Families at War

families at war (5/5)

Five’s Trisha Goddard continues to help families besieged by arguments and deep-rooted tensions. Aiding Trisha in her efforts are Jamil Qureshi and Andy Duncan – experts in the field of ‘mind-shaping’. In tonight’s programme, the last of the series, the team comes to the aid of Suzanne and Tracy, a mother and daughter from Derbyshire who have had a difficult relationship forover two decades.

The hostility between Suzanne and Tracy started some 22 years ago when Tracy rebelled against her strict, religious upbringing. At 17, she had a baby outside of marriage, before going on to have a further four children and a string of unsuccessful relationships with men. After moving to South Africa, Tracy’s problems persisted and her two eldest children were taken into care and adopted. Tracy and her family have since been reunited in England where they now live, but her kids do not know their grandmother, despite living nearby. “My relationship with my mother is basically nonexistent,” says Tracy.

Suzanne, meanwhile, realises that things must change: “I definitely feel that this is the last chance with Tracy.” The two women arrive at the Norfolk treatment house separately, but soon erupt into an argument. Tracy accuses her mother of failing to support her when her children were taken away, while Suzanne questions why she was not invited to her daughter’s wedding last year. After just a few minutes, Suzanne can take the strain no longer and storms off into the garden. “I don’t want her in my life!” she proclaims. “I’m sick of the lies!”

Trisha eventually persuades Suzanne to return tothe house to talk to Tracy and two of her sons, 21year-old Reese and 17-year-old Michael, both of whom have arrived to lend their mother support. A brief chat around the table shows that all parties agree that this is the last chance for the family to sort out their problems, but stubbornness, especially on the part of Suzanne, seems to be halting any progress. As the first day draws to a close, experts Andy and Jamil assess the situation and conclude that Suzanne is key to the solution ofthe family’s discord. They decide to work on Suzanne’s pain and anger, using regression and relaxation techniques, alongside other therapies.

Tuesday morning brings an early start, as Jamil gets stuck in to the task at hand. Speaking first to Tracy, he learns that she is keen to develop a relationship with her mother, and for her children to know their grandmother. She realises she has made mistakes in the past, but wants to move on. When he speaks to Suzanne, Jamil discovers that she has a very similar attitude. “Would you like this situation to change?” asks Jamil. “Yes, I miss her,” responds Suzanne. But are the two genuinely prepared to put the painful past behind them? To find out, Jamil takes them to the beach where he asks them each to write something in the sand to represent what they hope to achieve during their treatment. Again, both mother and daughter agree that they want the past to be forgotten.

Back at the house, Andy begins a consultation with Suzanne, but finds it difficult to get past her defences. He learns of her attitude towards her father, to whom she never felt close, but it is not until Andy broaches the topic of Suzanne’s mother than he makes real progress. After some regression therapy to help her deal with the grief of losing her mother 15 years ago, Suzanne breaks down in tears.

Jamil is also making headway with Tracy. Using a relaxation technique, he tells Tracy that she has control over her own emotions and can look to the future with confidence: “Blame looks backwards; responsibility looks forwards,” he explains. It seems to work, and Tracy ends the session feeling that she can achieve anything.

As the final day arrives, things look very positive for the family, with mother and daughter having stayed up until midnight chatting. But the really encouraging sign comes in the afternoon when Suzanne and Tracy share a hug. “I’m going to start my new life now,” says Tracy.

families at war (4/5)

Five’s Trisha Goddard continues to help families besieged by arguments and deep-rooted tensions. Aiding Trisha in her efforts are Jamil Qureshi and Andy Duncan – experts in the field of ‘mindshaping’. This week, Trisha’s guests at the Norfolk treatment house are 48-year-old identical twins Allan and George who have been feuding for over 20 years.

Things have become so bad between twins Allan and George that they have broken all contact with each other. After two decades of accusations, lies and arguments – with the police involved on more than one occasion – they have grown so far apart that neither even knows where the other lives. Each party blames the other for their problems, but they do seem to agree on one thing – now is the time for change. “I think a success would be that they could just be civil to each other,” relects Trisha as she contemplates the enormity of the task in hand.

First to arrive at the house is Carlisle-based George, who is visibly nervous at the prospect of being in close proximity to his twin. He admits that he and his brother, far from reflecting the closeness usually associated with twins, barely know each other. As Allan arrives from his home in Falkirk, he and his brother launch straight into an argument. It emerges that the row goes back 20 years to a time when George claims to have lent Allan some money which was never returned.

Trisha takes the men aside separately to hear both sides of the story. Unable to recall a time that he and his brother had fun together, George reveals what may be key to their problems: “Both him and I were never wanted,” he claims. Allan tells a similar story, and also explains that neither twin gets on with the rest of the family. This revelation adds poignancy to the situation – if the twins want any kind of relationship with the rest of their family, they must learn to get along together.

At lunchtime, Trisha explains that the two must cook and eat together while at the house. This rule presents a challenge in itself, since neither brother seems to know how to cook. After 40 uneasy, silent minutes in the kitchen, however, it is the tensions between the two that affect them the most. As dinner is about to be served, the stress gets the better of George and he hurries out of the house, feeling physically sick. “It’s going to be a very long three days,” he predicts.

Worried about the twins’ inability to spend time together, Trisha arranges for their partners to join them at the house. However, the arrival of Allan’s wife, Emma, and George’s wife, Sharon, signals the beginning of more tension. After another argument, Sharon decides that enough is enough: “You need to sort it out once and for all,” she tells her husband. The advice seems to have an effect, as the day ends with a glimmer of hope. After a game of pool at the pub, George and Allan shake hands, though there is still a long way to go.

On day two, Jamil and Andy arrive and have soon come up with a plan of action. Firstly, Jamil takes the twins aside and tries to make them think more positively. Though the brothers do not get on, they are very similar in their outlooks, with each agreeing that their stubbornness is key to their difficulties. Jamil then takes the brothers to the beach to gauge how close they feel and how close they want to feel at the end of the treatment. It is George who makes the first move, stepping towards a supposed point of contact to illustrate that he wants to get closer to his brother.

While Jamil spends some time with the boys, Trisha takes the wives to the shops to see if retail therapy can help. It is here that the first signs of real progress are made – Sharon and Emma get on very well, and even buy the same necklace independently. “If me and Emma can do it,” says Sharon, “then them two should be able to do it.” But, as the final day of treatment approaches, is her faith misplaced?

families at war (2/5)

Five’s Trisha Goddard continues the new series in which she attempts to help a group of families besieged by arguments, feuds and deep-rooted tensions. Aiding Trisha in her efforts are Jamil Qureshi and Andy Duncan – experts in the field of ‘mind-shaping’. Trisha’s guests tonight are a warring mother and son from Newcastle who have not spoken to each other in seven months.

Margie and Nigel have never seen eye to eye. Nigel claims that when he was young, his mother abandoned him when she began a relationship with her new partner, forcing him to live with his grandparents – a claim Margie vehemently denies. Margie, meanwhile, feels that her son has turned her grandchildren against her, simply because he disagrees with her choice of partner. Whatever the real reasons behind the discord, the pair’s relationship is at breaking point, with mother and son completely disowning one another. “I have not got a son,” remarks a weary Margie. For this family, the next few days are critical – a last chance to patch things up.

As the treatment begins, Trisha intends to observe her guests at close quarters to get to the root of their problems, but she is well aware that the task in hand will not be easy: “There is so much anger,” she reflects. Margie is first to arrive at the house, and is clearly worried about meeting her son, though she claims to want a relationship with him. When Nigel arrives, an argument immediately ensues and Margie storms off. If Trisha is going to rectify this situation, she will need all of her counselling skills.

One of the house rules is that all meals must be held together, but after the morning’s quarrel, Margie has decided to skip lunch. Despite what looks like a minor breakthrough when Nigel makes his mother a cup of tea, lunchtime sees Nigel eat alone as Margie retreats to her room. However, there is a glimmer of progress when Trisha talks Margie around and manages to open the lines of communication. She initiates a game to reveal more about the pair’s relationship, in which each must answer questions written on cards. It emerges that both parties see Margie’s partner, Harry, as key to their difficulties, but the agreement seems to end there.

After a tough first day, Trisha is keen to get the opinion of her fellow experts, so she gives Andy and Jamil a briefing using video footage taken throughout the day. The pair are surprised by the bad blood and lies that exist between Margie and Nigel, but are not put off their job. “We’re not here to pussyfoot around,” says Andy.

With just 48 hours left to go, the experts have much to do, so day two begins with an early outing. In an attempt to discover just how far apart the mother and son have grown, Jamil takes Margie and Nigel to the beach. Here, he literally draws a line in the sand and asks the pair to stand either side of it to represent the level of closeness they wish to achieve during their treatment. While Nigel stubbornly backs away, Margie surprises everyone by making the first move and approaching the line. After having her attempt at reconciliation denied, however, Margie is upset and wants to leave once more. “If you walk away now, I’ll close the book on you,” says Nigel. ”This is the last chance you’ve got.”

Back at the house, Andy and Jamil must do all they can to bring the situation back from the brink. Deciding that the two need to calm down before any progress can be made, Andy takes Margie aside to try a relaxation exercise, while Jamil uses a regression technique on Nigel. Once both mother and son are more relaxed, Andy offers Margie hope: “your sentence of suffering and pain is at an end.” However, his optimism is short-lived as another day draws to a close in argument. Now, Margie and Nigel have just one day left to sort out their problems, but with Margie insisting she wants to stay at a hotel, is it too late?

families at war (1/5)

Five’s Trisha Goddard embarks upon a brand new series in which she and a team of experts attempt to help a group of families besieged by arguments, feuds and deep-rooted tensions. Five families will each spend three days at a country house in a beautiful part of Norfolk, where the calming country air can work its magic. Trisha’s first family consists of a group of sisters at war.

Aiding Trisha in her efforts to bring about change are Jamil Qureshi and Andy Duncan. Jamil and Andy are experts in the field of ‘mind-shaping’ – a powerful mix of hypnosis and psychotherapy. The
pair hope that their treatment will transform the behaviour of the feuding family members and allow them to see their pasts and futures differently. Trisha, meanwhile, uses her considerable experience in
conflict resolution to help the participants begin their journeys to reconciliation.

Tonight’s family is made up of four sisters – Caroline, Tracey, Richelle and Kirsty – and their mum, Gwen. Eldest sister Caroline grew up in care from the age of four, and her behaviour has now driven her mum and sisters to despair. Sibling Tracey describes her as “two-faced, backstabbing and conniving”, while mum Gwen says that though she loves her daughter, she cannot stand the person that she is. As Kirsty, the youngest of the four sisters explains: “If we don’t get help, the family is going to fall apart.”

As the women arrive for the first of three days of treatment, Trisha attempts to get straight to the heart of the matter and unearths a host of past ordeals. Caroline and her brother Jason were taken into
care during mother Gwen’s postnatal depression. After this trauma, it emerged that the father of the three younger girls sexually abused Caroline. Things got even worse when Jason died of cancer in 1993. This chain of events led to feelings of guilt, anger, shame and bereavement, with blame being apportioned throughout the family. Trisha knows that her job will not be easy: “There’s so much work to be done with this family”.

One rule of the Norfolk treatment house is that all members of the family must cook and eat together, so Trisha sets them their first assignment: in order to reopen lines of communication, the women must
put together a shopping list. While the task sounds simple, it immediately causes problems, with arguments breaking out amongst the sisters about the quantities of chocolate and alcohol on the list.

The next step is for the family to sit down together and discuss the origins of their problems. The women are encouraged to be honest with each other, sharing truths about what incidents they see as being responsible for the discord. When asked what the worst thing any family member had done to her, Caroline shockingly responds: “My mum sleeping with my dad [her stepfather] after he’d done what he did to me.” But it seems that Tracey also has some dark secrets, as she bursts into tears and leaves the room when her turn comes.

As an explosive first day draws to a close, Trisha hands the case over to Jamil and Andy. Jamil is aware that there are many issues to be dealt with in just two days, but he is not daunted by the task. Early
next morning, he takes Gwen aside to hear her side of the story and learns that Caroline seems to have been hit hardest by the loss of Jason. He also discovers that despite their problems, Gwen loves her
daughters very much. In order to allow better understanding of each other’s problems, Jamil makes them create ‘mood boards’, using pictures to express their emotions.

Upstairs in the ‘expert area’, Caroline has her first consultation with Andy and describes yet another trauma – she lost a baby daughter to cot death 11 years ago. It emerges that Caroline blames herself for this tragic accident. “Well today’s the day your sentence can come to an end,” says Andy to an emotional Caroline.

After a day of intensive therapies, great progress has been made, with the women talking to each other for the first time in years. However, there is still a long way to go: “If we continue to make this progress it will be great,” explains Jamil. “But I’m fully aware things can go backwards.”

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