"HOW DO I BECOME EMOTIONALLY INDEPENDENT FROM MY BOYFRIEND?"

Therapist A is a counsellor with a psychodynamic approach with experience of working with adults and young people.

I think your last sentence is a hopeful one. You want to tackle your problems and you realise that this wonít be an easy process. You understand that your anxieties and depression have their roots in the unconscious and that you will need to relive some very painful feelings from your life in the past.

You lost both parents at a very young age but not through illness or accident. For whatever reasons, they chose to end their lives and this may have left you with very complicated feelings, possibly anger and guilt as well as a huge sadness. I wonder about your life as you grew up. It is not surprising that you yourself were depressed, anxious and, for a time anorexic. Did you have any other family that you could talk to?

It seems that your partner has some understanding of your difficulties and, as you say, it is good that he is tackling his drinking problems through AA and excellent that you have been attending Al-anon. Perhaps it is this connection that has helped you to feel a bit more hopeful that things could change. Maybe you have come to see that facing up to terrible experiences through talking about them can lessen their power over you. At the moment I think you are probably defending your sanity by trying to keep things away from your conscious mind. Terrible dreams and physical symptoms are the result.

You had six counselling sessions, which could have helped more than you realise. I wonder what made you feel that it was going nowhere. It could be that the therapist was not right for you or maybe it was going somewhere but was too fast and too painful for you and you backed away. I cannot say because I donít know what theoretical background and qualifications your therapist had. I also donít know where you live or whether you would want to work with your therapist in French or English. What I would say is that you need to find someone who has a psychodynamic or psychoanalytic approach and be prepared to work with them on a regular basis for as long as it takes, maybe two or three years. Perhaps easier said than done as good therapists on the whole donít come cheap and you may not live where you could find someone close by. Some therapists have a Ďsliding scaleí of fees and you might have to find someone to speak to on Skype or the telephone.

So where can you look? This site of course, The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy website, The British Association for Psychotherapists website, The UK Council for Psychotherapy website, or The Association for Group and Individual Psychotherapy website would all be good places to start.

Therapist B is a Relate-trained counsellor with experience of working with relationship issues and is an experienced couples counsellor
THERAPIST B IS UNAVAILABLE AT PRESENT SO THIS ANSWER IS FROM A PERSON-CENTRED COUNSELLOR
You must be very angry with your parents for choosing to take their own lives and leaving you alone and without support from home when you were just starting your independent life. You don't say whether you have siblings but I would guess that you do not. Could I recommend that you read a couple of relevant books, the first being John Bowlby's "Loss - Sadness And Depression" and also "Silent Grief - Living in the Wake of Suicide" by Christopher Lukas. They will most likely help you to understand what is going on for you.

Anorexia, without being too simplistic, is very often a way that people use the only thing they are in control of - food. It may be worth you looking at where you feel out of control in your life? Is it just in keeping your boyfriend with you or is it leaking into other areas? Both parents killing themselves is not something you could have done anything about, but it seems to have left you with a very understandable feeling of terror of losing a loved one, currently your boyfriend. I would suggest that you will never actually lose the fear of loss after what has happened to you but it would help you to get control by understanding what is happening for yourself. Reading about it may help, as will explaining to your boyfriend that you need extra reassurance and that he will need to be very honest about his feelings. This is because you will have picked up a lot of hidden messages from your parents which didn't make sense and probably made you feel powerless and insecure. Hidden messages from your boyfriend (he will most likely hide any disquiet he has about your insecurity) will reawaken all those same feelings again and those sort of feelings can be overwhelming, for you and also for your boyfriend. You say that you are less worried about the future now but it could be that you have buried these feelings again so do keep an eye on that as hidden feelings have a nasty habit of leaping out of nowhere when you least expect them.

This is something you will need to learn to handle, rather than get over, so that although you may find handling the feelings uncomfortable, it will gradually become second nature. You will know that you can expect terror and fear of loss but at least you will be prepared for it which will help you feel in control of it. I applaud you for having done so well so far. Good luck and enjoy your relationship.
Therapist C is a psychoanalytic psychotherapist with experience of working with relationship and many other issues.
It sounds like you went through a very difficult period in your teens but I would imagine that your childhood was not easy with a depressed mother and, possibly, a depressed father. Having a depressed mother can have many repercussions on a child and may manifest in some of the difficulties that you are experiencing. From what you write it does sound as though you did not have the opportunity to address and deal with all that was evoked for you in your childhood, your adolescence and due to your parents' suicide. I wonder what was happening around the time of the onset of your anorexia. Also you mention that your couple went through one of its biggest crisis year ago but you do not say what was the cause of the crisis.

It may be that your way of surviving all the difficulties with which you had to cope was by keeping your feelings at bay. However, feelings that we try and suppress can end up by making us feel tired because it takes and effort to keep them away and this effort can use up a lot of energy and can feel oppressive. From what you write, it sounds as though you would like to get to the root of your difficulties so that you can address them and move beyond them. I would suggest that you consider seeing a psychoanalytic psychotherapist or counsellor as they do work with the unconscious, which is something that you say you would like to do.