George Hartwell M.Sc.

Life Stories > Anna's Experience

George practices as a counselor or therapist. (Although he holds a Masters of Science degree in clinical psychology he is not a registered Psychologist.  He practices as a marriage counselor or individual therapist.)

Agape Christian Counselling, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.  Office: Suite #125 - 1454 Dundas St. East, Mississauga.  Postal Code: L4X 1L4.

Contact: (416) 234-1850

George Hartwell M.Sc.

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Anna's Experience

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The end of November in Toronto is cold, gray and windy. Lake Ontario, which I liked so much in the summer, is dark and wavy now and seems to be hostile and dangerous. Everything seems to be like that since my husband left me.

For him - my beloved man - I came here from my own country to start a new life. “Marriage is too difficult for me, I want to be free again,” he told me once and he asked for a divorce.

I am newcomer to Canada, without a job, without friends, without a car, without a hope. Where should I go? Should go anywhere? What happened to my husband who seemed to love me dearly and sincerely? Now he threatens me, tells lies about me to his family, friends and other people and even to the police. He tells me that he will destroy me psychically if I do not go.

I am confused, scared, my self-esteem has decreased dramatically. I feel inadequate as a woman, as a person as a whole. I do not perceive the world as a safe place anymore and I do not have much hope for a change.

I am just one step before a major depression. I am disconnected from people I love. All my relatives and friends are far away. My husband and his friends were only people I connected with here. I feel completely alone now.

I need help - help from a professional therapist. I need to get it before I completely lose hope. I need help to combat my unhappiness and fear. I need help to stop to perceiving myself as an unworthy person; to stop blaming myself for the irresponsible and inappropriate behavior of my husband. Instead, I want to understand my own role in the situation.

Everything is so complicated and difficult and my sense of life’s meaning seems to disappear.

The issue of meaning of life and other related questions usually are considered the province of philosophy or religion and, by chance, I meet a Christian psychotherapist. Perhaps in this a very difficult emotional condition I will need some supernatural power to enhance my fragile existence.

I want to feel an inner joy and peace again, is it possible? I look for answers, for direction.

My therapist gives me understanding, support and realistic view of my situation. He brings calmness into our sessions and, in that safe environment, the therapist helps me understand and accept the reality of my current position.

I feel his deep empathy as I face my anxiety, resentment, despair and when I feel lost in a new situation in a new country. I am hungry for a supportive human contact. And I got it.

I do not know what my next step should be. Should I go back to Poland; start my life on my own here in Canada, or try to salvage my marriage? I still love my husband I try to see his words as a reactive not proactive action, as an act of temporary fear. But I do not know which step is the best one.

My therapist teaches me that there is a power higher than myself to combat problems too difficult for me at the current point of my life. To find direction, he guides me to put my problems on an altar. Somehow, I do start to feel better.

I had internal conflicts and disturbed relationship to my husband. What should I do? I wonder what I want, and what is realistic to achieve. To move ahead I know that I can succeed only if I show the right attitude.

Finally I choose to try to rescue my marriage. I choose to understand, to forgive, to love in spite of my husband’s emotional cruelty and his egoism. I believe that the connection we had before still remains strong deep inside and worth any effort. After making this decision, strangely enough I feel calm and safe. I experience a sense of relief and hope. I start to be clearer about myself and my marriage.

For me, who experienced such a big pain and fear, securing appointments with the confident, and competent therapist, who was genuinely interested in my life, helped me to see the whole situation more positively. The psychotherapy I experienced I would call an existential and humanistic life-changing therapy which supported me to become an independent performer in my new life.

During sessions we were able to identify the childlike personality elements that exercised irrational control over my feeling, attitude and actions when I faced the reality of being abandoned by my husband. Fortunately, I was able to return to a mature and responsible adult state and function in a reasonable manner in the situation where I found myself.

At the same time, an article I had submitted to a Polish newspaper a few weeks ago was accepted and is going to be published soon. So, I have started to believe that I am able to function effectively as a significant member of society, here in Canada.

My therapist and I are continuing therapy. I find the atmosphere of the meetings is spiritually uplifting. I had a perception of my therapist as possessing special healing powers derived from his ability to communicate with the spirit world. He had the ability to heighten my sense of mastery or control over myself and my environment. I had expectation of help and I received it.

Important also for me is the beautiful altruistic quality of the activity of the therapist in my case. I still do not have a job, but I study to get qualifications. I need to work here and my articles are occasionally published. I contact on regular basis with my family and friends in Poland. I made a few new friends here.

To wrap up, after two months, my husband came back home. He told me that he was ready to be a proper husband now and asked me if I still loved him. I did. Since this point we have been together for over three months. It seems to be working. I go filled with hope and a feeling of new strength. I do not know what our future will be. I need to build my trust once again. But as Arthur Ciaramicoli said in his touching book, The power of empathy:”You never lose hope, if you feel connected with people who you love.”

Anna, Toronto


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For Sessions with George, Retreats or Phone Counseling: counselling

(416) 234-1850 for local calls in Toronto, Mississauga, Oakville or Brampton.

E-mail: e-mail G Hartwell

ghartwell (at) rogers (dot) com (counselling), (retreats), (prayer)

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