Carla is a 37 year old woman who works as a manager in a large engineering firm. She is married with two children a boy aged 10 (Carlos) and girl aged 8 (Anna). Her husband Rodrigo is great with the kids and very devoted and loving to Carla but he has recently been laid off from work (clothing factory supervisor) because the company became liquidated and folded.

Although her job is well paid, Carla has been very worried about finances, the mortgage and having enough money to pay for all of the bills such as council rates, telephone and electricity bills, school fees, food, clothes and fuel for the two cars. There has been a bit of tension lately since Rodrigo lost his job and both Carla and Rodrigo have had some heated verbal exchanges. Carla realises that she is under a lot of pressure and has sought the help of a counsellor to see what can be done with her circumstances.

The counsellor has been great because Carla can get lots of feelings and frustrations off her chest and is able to get some really pragmatic ideas about getting support. Carla also has a very supportive family and her father has stated that he will help them out financially for the time being. Carla also has a great bunch of girlfriends that she talks to and has coffee with on a regular basis and a couple of mothers whose kids go to the same school as Carlos and Anna have helped out with transport to and from school.

This has relieved Carla’s anxiety, but she knows that she will need a longer term plan and that Rodrigo is going to have to help. Rodrigo has been trying to get another job, but he may have to travel to another suburb much further away where there is some work vacancies. He has applied for two positions and has been asked to come in for an interview soon so he is focused and a bit on edge but is quietly confident he has the experience and knowledge to be successful.

Carla and Rodrigo have been to see their accountant so that they can sort out a plan to ease their financial burden and whilst money is tight, they can see that they will be able to cope, especially with her father’s offer of support. Carla continues to go to the gym in the mornings and to book club every second Saturday which she enjoys.

What can we make of Carla’s story?

The change in circumstances following her husband’s loss of his job created considerable stress for Carla in the face of mounting bills and family tension testing her relationship with Rodrigo. Carla to her credit could understand the nature of this change and looked for ways to cope and people to talk to about her dilemma. Carla has strong family and social supports and this has enabled her to take control and seek out solutions to her problems.

She has sought the help of her father and this has been very positive. She realises that this is not going to be a permanent solution and with Rodrigo they have sought out financial planning advice and help and have been able to ascertain that with some belt tightening in some areas they will be financially okay.

Carla also realised that there was tension between her and Rodrigo and she sought the help of a professional counsellor. She has been able to express her fears and frustrations which have greatly relieved her anxiety and she realises that she needed to let off some steam. Carla also has some great girlfriends who have also given her lots of emotional and practical support. Carla has taken comfort in the fact that Rodrigo is doing a great job caring for the kids when her work commitments become too great under the stress.

Carla has not given up her activities such as the gym and book club and this has helped her to relax a bit.