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A Client's Perspective: Case Study

By: Anna Martin - Updated: 11 Mar 2014 | comments*Discuss
Client Counsellor Counselling Problems

Malcolm Charman is a 37 year old recovering alcoholic, who is determined to change his life around. Being able to function like most people - to hold down a job and to have his own place to live - is Malcolm's aim. Three years ago he nearly died after consuming 8 times the recommended amount of alcohol. He collapsed and was rushed to hospital, and on being released decided that his life was too valuable to waste.

Having been given a second chance Malcolm embarked on a 12 step recovery programme, which also included attending regular counselling sessions with a specialist counsellor, Group meetings with other recovering alcoholics and Self-Help meetings, that were facilitated by a qualified counsellor.

Room For Doubts

Without the amount of continued support Malcolm has received he doubts very much that he would be alive today. Although he has had periods where he has turned to drink in order to overcome emotional issues, the network of supportive people around him are now able to guide him back on the road to progress.

Malcolm has been attending regular weekly counselling sessions for six months, and has come to consider each session as an opportunity to make further positive steps to creating a new life. He hopes to be able to give up alcohol for good, and to progressively work towards becoming dependency free.

“I have come to rely on these sessions, because they provide me with the support I need at this time in my life. I am fortunate that I have a counsellor I now trust completely and consider a friend. Without that level of support I don’t think I would have been strong enough to overcome those dark periods when drinking just makes things easier.”

Dealing With the Day to Day

Malcolm, who lives in Hove, West Sussex, is currently unemployed and shares a home with his brother and his family. Before hitting difficult times Malcolm worked in Insurance and was married to his childhood sweetheart. His marriage broke up when drinking began to take priority over family and work life. Malcolm blames a heavy workload on his increasing interest in consuming large amounts of alcohol with his friends. What started off as an escape though, soon spiraled out of control. Although the recommended daily amount of alcohol for men is 3-4 units (one pint of beer = 3 units) Malcolm was regularly consuming twice that amount.

“Work was really pressured and the home environment wasn’t much better. Downing a few pints in the evenings enabled me to switch the outside world off. Before I realised what was happening it was too late. My wife left me, and I lost my job. The house went soon after.”

After a year on the booze Malcolm was persuaded to attend counselling sessions. He began seeing a counsellor once a week but after the third appointment found it hard to muster up enough interest in attending the 50 minute sessions. Malcolm then yo-yoed through counselling for the next two years, hitting the bottle in between putting in an appearance at the counsellor’s office. Today, he takes it one day at a time and is prepared to make the effort to ensure progress.

New Beginnings

After Malcolm’s emergency hospitalisation family and friends rallied to support him. Attending a specialist addictions centre, and meeting others who were experiencing similar problems, made Malcolm realise he didn’t have to go through recovery alone.

“My counsellor has been amazing. He just never gives up on me – even when I’m having a difficult day. Counselling has enabled me to start turning my life around, and I would like to do what I can to help others in some way.”

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