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The boy with a glint in his eye - September 2011

posted 1 Jun 2014, 11:08 by Mark O'Connell   [ updated 1 Jun 2014, 11:08 ]

A youngish teenage boy came to see me each week in his secondary school. He sloped into the room for his session and lolloped onto his chair. People were concerned about this young man’s low mood and that he had a tendency to being bullied and then not attending particular lessons. I was quite unsure how to approach the situation with him, mainly because he was fairly unresponsive to most of what i would say to him.

At some point i began to notice that his eyes seemed to fix me with quite an intensity. I commented on his intense blue eyes which i experienced as something of a bright light or ‘glint’.

He seemed to stare at me even more intently. At this point i dropped all my previous theories and plans of how to intervene with him, and just began to stare into his eyes while telling him what i was noticing. It wasn’t long before we both began to giggle which then developed into hilarious and joyful laughter….

Each week would involve more moments of catching one another’s eyes and then descending into raucous laughter. I was struck by the similarity of this eye contact as when an infant has an attuned relationship with their parent. This was a boy whom i felt hadn’t experienced enough enjoyment and appreciation of his nature, his essence. Just noticing the glint in his eyes seemed to ignite humour and a joy for life. I discovered that he lived in very stressed family environment with a brother with debilitating symptoms and thus he received very little attention indeed.

One day he told me that he had run away from home. When i asked about the story I discovered that he had had an argument with his parent, and this had felt the end of their relationship. Together we rang his mother who was quite shocked that he felt this way, and we were able to discuss his need for her love and attention.