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been so successful but at least I made better money than the old man
and I had higher status.”
P: “That's certainly something to be proud of but as you move to this
next stage in your life, might it be good to think through the strategies
of caution that you've used at work with the many extra hours you
put in to make certain everything was controlled for and perhaps use
some different strategies, particularly as they relate to your family?”
N: “Looks like I'll have lots of time to be with my family if they'll let
me. What should I tell them?”
P: “Were it me I'd explain what you did at work, and why, and how
you know it pushed them away from you and that you apologize from
the bottom of your heart and want to make things a lot better.”
N: “You don't think they'd laugh at me?”
P: “Would you laugh knowing what you've just gone through at
N: “No, I surely wouldn't.”
The psychologist gave Nelson some material to read about cautious
and controlling behavior as well as the type of counseling he was using—
cognitive therapy. He asked Nelson to read the articles and email back his
take on the material and how it applied to him. At first Nelson used
excuses or gave feedback that was intelligent but didn't really apply to
him. Nelson also had trouble getting into his own reasons for the job loss
and kept blaming the company, but after a few sessions he got down to
work and started understanding his own involvement in the problems at
work. He also had a family session and, much to his amazement and sur-
prise, his family was very understanding. Nelson broke down and cried
during the family meeting. For once in a long time he felt the deep con-
nection he once had with his children and wife. It was a very moving
experience for him.
Nelson has enough money to retire early and live well but he wants
to continue working. Over the years he has developed a network of col-
leagues and, after contacting them, found many of them were also the
victims of the recession. They banded together as a cooperative and, after
6 months of working at it, he now has enough work to keep him occu-
pied. He struggles with putting too much time into making things per-
fect so he won't make mistakes but he's doing better and his wife helps.
They've agreed that, no matter what, Nelson will have dinner with his
family every night, go to social and cultural functions together, and never
ever work on Sundays, which is a designated family day.
In a follow-up meeting with his therapist, Nelson said, “You intro-
duced me to a new way of thinking. I had a hard time with it at first
because it was a lot more comfortable to keep doing what I always did
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