ABSTRACT

The family was visited in its home shortly before one Christmas. The house was untidy, the kitchen piled up with dirty dishes, the children grubby. The woman was slumped on the settee, the husband hovering nervously behind her; the children peeped out from behind pieces of furniture. The session was a difficult one, with the woman ceaselessly bemoaning her fate, asking what she had done to deserve 'this depression thing', every now and again becoming agitated and occasionally hurling obscenities at her husband, and, on one occasion, at the children. She saw no reason for the therapist having been sent to see her; there was nothing he could do. If 'proper doctors' had been unable to do anything, how could he help? Talking was not the answer.