Dandelion Time met Jason alongside his two sons, Liam (12) and Scott (13) during a time of increasing strain within their family. Following a recent separation from their mum, Jason along with Liam and Scott had just moved into a new house whilst his three younger daughters remained with their Mum.
Initially, Liam and Scott were reluctant to meet our team or take part in activities offered to them. Engagement with one another, their Dad or tasks appeared only fleetingly. During their first few sessions, the tension between Liam and Scott was palpable, often spilling into their interactions with their Dad. Between the three of them, we began to notice patterns of competition and miscommunication, often resulting in an explosion of behaviours fuelled by emotion. In these moments we noticed Liam becoming more and more withdrawn. Whilst Scott offered the contrary, making himself louder, bigger, filling the room or space. These contrasting positions left Jason feeling frustrated and helpless, unable to bridge the gap between his two boys. Each moment of conflict further solidified their three positions, leaving repeated patterns of behaviours and responses unresolved.
As the weeks progressed, we saw how Scott and Liam appeared most at ease whilst outside helping with practical tasks. Tasks that required only subtle verbal interaction, with more reliance on physical collaboration. They were required to be more attuned to the other, interpreting each other’s next steps to achieve a shared goal. It was during these moments that we saw another side of their relationship being revealed. Jason mentioned how it reminded him of when they were smaller, before the conflict started and they would play together for hours in their garden.
By week five, Jason, Scott and Liam were relaxing, and we suggested they have a go building a fire together. Using their tools, Jason, Liam and Scott negotiated with a fallen Ash tree in order to gather some firewood. Scott and Liam worked as a team using our two-man saw, finding a rhythmn between them to saw the trunk ready for splitting. Together they transported the logs to the woodland clearing, Scott and Liam pulling the trolley carrying it all, whilst Jason guided the wheels supporting the load, stopping it from toppling. Once down in the woods they worked together to build their fire ready for lighting. After a few minutes of tyring, a lucky strike from the flint and steel at the hands of Liam and their fire began. Scott and Jason grinned at Liam, sharing his joy and then they set about their task of working together, slowly tending to their fire, adding wood little by little ensuring it had the fuel it needed to grow. Once confidently ablaze, Jason and his sons sat together, sharing a log, captivated by the flames of their fire licking up it the air above them.
For their remaining weeks, Jason, Scott and Liam continued with hands-on tasks like green woodworking and pottery. We noticed them, relaxing into each other’s company, with support and acceptance emerging into their relationships, bring them closer. Their opportunities at Dandelion Time provided the environment for their once entrenched patterns of interaction to be interrupted, offering possibilities of a new way of being together.
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This is a composite case that is indicative of our work, names and images have been changed.
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