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A therapist talks: Patricia Kolvers

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Case: The death of an ex-partner

Patricia Kolvers, Human Interaction Skills Therapist, helps adults in her private practice in the Netherlands on a regular basis.

Patricia: “I use All the Stars Above, because it offers a fantastic opening to get clients out of their ordinary, always the same, story. By using the questions, other memories and other stories come to the surface. This completes their stories.

I have noticed that every time I use it with a client, things fall in place. Clients experience silence and space within themselves and the chaos in their heads and feelings of doubt disappear.”

Jane’s ex-husband died
Jane (59) came to me because she felt she had got stuck in the loss of her ex-partner who died three years earlier. Her feelings of guilt obstructed her. Jane has two grown-up children who live on their own.

In the first session, we found out that Jane didn’t know the answers to several questions. She had forgotten about them. When she received the question card “Did something special happen when * died?”, she suddenly remembered a special conversation she had had with an unknown woman who came to sit with Jane at her ex-husbands hospital bedside. Jane shared her story with this woman. She never saw her again. Telling her story was a great relief for her. Later she felt guilty towards her ex-husband, because she had also shared less nice things about him.

When Jane told me this story, she realized that her ex-husband had heard the complete side of her story now. At other times he would have defended himself and she would never have been able to finish her story. Jane talked about this session with her children and also inquired about things she didn’t remember.

At the second session, something special occurred again. She received the question “Did you put something in the coffin?”, Jane couldn’t remember. At once, she thought of her youngest daughter who insisted she lie in the coffin when it arrived to be painted by the family. Jane thought this was bizarre. I told her that I saw it as a sign of love from her daughter towards her father, because she wanted to know if the coffin felt good enough for her dad to lie in. From that moment, Jane looked at this memory from a different perspective. She shared it with her daughter. From then on, this bizarre memory became a memory filled with love.

At the third session there was a lot of humor. The memories where much happier as well. It was a light-hearted session. Afterwards, Jane told me that she and her children were able to share the nice memories with each other now. They could laugh about their dad again, who always had a great sense of humor. The heavy burden from what had happened the final years before he died had gone.

“The most beautiful thing of working with All the Stars Above is the unexpected. Clients won’t tell a chronological story, but share from their hearts what comes to the surface. And even though some questions look like each other, the client turns out to give completely different answers. Both are just as true.

This is what happened in Jane’s sessions as well. By playing All the Stars Above, she experiences space in her feelings (heart) and in her head. The heavy burden she felt with this loss is reduced.