn’t scared by it. So I told her to tie her mother’s ankles together with the rope.
Hannah was surprised at my request, but Rose nodded ache knelt down and tied the rope round her mother’s ankles, the boot material compressing under the band of rope. When she had finished, I told her to sit on the couch and put her feet on her mother’s lap – and when she had done so, I asked Hannah to tie her daughter’s ankles together.
She hesitated, but Rose said it was all right, so she wrapped the rope round her ankles and pulled it tight, following my instructions as she secured them together. Rose twisted her legs round and nodded, before I handed Hannah another length of the rope, and asked her to tie Rose’s legs together below her knees.
She did that, and then I got Rose to secure her mother’s legs together in the same way as they looked at each other. Hannah then visibly relaxed as they talked to each other, before I handed Rose some more rope, and told her to tie her mother’s hands together in front of her, then tie them down to the rope below her knees.
I then got her to put some sticking plaster over Hannah’s mouth, before I did the same to her – then I sat back and encouraged them both to try and express how they were feeling, and let those feelings out. I find this a cathartic exercise, when it is done in a trusting environment – and so it proved here as Hannah let her fears go, and the two giggled as they struggled…
Andrea, Tim and Jim
Andrea welcomed me into her home, and took me in to meet her two sons. Ten year old Tim and eight year old Jim were witting there, wearing jeans and trainers, Tim with a blue checked shirt and Jim an orange t-shirt over a long sleeved white top.
As we sat drinking coffee, Andrea said a friend had recommended me to address her concerns. She had caught her sons playing a tie-up game, and felt it was a bad thing to do, given what she had learned in the synagogue they attended.
I looked at her, wearing a grey tartan dress with short sleeves, and knee length burgundy red leather boots, her dark hair cut short and her glasses on, and asked her if she could tell me where exactly in the Talmud it is prohibited to play tie-up games.
She sat and thought for a moment, and then acknowledged that it doesn’t say it anywhere. So I asked her what her objections were really, and she said she was afraid they would hurt each other. I then asked her if she would hurt them, and she shook her head – so I opened my bag, took out a roll of silver tape, and said I wanted her to tape her sons so that they could not move.
Andrea stared at me, before Tim and Jim said it would be all right and stood with their hands behind their backs. She was very nervous as she tore the end of the roll free, and then taped their wrists together with several turns round their arms. The boys giggled as they stood there, before they sat next to each other on the couch, and Andrea taped their ankles together as well.
I asked them both how they felt, and Tim said they weren’t scared, in fact they were both excited Mummy was playing this game with them. Jim nodded in agreement, as I asked Hannah if the boys would mind if she put some tape over their mouths as well.
They both nodded at this, so they soon were both trying to talk as several strips of silver tape crinkled over their mouths. So when I suggested their mother join them, and they both nodded, Hannah simple removed her boots and turned with her hands behind her back.
I let all three wriggle and try to talk while I made them some drinks…
Paula was referred to me by the local police force – she and her family had been paid a visit by one of the more notorious criminal gangs, which had left her shaken – and especially as she had been left bound and gagged on her bed while her one year old baby was in his cot.
When I called round, she was wearing a blue and grey jersey dress with purple tights and knee length black fabric boots, her long dark hair framing her face which clearly had the effects of stress. She was holding Simon, who was wearing a white jumper with blue stripes, tan pants and white socks. We exchanged greetings, and then she brought me in to meet her other two children, eleven year old twins. Molly had long brown hair with white clips in, and was wearing a blue denim dungaree dress over a cream top with spots, pink tights and white shoes. David had shorter brown hair, and was wearing a denim shirt and jeans with open toed sandals.
They told me about the break-in, how the children had been tied in their bedroom and left there while their parents were secured on the bed, and I asked what the scariest part of the event was. I already knew the answer for Paula, who shook as she described how afraid she was, especially for Simon. The twins, however, said the scariest thing was not been able to join their mum and dad.
That’s when ‘I explained the best way to deal with a fear is to confront it, and asked if they would allow me to play a game where they were all secured together. The twins looked at their mother, who nodded and said they might feel better is they were all in the same place.
I suggested we go to her bedroom, and we all walked up, before I opened my bag of supplies and took out several lengths of white rope. I told the kids to stand facing each other, before I started with Paula, taking her hands behind her back and crossing them before I tied them together. I asked if the intruders had tied her arms to her sides, and she nodded – so I used one of three extra long lengths to secure her arms to her sides, forming bands that framed her chest.
As she twisted round, Simon in his cot, I asked Molly and David if they wanted to be the same as their mother – they had told me they only had their wrists and ankles tied, but it is important to offer them the chance to all be the same. Paula said it would be all right, so they both nodded – and a few minutes later, they had their wrists secured together behind their backs, and bands of rope pressing their arms into their sides, Simon sitting up and watching them all.
The kids then went and sat on the bed as I took some more ropes from my bag, watching as I crossed and tied their mother’s ankles together, and then made sure they had theirs secured in the same way as well. Finally, I secured their legs together below their knees, before I used a wide roll of white hypoallergenic tape to cover their mouths.
The last touch as they lay there? I took Simon out and laid him between Paula and Molly, Paula kissing his head with her taped lips as they all started to cry and relax…
Sue and Lou
Sue and Lou are two of my longer term clients, so when they asked me to call round and help them with something I wondered what it was. I arrived to find Sue in a floral print blouse, faded blue jeans and knee length black leather boots, and Lou her daughter in a peach coloured top and jeans, the legs tucked into short black leather boots.
What they wanted my help with was a challenge – to see who can get free from a tight tie first, without help from anyone, and they wanted to be identically bound. They trusted me to do it without taking advantage of anything – a trust I was not going to betray.
They also had a box of supplies, so Sue pulled a pair of sports socks up over Lou’s wrists and arms before I did the same for her, and then tied their wrists together behind their backs. I also secured their arms to their sides, forming two bands that framed their chests, and then used shorter lengths of rope to cinch the bands between their arms and their bodies.
I had been working with both of them for some time, helping settle their fears and worries, so I wasn’t surprised when they both sat on the floor, and watched as I secured their ankles and their legs below their knees together with ropes. They both then opened their mouths as I compressed a small sponge ball in my hand and eased it in past their teeth, before I covered their lips with white tape.
The last job was for me to help them to lie on the floor, their heads on cushions, and then pull their ankles back and secure them to their chest ropes, before they started to try to escape while I watched over them. I offered no help – that was part of the deal – save to watch the clock, because by mutual agreement if they did not get free in one hour, I had to release them.
It was Lou who managed to tear a hole in her socks, and start to pick on the knots holding the ropes that were keeping her in place…
Susan and Billy
Susan is the assistant branch manager for a bank, and some weeks ago they were targeted by a gang – she and other workers were held hostage as they arrived for work, and it as hours before they were discovered.
She herself had coped very well with the event – but her nine year old son Billy was having nightmares, so the officer in charge of the case referred them to me. I considered what had happened to her, and asked if on the day I called to talk to them they would be dressed as if she was going to work, and Billy was going to go with her.
When Susan opened the door, she was wearing a black jacket over a leopard print dr4ess that came down to her knees, her blonde hair pulled back in a loose ponytail. She was also wearing black leather boots, and smiled as she greeted me and showed me into the main room.
Billy was waiting there, wearing dark pants and a waistcoat over a blue shirt, dark socks and shoes. He looked nervous as I came in, so we just sat and talked for a while about what he liked and disliked. His mother joined in as well, until he said in a quiet voice “are you going to do to me what the men did to Mummy?”
I told him I wasn’t going to do the same thing, and in fact I wasn’t going to do anything to him at all. He looked at me, before I said that his mother was going to take care of him, and then I’d take care of his mother.
Susan brought over two high backed chairs from the next room, and set them next to each other as I asked Billy to sit on one of them, and then put his arms by the back of the chair. I then took a roll of black tape from my bag, and handed it to Susan, asking her to use it to fix her son’s wrists to the chair back.
As she did this, I asked Billy if he was scared, and in reply he just shook his head, trying to move his wrists without much luck. I then asked Susan to use the tape round his stomach and the chair back, just to keep him sitting upright. He giggled as she did that, lifting his legs up and down as his ankles hung over the chair seat.
He then watched as she taped his ankles together, and finally wrapped the tape round his legs and the chair seat to keep him there as well. She asked him if he was all right, and smiled as he nodded in reply.
I then said I wanted his mother to put some of the tape over his mouth, because the robbers had done that to her, and I wanted him to see it was nothing to be scared of. He nodded, and then put his lips together as Susan tore strips of the tape from the roll and pressed them over his mouth.
She then, at my direction, covered her own mouth with the tape before she sat on the seat next to him and handed me the black roll. As Billy watched, I taped her to the chair in the same way as him, except that her feet rested on the floor with the tape round her booted ankles. She could see he was safe, and he could see she was as well, as I got Susan to try and talk about what happened, and then got Billy to talk about his favourite lessons at school.
Not that they could hear much of each other, but that wasn’t the point. The point was to get them to relax and accept there was nothing to be afraid of…
Linda and Leigh
Linda is actually Andrea’s sister, and I had a call from Andrea to ask if I would pay a visit to her and play a game with her and her nine year old son Leigh as well. I called them to make sure it was all right, and then called on them.
Linda had dark hair, and was wearing a blue sleeveless dress, black hose and black leather boots. As for Leigh, he was tall for his age, with a blue sleeveless pullover over a checked shirt, jeans and trainers.
We sat and talked over coffee for a while, and then I suggested we play a nice simple game so that they could both be with each other, and also trust each other. So I asked Leigh to sit to one side for the moment, and Linda if she would sit with her hands on her head, and put her feet up on the coffee table, her ankles crossed.
As she did this, I took two lengths of white rope from my bag, and gave one to Leigh to hold while I doubled the other one over, and then wrapped it round his mother’s ankles, securing them tightly together as he watched me take it around and between her legs.
He asked Linda if it hurt, and she reassured him it didn’t, it was just snug and tight. He nodded, and then watched as I tied a second length of rope around her legs below her knees, taking it between her legs as well before I said she could put her feet down on the floor.
Linda smiled as she did this, while I asked Leigh to put his hands together in front of him. As he did that, I took the rope he was holding it and used it to tie his wrists together in front of him, making sure it was snug and tight as well while he watched. He smiled as he showed his mother the rope band, before I asked him to sit on his mother’s lap.
I then got Linda to put her arms round him, putting him in a nice hug before I tied her wrists together in front of him, and then used more rope to tie his ankles and his legs together, stopping each time to make sure he was all right and not scared. He wasn’t scared, as he leaned back and rested his head on Linda’s chest.
I then used three more ropes – one to tie Leigh’s wrists to the rope round his legs, one to tie Linda’s wrists to Leigh’s ankles, and one longer length to hold the two of them together. I let them talk to each other for a while, tell each other how it felt, and that they weren’t scared, before I used two silk scarves as cleave gags, and talked with them about that they were feeling.
It was a most productive session…