Counselling Reflections on ‘Patrick Melrose’ Drama on Sky Atlantic
What did you see?
Under the headline subjects were:
- the destruction of trust,
- shameful- and shameless- ness,
And the response of human beings in order to defend themselves against that degree of loss of control over their selves and their lives.
Patrick Melrose Drama on Sky Atlantic
Patrick Melrose is a man from a very privileged yet traumatic childhood in the 1980s. Patrick’s father was a very abusive man, and Patrick’s mother put up with his behavior. Eventually, Patrick’s childhood led him down a path into addiction and severe substance abuse in New York. “Patrick Melrose” is a five-part limited series based on the semi-autobiographical novels by Edward St. Aubyn from the 1980s through early 2000s.
Lives in process
The programme bore graphic witness to the impact on a life, and consequentially on other lives, of extreme abuse:
The treatment Patrick as a child was/is extreme abuse. The programme demonstrates and documents the psychological consequences of abuse: how does someone deal with trauma and traumatic memories; of invasion and pain?
What happened to his father that turned him into the person that he became? Some answers may be found in the deterioration of Patrick in his marriage and towards his children.
The story is a very clear example of inter-generational trauma being passed on unconsciously from one victim to another.
The Counsellor will seek not to take the client and victim immediately back into their past but first to be with them in their world of feelings: to try and create a relationship of trust.
The victim in some way will have coped by various methods of detaching themselves from the horror of their experience, for example:
- substance abuse (as with Patrick and his father)
- abuse to another (as from Patrick’s father to Patrick and Patrick too his son and wife);
The counsellor will move at some point to help the client to assimilate the experience into their awareness but with great care in order to avoid a re-traumatising effect. If they are able to tolerate the feelings and to express their suffering the experience can be grieved and become an aware part of the self rather than something of unbearable horror always to be denied and the pain separated.