Role-Playing Script

Published 20 Feb 2017

Jean: Hi! I’m Jean Terven. I am one of the counselors working here. May I know your name?
Mary: Mary Dormandt.
Jean: I was told that you came in last night. I hope we can talk more about it.
(All this time May was looking at her hands, folded on top of the table.)
Jean: Are you all right?
Mary: Yeah. (Mary answered absent-mindedly).
Jean: Mary … we are not rushing here. Do not worry about the time. I will wait
for you to be ready.
Mary: I was having problems at home. My parents are not from here and I
have no other relatives. I saw this place while surfing the Net and I
thought I will check it out.
(Jean does not answer. She simply look at Mary, bidding her time wanting the client to collect her thoughts. And then Jean continues the interventions process. She chose her her words very carefully.)
Jean: Look Mary, I know you came in last night with the police. I saw the
report and it says that you were visibly shaken. I will still wait for you to be ready but I’m telling you that it is all right to talk about the events that made you come to the center. (Mary makes eye contact with Jean and lowers her eyes again. Mary began to grimace and she began to sob. Jean does not interrupt her allowing Mary to get in touch with her emotions. After a while Mary began to look up again, the invisible wall around her has crumbled and she is willing to talk.)
Mary: Mark beats me up.
Jean: Who is Mark?
(Mary nervously looked around the room but there is no other adult in the counselling area aside from Jean, then speaks up.)Mary: My husband.
Jean: You are married for how long?
Mary: More than a year.
Jean: Your parents know?
Mary: They don’t know.
Jean: Any relatives know that Mark is beating you up?
Mary: I told you already that I’m not from here. (Mary began to be upset.)
Jean: I’m sorry. I was just trying to know more about the problem.
(Jean takes a brief pause. And resumes with her questioning.)
Can you describe to me how Mark beats you up?
Mary: He punches me in my tummy. (Mary makes a circular movement above her
Jean: What else does he do to you?
Mary: He kicks me in the shin.
Jean: Why do you think he does that?
Mary: I don’t know.
Jean: Is it because he doesn’t want others to know that he is hurting you?
Mary: I guess.
Jean: What else?
Mary: He slaps me at the back of my head.
Jean: He slaps you in the face?
Mary: No. Never.
Jean: Does it occur to you that he does not want to leave marks on you.
Mary: No.
Jean: In most cases, husbands are careful not to leave anything that will arouse suspicion from neighbors and friends.
Mary: (Mary does not say anything. Continues to fidget with her hands. Then she wiped her tear-stained face and looks up at Jean.)
Jean: Where do you live?
Mary: In a suburb up north.
Jean: Are there neighbors nearby?
Mary: Yeah. Of course.
Jean: They don’t suspect?
Mary: I’m not sure.
Jean: Do you have a job?
Mary: None.
Jean: You just stay at home. Taking care of the children?
Mary: Yes. I only have one child. She is six months old.
Jean: So basically you have very little contact with outsiders?
Mary: That’s right.
Jean: What are you feeling right now?
Mary: I feel sad. Depressed.
Jean: I may sound insensitive in light of what you have told me but I really want to know why you feel depressed.
Mary: I love Mark and I can’t believe this is happening to me right now.
Jean: You have known him for long?
Mary: Not really. I came here to find meaning to my life. I came from a small town you
know and there is not much that goes on out there. I want to see for myself what the big fuss is all about when it comes to the big city. So I decided to have a little adventure you know what I mean?
Jean: OK. Go on.
Mary: I was working in this restaurant and I met Mark. He came in and it was difficult for me to stop staring you know. (Mary smiled for the first time in the course of the interview.) He was handsome in a different kind of way. (She continues to smile and proceeded with her story.) I fell in love with him.
Jean: What then?
Mary: We got married and he told me to stop working and that he will do everything in his
power that we will not lack anything. We got this place in the suburbs and I felt that it was the happiest days of my life.
Jean: When did he start beating you?
Mary: When I became pregnant. I remember clearly because my tummy was already evident when he came in one day and started rambling about something from work. I tried to talk to him and then he was angry at something.
Jean: What triggered his anger.
Mary: I don’t know but then we had a fight and then he hit me. He kicked me in my shin. It
was very painful.
Jean: Did you confront him afterwards when he was sober?
Mary: No.
Jean: Why not?
Mary: Immediately after he hit me, he was sorry for what he did.
Jean: But it was not the last time.
Mary: (She doesn’t answer but nods her head in agreement.)
Jean: Is right to say that there was an escalation in the violence?
Mary: Yes.
Jean: When did it occur, when did the violence escalate?
Mary: After giving birth to my baby.
Jean: When was this?
Mary: A few days after giving birth he came home one night. He was drunk. He began
trashing our home.
Jean: What do you mean “thrashing our home”?
Mary: He was throwing things. And he was angry at something, he was kicking the furniture
and slamming the door. It is something I don’t want to remember.
Jean: Then what happened?
Mary: He began hitting me. At the back of the head. Kicking my legs. Grabbing my hair.
Jean: What do you think made him do that?
Mary: I guess did something wrong or maybe he had a rough time at work.
Jean: Where was the baby when all of this was happening?
Mary: She’s asleep in the other room. It’s good that she is not yet old enough to witness her
father acting like that.
Jean: You did not ask for help this time?
Mary: I tried to call my Dad but I know what he will say.
Jean: What is that? Enlighten me please.
Mary: He will say that we have to sort it out; that we are husband and wife and that there is
no outsider who can help us now. He will add that Mark and I must sit down and talk
about it.
Jean: How about your Mom, why didn’t you call her?
Mary: She will follow what my Dad will say.
Jean: Your Mom will never question your Dad’s authority?
Mary: Not in a million years.
Jean: What do you mean? Please elaborate.
Mary: You see my parents grew up in a place where families are tight you know. It is a place
unlike in the big city, unlike here. It is more traditional.
Jean: You have no friends you can call on for help?
Mary: None.
Jean: I know you do not have a job and that you are new here but I just want to clarify that
you have no friends that you can ask for support in times like this?
Mary: I don’t know how to explain it but Mark seems uneasy if I began to cultivate friendship with others, especially with the opposite sex. I don’t know what makes him so tense if I even try to bring up the idea of making new friends among the neighbors perhaps. But he will always find an excuse not to come with me even if we only have to meet the people just across the street.
Jean: If you have no friends, then why did you not call the police?
Mary: But there was no crime committed.
Jean: So you still classify the beatings as a part of married life?
Mary: In a way yes.
Jean: Who is at fault here? Is your husband’s actions justified?
Mary: Yes and No.
Jean: Can you please elaborate on that?
Mary: Well, no one in his or her right mind would like to be hurt but sometimes I can’t help
but wonder if I am the one who triggered those outburst.
Jean: You are blaming yourself?
Mary: In a way yes because I cannot explain why Mark was suddenly transformed into this
kind of monster. He used to be very sweet to me.
Jean: Do you believe you are in denial?
Mary: I don’t know I guess.
Jean: Based on what you said, you are exhibiting the classic symptoms of a battered wife.
Mary: (Mary begins to sob.)
Jean: Do you believe that you are a battered wife and don’t want to admit it.
Mary: I love Mark.
Jean: But he beat you up and does not consider you his equal let alone consider you a
decent human being.
Mary: (Mary does not comment just looks at Jean intently, waiting for the next word.)
Jean: Does Mark own a pet?
Mary: He has a yellow Labrador.
Jean: Does he kick the dog in the stomach?
Mary: No. Of course not.
Jean: Then why does he kick you?
Mary: He may have a rough childhood and he may be going through something difficult
right now.
Jean: He is not the only one who is going through something in this relationship. You are a mother of a newborn baby, you are also going through something.
Mary: Yeah. That’s right.
Jean: I know it’s going to be hard to answer this, but are you going to leave him?
Mary: I don’t think so.
Jean: Why not?
Mary: We can still work this out.
Jean: What happened the last time?
Mary: He kicked me in my (she motions to her abdomen area) … then he punched me in my thighs.
Jean: I’m not talking about you.
Mary: What do you mean?
Jean: You came in with your baby, Mary, it’s in the report.
Mary: (This time she begins to moan, and did not speak up for a long time.)
Jean: Something happened that made you get out of the house after a long time of abuse. What is it Mary?
Mary: I thought he is going to hurt the baby so bad.
Jean: Can you please elaborate on that?
Mary: While he was beating me Jessica was crying in her crib.
Jean: Then what happened?
Mary: He turned his attention to Jessica and shouted at her to shut up.
Jean: Go on.
Mary: Jessica won’t stop crying. I guess she was hungry at that time.
Jean: Maybe she is aware that something is wrong.
Mary: Maybe.
Jean: Then what happened?
Mary: Then Mark grab her with two hands and shook her violently while shouting at her, his
face inches away from her.
Jean: What else?
Mary: I though that her head would snap it was bouncing like a rag doll.
Jean: And then?
Mary: I pleaded with Mark telling him that Jessie is just a baby and she doesn’t know
Jean: And what happened.
Mary: He stormed out of the house leaving us for hours.
Jean: Is that the time that you decide to come here?
Mary: Yes.
Jean: But you were so terrified of Mark that you call the police.
Mary: Yeah and I don’t have a car. I don’t know also if Mark will come back anytime soon
so I called the cops.
Jean: Are you going to leave him?
Mary: I don’t know.
Jean: There are other reasons why you don’t want to leave him.
Mary: (She doesn’t answer.)
Jean: Is it because you have no job?
Mary: I don’t know.
Jean: Is it because he has told you that no one will ever love you again?
Mary: He said the same thing to me. Yeah. But I don’t know.
Jean: There so much going on your mind right now Mary but do you want change?
Mary: Yes of course.
Jean: Change will cost us something.
Mary: (She doesn’t say anything.)
Jean: Ok. The first thing that you need to do is to find a job. Try to find something that you
can do at home.
Mary: Ok.
Jean: He is trying to manipulate you by not allowing you to go out of the house and find work. But you need to find a job. I will set you up with others. We will establish a network of friends.
Mary: Ok.
Jean: Let’s continue the session for ten more weeks. OK?
Mary: Ok. Thanks.

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