The individual mentioned in the following transcript has been a participant in a seven-week short-form therapy programme. All sessions in this programme have been recorded and transcribed with the participant’s prior consent, for educational purposes. The participant has given his permission to publish the transcripts on this website. All names have been changed and details that could reveal the identity of the participant have been redacted. Participants in this programme have applied through a mediator and have been informed about the programme’s plan and purpose. Sessions conducted via Cross Culture Therapy adhere to strict confidentiality rules and are not handled in this way.
Samuel: Hi Phil!
Philip: Hi Samuel. Welcome to therapy.
Samuel: Thank you. (Laughs).
Philip: Not many sessions left now.
Samuel: How many do we have?
Philip: Seven total. Two left including this one.
Samuel: What a shame. It feels like we were just getting to know each other. (Laughs).
Philip: Yeah it sure is a shame. Unfortunately, that is what the course outlines.
Samuel: I guess there’s nothing we can do. Let’s just make the most of it.
Philip: That’s the spirit. So, how have you been doing?
Samuel: Alright actually. I’ve been looking for work.
Philip: I see. What type of work?
Samuel: Mostly work that’s in the area. I drove around and handed out a couple of CVs.
Philip: Did you find anything that seemed interesting?
Samuel: Yeah… There’s this farm about half-an-hours drive out of town.
Philip: Were they looking for help?
Samuel: Yeah they were actually. They said they needed someone to help out with the foreign workers. They have a lot of workers that are there on ‘work holiday’ programs. Kids mostly. They stay for a couple of months, maybe half-a-year and then they leave. None of them really know what they’re doing so I’d be helping them with that.
Philip: That sounds like something you’d be interested in.
Samuel: I’d get to help a lot with the planting as well and see over things.
Philip: You sound excited.
Samuel: I guess I am. (Laughs).
Philip: When will you hear from them?
Samuel: Some time in the coming days, I guess.
Philip: Great. What excites you most about the possibility of getting this job?
Samuel: I think it’s meeting new people actually.
Philip: You sound surprised.
Samuel: I thought it was going to be the money or maybe something to do with the nature of the work but no… it’s the people.
Philip: What is it with meeting new people that excites you?
Samuel: I think it’s the young people. I’ve always found it nice talking to young people.
Philip: What in particular makes you feel that way?
Samuel: I think it’s because they are always forward looking. They seem so hopeful.
Philip: And you don’t feel like other people are that way?
Samuel: No, not really.
Philip: How do you feel when you are with them?
Samuel: I guess it makes me feel optimistic and happier too.
Philip: Is that how you felt when you were working in the factory?
Samuel: Yeah… maybe.
Philip: How would you have felt if the young people hadn’t been there?
Samuel: I guess I would have felt… hopeless.
Philip: How do you mean?
Samuel: I would have felt stuck there. A bit claustrophobic maybe.
Philip: Was there anything about how you were in relation to the younger people that you particularly enjoyed?
Samuel: I liked teaching them about their work.
Philip: Why do you think that was?
Samuel: I’m not sure.
Samuel: I liked giving the knowledge, helping them out, giving them stability.
Philip: Stability is an interesting word.
Samuel: Yeah it is. I’m not quite sure why it came out.
Philip: Let’s think about it for a minute.
Samuel: I don’t know Phil.
Philip: How do you feel when you teach the younger workers?
Samuel: Maybe authoritative is the wrong word but I feel big.
Philip: And how do you see them?
Samuel: I see them as small but again not in a bad way. I am helping them… guiding them along… it feels good. I feel strong.
Philip: Do you not feel strong otherwise?
Samuel: Come to think of it… I don’t Phil… I don’t.
Philip: And why do you think that is?
Samuel: Maybe when I look at the other facets of my life… I feel disappointed in myself… weak maybe… yes, weak. Nothing is going well. I have no wife… no kids… I’m poor… the few friends I had are gone.
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Philip: So having a job where you teach people will allow you to feel stronger so to speak?
Samuel: I guess so.
Samuel: Because I give people my knowledge and they look up to me because they don’t have that knowledge… even if it’s just about how a certain machine works or whatever.
Philip: Do people not look up to you otherwise?
Samuel: No… No…
Philip: And how does that feel?
Samuel: I feel devalued. No one is seeing me. My existence is pointless.
Philip: What do you do when people devalue you?
Samuel: I bark back.
Philip: Why do you feel the need to bark back?
Samuel: That’s the only way they will see me.
Philip: Do you have any examples of when people are devaluing you?
Samuel: Well my ex… she screamed and barked and was condescending to me all the time.
Philip: In what way?
Samuel: She would always talk to me in a snarky tone and act as if I didn’t know anything. She was always so frustrated with me… like a mother would be with a child that’s a bit hyperactive. She was expecting me to know things that I didn’t.
Philip: And how would you react?
Samuel: Well… I would bark back a bit. When I was a child I’d just keep quiet about things so I felt the need to stand up for myself a bit.
Philip: I see. And how would she reply?
Samuel: She’d growl and bite back if we’re keeping with the dog analogy.
Philip: And how would it end?
Samuel: Usually I would walk away before I’d do something stupid.
Philip: And at the times when you didn’t walk away?
Samuel: I’d hit her.
Samuel: I wouldn’t be able to control myself Phil.
Samuel: I’d feel so powerless. So unheard. And of course, I’d regret it afterwards.
Samuel: I’m not a bad person Phil.
Philip: I know.
Samuel: Can we move onto something else?
Philip: Of course.
Philip: You said earlier that you felt like you were unsuccessful because you didn’t have any children.
Philip: This was when we were talking about how you like teaching people.
Philip: Do you think of the younger people you are working with as your children?
Samuel: Maybe… now that you mention it.
Philip: In a sense they become your surrogate children and you are able to fulfill the ‘father’ role that you wish to fulfill.
Samuel: I’ve never thought of it that way before but it’s true.
Philip: And when you do so… when you’re in the moment… do you ever think about your own father?
Samuel: Sometimes I think about it afterwards… directly afterwards… and he comes to me in a spontaneous way and then vanishes just as quickly.
Philip: Usually we bare with us our parents mannerisms when we go father role. Do you see bits of your father in yourself when you are teaching?
Samuel: I think I do.
Philip: In what way?
Samuel: I’m quieter and I grunt sometimes. (Laughs).
Philip: (Laughs). What else?
Samuel: I stand taller and I let the person stand in my shadow… I think it comforts them.
Philip: Did it comfort you when you were little?
Samuel: I miss him a lot.
Samuel: I can’t get him out of my mind, Philip. Every night before I fall asleep he visits me and I like it… but it hurts.
Philip: In what way does it hurt?
Samuel: I’m left with a sharp pain in my chest.
Samuel: I don’t want to think about him.
Samuel: Because then I get reminded of the fact that he is gone.
Philip: What would you rather happen?
Samuel: I don’t know. Something I feel like I want to forget that he ever existed, so the pain would be gone… so I can go on with my life without having to feel so bad… but on the other hand I don’t want to forget about him. I love him. I want him to come back to life and be with me… and I can make the most of my time with him again.
Philip: Do you feel like you didn’t make the most of your time with him when he was alive?
Samuel: Yes… but I guess that’s how most people feel when a parent dies.
Philip: Remind me again, how did you father die?
Samuel: Probably from all that radiation in the cockpit!
Philip: Did it progress quickly?
Samuel: We got the news about it in May and he was gone in August.
Philip: How long ago was it?
Samuel: Six years ago.
Philip: This is a perfectly normal feeling Samuel.
Samuel: I know… I know.
Philip: How do you feel now?
Samuel: I feel better… less stressed. Something has lifted.
Philip: You seem better now.
Philip: I’m afraid we’ve reached the end of our time today. I know we’ve ended in the middle of an analysis here and I’m sorry for that but I’ll make sure to take you up on it next week.
The last few minutes of the session covers the booking of following sessions and is therefore not transcribed. Samuel – Week 7, will be published on May 4th.
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Philip Andersson – Life Coach
Philip Andersson is a life-coach who is currently studying to become a psychotherapist. He treats people suffering from depression, phobias and anxiety. Having been raised in Hong Kong and having lived in England and Japan as an adult, Philip also treats people who are overcome with feelings of displacement and rudderlessness associated with a global-nomad lifestyle such as Third Culture Kids, Cross Culture Kids, Migrants and Asylum Seekers.
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