Terry graduated from high school four years ago with reasonable, but not outstanding grades. He was not sure of his options, but he was sure he did not want to go to university. His secondary school program was streamed for university entrance so, consequently, he did not have any idea as to the career options that were explored in the more general programs in high school. All his friends attended university, so he did not have a peer group who had any knowledge of vocational programs beyond university trained careers. His parents did not have any experience with any level of post-secondary education; therefore, they could not offer suggestions for career options.
Terry attempted retail jobs but fared so poorly that he was finally dismissed. After these discouraging events, he tried an office job that had some potential for advancement. He struggled with the pace of the job and the very challenging goal expectations. He left the job feeling it was only matter of time before he would be fired. He retreated to his parents’ basement and began to isolate himself. He felt hopeless about his future and about life in general. He began to sleep longer into the day, his mood and motivation began to deteriorate. He isolated himself from friends and social activities. His reaction to this feeling of a ‘loss of a future ‘ lead to a depression that was closing down his life beyond his parents’ basement. Over the next few months, his parents tried to encourage him to reach out for help. They enlisted the help of one of his high school friends which resulted in the acknowledging he needed help.
Terry finally made an appointment for counseling with support of his family doctor. His general practitioner suggested he try to address the problem with counselling as a first strategy.
Terry sat down in the therapist’s office; his appearance fit for the depressed patient his family described. His therapist started the interview, “Terry, thanks for having the courage to challenge depression”. He stated further that making and keeping that first appointment is an achievement and contributes to feeling a sense of hope. The therapist further explained, “Depression does not function well in an environment of achievement and hope. Let’s utilize your courage to challenge depression and build more opportunities to experience achievement and hope in your life as way to defeat depression.”
As part of the therapy process, the client collaborates in identifying past areas of positive interactions with the world prior his current depression, such as physical activities, hobbies, music, and social connections. Much of the in-session discussion focuses on how to set those positive interactions within the environment, and then reviewing the assignments practiced between the counselling sessions.
Terry remained committed to this process and within three weeks his mood started to shift in a favourable direction. He even acknowledged being hopeful regarding his therapy.
Just a Thought …
From Willow Grove Counselling, Inc.