Resources Developed and Outcomes Offered

This is an eloquently written account of a problem over which the child characters have no control. The reality is that they may not be able to stop parents from fighting or their best friend being sent off to boarding school. f this is so, the question then becomes how the therapist can join the child's metaphor to build resources and offer outcomes that will help him or her cope with what cannot be changed. The therapist may ask questions like, "What do you think Willow discovered from these experiences?" "If Willow's and Paige's parents are fighting all the time, what can they do as kids to feel okay about themselves?" "If Willow's best friend is sent away to boarding school, how could she cope with that?" "What could she do to find another friend?" This is discussed further in Chapter 15.

You know, I have always wondered what the point was of your parents living together if they hated each other, why they even choose to be together in the first place. My parents fight 24-7. That means I have no means of support because I am an only child. I have one friend in the entire world. Everyone teases me because I'm always sad, except for when my friend is around. Her name is Paige and my name is Willow. Paige's parents fight all the time too so we have a lot in common. We get along really well.

Today was as boring as yesterday, and the day before that, and the day before that, and so on and so forth. My parents were fighting again and so were Paige's parents. We live right next door to each other and our houses are so squished in that it is hard not to hear what is going on next door. Paige and I were sitting out the front on a log trying hard not to hear our parents screaming at each other.

"Willow," Paige muttered to me. She turned towards me. She had shadows under her eyes and tears running down her cheeks. "I've got something to tell you."

"Go on," I said. I could see how upset she was and sat closer to her and put my arm around her shoulder to calm her down a bit.

"Well," she muttered. "I'm leaving here, for good. Ummmm, I'm going to a boarding school."

I jumped up in surprise. "What?" I screamed at her. I was so confused; Paige was my only friend in the entire world and she was going to abandon me all of a sudden?

"I'm really sorry. I'm leaving this afternoon but I don't want to go. Dad says if I don't go, he'll make me go to boarding school forever. It's just not fair," she tried to tell me under her tears.

I looked up at the sky and screamed and screamed as hard as I could, like that boy on the breakfast cereal commercial, except my world was spinning out of control.

I rolled onto my back and stared at the ceiling. I was in my room. I don't know how I got there. Everything went so fast. I rolled onto my other side and faced my window. I could see into Paige's room. She was crying and packing her bags, then her mum came into her room and started to pack things quicker as if she wanted to get her out of there really quickly. Then her dad came in and started saying something like, "You're an embarrassment to the world." Then her mum and dad started arguing and Paige just looked at them in sadness. Her dad hit her on the head a few times and then carried on with the fighting downstairs with her mum.

Paige sat there crying until she was called downstairs. She grabbed her bags, took them out of the house and piled them into the car. Her mum and dad came out of the house and pushed her into the car and drove off. I felt even worse when Paige peered out of the car window and waved goodbye to me, trying to smile but, not being able to hold back her tears, cried.

I watched as the car got smaller and smaller and smaller until it was gone. Suddenly I got this urge to go chasing after her but I knew it was no use.

Once the child has told his or her story of the problem — in this case the fighting of parents and loss of a best friend — it may be helpful to assist the child to explore possible ways for coping through presuppositional questions such as those mentioned under the Therapeutic Characteristics at the beginning of this story and as further discussed in Chapter 15.

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