Sunday, December 27, 2009

What Kind of Patients Do Parts Psychology

Many people have asked about the kinds of patients who do Parts Psychology. My answer is that any one who is capable of carrying on a converstion with another person can do this sort of work. Here is an excerpt from one of the chapters of my book. It describes one such patient.

Richard was 38 and feeling that he could barely function when he first came to therapy. He had panic attacks “out of the blue” that felt like he was having heart attacks. His everyday anxiety left him wide awake at bedtime, unable to sleep for an hour or more after going to bed. He was depressed and cried for no reason, sometimes four or five days in a row, although his longer term pattern was to cry only about 10 days in any given month. He had been on antidepressant medications for 10 years. He was currently taking nefazodone (formerly marketed as Serzone) and bupropion (Wellbutrin) for depression. For his panic attacks and generalized anxiety his psychiatrist had prescribed lorazepam (Ativan) and risperidone (Risperdal), a medication generally used for schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. He was seriously overmedicated and still not receiving significant relief. One of our first session's stated goals was to wean him off of his medications. With proper psychotherapy, most people do not need such a soup of psychoactive substances circulating in their blood.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Twinning in the Development of Subpersonalities

In the course of normal development all humans develop subpersonalities to help them adjust to new and, especially, difficult life situations. These subpersonalities are the parts we are talking about when we say “a part of me wants to ask for the promotion but another part tells me to keep my head down.” Talking about how different parts affect us is common in everyday language. Sometimes, two parts are created in the same difficult circumstance. For example, in one case an adolescent girl was punished in a demeaning way by a teacher in front her classmates. The experience was so embarrassing that two internal parts developed to handle the humiliation However, they functioned in different ways. First, there was the part who experienced the embarrassment. She remained trapped in the memory and served as a reminder whenever the person considered doing something socially risky in the future. The result was that as an adult the woman was socially conservative in dress and outlook, and generally expected to fail whenever she tried anything that exposed her to public view. In addition to the part trapped in the memory, another part developed at the same time. This part reinforced the message that the person was socially clumsy, unlikeable, and generally inept. The second part became the person’s critical self (Most of us probably have critical selves). In another case an adolescent girl felt rejected by her mother when her mother chose to leave her with her father when the mother left with another man. The experience brought about the creation of one part who stayed trapped in the memory of terrible sadness and rejection, while a second part was created to keep smiling at the world. The second part influenced the woman to be bubbly and to smile frequently as she dressed stylishly at all times. The result was that the adult woman was hugely popular with friends and family and did well in her career in sales and marketing. The process of creating two new selves in a difficult social circumstance, with a second part opposed in some way to the felt emotions of the first, is what I am calling twinning. It occurs in the normal adjustment to life situations as we grow up, and it occurs as well in the extreme development of parts found in Dissociative Identity Disorder (Multiple Personality Disorder).

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Treating DID (MPD): Getting Rid of Alters

Most approaches in the psychotherapy of Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID), also called Multiple Personality Disorder (MPD), aim to somehow get rid of the annoying presence of multiple minds—that is, the alter personalities. The most na├»ve of these approaches just want these multiple selves to go away. Religious and other simplistic approaches which treat alter personalities as if they were demons or unwanted stepchildren are like this. But there are no demons in Dissociative Identity Disorder. More sophisticated approaches want to fuse the multiple selves into a unified entity. This is the current mainstream system for treating multiple selves. In a certain sense these approaches are just as wrongheaded as the idea that internal parts are demons. These approaches may attempt to fuse the many voices into one and then continue to work with the person’s life traumas, or they might process the trauma first and then try to do the fusion. But why is the attempt to fuse many into one wrongheaded? Because we are all multiple in the sense that we have unconscious internal parts with their own senses of self with their own agendas. These parts also have their own limited consciousness. If a therapist succeeds in fusing the many into one then that therapist creates something new, something nature did not create in the building of what becomes a human being. Rather than continue to try to fuse the many into one, what therapists and researchers should be doing is to figure out what causes the normal internal parts of some people to become energized enough that they switch into control of a person and that person cannot remember what happened during the time of control. And yet for 95 to 98 percent of people that kind of switching never happens. Now that is a good research question!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Publishing Parts Psychology

I have just about decided to start my own publishing company. I don’t want to wait the two years it might take to see my book in print by a traditional publisher. Parts Psychology is a subject that needs to be available immediately. I have purchased a couple of domain names and begun researching the process for a start-up publishing corporation—probably as an LLC. The two alternative corporate names I’m thinking of are NewUniversityPress and FreeUniversityPress. I would love to hear from any of you who read this blog as to which name you like best. Or any other suggestions for names would also be appreciated. Just click the comment button.