Beverley Chambers Counsellor in Bromley

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Published: March 19th 2018

Family should be supportive, caring, loving, unconditional and there when you need them. However, for some families there can be some, or none of these things in place.

Families are complex because they are individuals in their own right and have beliefs that may be different from yours, or behaviours that may not be approved of.

That’s why when clients come for counselling about relationships, work issues, marital problems etc. at some point looking into their family environment becomes a small part of the counselling process to see if this has impacted on the problems they are facing at present; whether I am are seeing couples or individuals.

Below are some of the issues that my clients have found have affected them from childhood; not aware of the impact this has had on their adulthood.


When parents separate this is a traumatic experience for the children, but if this is addressed with care it can make the process for the children more manageable. Unfortunately, this is not always the case and hence some of my clients feel insecure about themselves, and fear being abandoned because the support and care they needed as a child was lacking due to their parents becoming focussed on their own pain and issues. When the unconditional becomes conditional to maintain a relationship with either parents this can make their adult relationships insecure; waiting to be abandoned or hurt, and not believing love is unconditional.

Step Parents

One of the main issues that can occur is with the behaviour of the stepparent; their response to the child that represents another relationship. It is sad when listening to the emotional abuse (blatantly vocal or indifferent) experienced by the child; who will spend their time trying as hard as they can to be liked by their stepparent and subsequently take on board all the negative and dismissive feelings that they have had to endure. Hence, they become adults who do not believe that anyone could really love them, or are just waiting to hurt them if they let their guard down.

Observing Verbal and Physical Abuse

Verbal and physical abuse witnessed by the child has devastating effects resulting in feelings of fear, anxiety, stress, comfort eating and substance abuse to cope with these feelings. The abusive behaviour is what they perceive as ‘normal’ and therefore they are not able to develop positive relationships, unwittingly picking someone who treats them the way they observed as a child. They can live in a state of constantly preparing to leave if anyone treats them like this again. They have low expectations and a lack of self-worth.


The above has a huge impact on attachment, which starts as a child from the first communication. The environment you grow up in can determine your relationships with people and with yourself. Once you understand this journey that has had an impact on your life it is amazing to watch how clients are able to move forward and make positive changes.

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I was invited on Shelagh Fogarty's LBC Radio Talk Show to talk about divorce and separation. Listen to my interview in the below video.

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