The BBC broadcast a touching episode of long-running soap, The Archers, this week. Widowed Elizabeth Archer, in her early 50s, with a son in prison and a daughter away at university, is struggling with her mental health. Her family finally summon up the courage to confront her about it, and she reluctantly agrees to seek medical advice. The doctor diagnoses Depression, prescribes medication and recommends talking therapy – and the show devoted a whole 20 minutes to Elizabeth’s first counselling session.
It was a great advert for therapy. The therapist was gentle and professional, encouraging but not forcing Elizabeth to give space to her grief, bottled up since her husband’s tragic death. A touching rapport between client and counsellor was established and the portrayal left us with a realistic but hopeful picture of the road ahead for Elizabeth.
“There are no easy fixes with depression,” says the therapist. “Facing up to the underlying issues – well it’s frightening and it’s painful and it’s going to take time. You’ve taken the first step Elizabeth. We can do the rest together, if that’s what you want.”
Honest about life’s challenges. Committed to exploring them together. This is what we as therapists strive to offer. We’re not perfect, but it’s encouraging to see such a positive portrayal in the media.