Dipping in and out of counseling – just knowing we are there – activating referral sources
When Alice* was referred for counselling after being screened early in her pregnancy by the PMHP counsellor, she declined the offer. Four months later, a midwife referred her again to the counsellor, since she had come in for pains that were understood to be stress-related. She told the counsellor that she had found out that her husband was abusing drugs.
Despite expressing a significant amount of distress, she did not want further counselling after the first session. She seemed to be managing fairly well when the counsellor contacted her 5 months later for the postnatal assessment when her baby was 8 weeks old – she was then divorced and happy about it, working from home, and getting support from her family with her baby and other children.
However, 6 months later she herself contacted the counsellor as her mood was very depressed, she was struggling to accept the divorce, and was angry at her ex-husband. The counsellor worked with Alice for 11 sessions, and made a number of referrals to community organisations for help with single parenting, mediation with her ex-husband, and also for a specific psychological problem her 6 year old had developed. The counselling helped Alice’s mood, coping and ability to access other necessary services, significantly.
* Fictional story based on mothers’ real experiences.