Monday, February 22, 2010

Healing Child Parts in Bulimia

Today's blog consists of an excerpt from one chapter of my book. It illustrates that working in the inner world is about healing the parts in pain, and not just focusing upon the therapy's primary issue--which in this case was decades of bulimia.

In the therapy room Maria found herself in communication with a two-year-old, also named Cecelia. For Cecelia 2 the earliest memory was of raising her hands to her mother to be picked up, and feeling rejected when her mother refused her. In another early memory she remembered going out to play in a neighborhood with lots of other children. Someone was carrying a baby and young Cecelia remembered wanting to bite the baby. In yet another memory involving anger with other young children, Cecelia wanted to hurt a little girl with curly hair. She ran to where the girl was sitting, pulled her hair, and then ran home.

Before we ended the session we unburdened Cecelia Two of the memory of wanting to bite the baby being carried by its mother. The memory did not immediately give up its energy to a bubble bath intervention. Maria observed that there was a lot of energy in the memory picture of the baby getting what she herself wanted from her own mother. Her sense of rejection was quite disturbing. She was envious of the baby and envious as well of the other children who were playing joyfully with each other. They seemed to be feeling the comfort of acceptance that she so badly wanted to feel. Once she had expressed her hurt, a second effort of unburdening the memory through a bubble bath was successful in reducing the SUD level to zero.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

What Do Parts Look Like?

In previous blogs I have talked about the naturally multiple mind that is characteristic of all humans. The elements of this multiplicity I am calling parts, as does Richard C Schwartz from whom I borrowed the term. In Ego State therapy these parts are called ego states, as the name implies. In the psychotherapy founded by the Italian, Roberto Assagioli, they are called subpersonalities. Interestingly, the language used for these elements of the mind by those who study Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID), also called Multiple Personality Disorder (MPD), seems now to also be settling on parts rather than alters or alter personalities. One irony is that these experts on pathological dissociation still do not recognize that the phenomena they study are the same parts we study in the parts of normal people, just more extreme.

When the therapist helps a person to distinguish a part from the Self and then asks the person to describe the image of the part, there is sometimes no image, only a body sensation. Most of the time however, the person becomes aware of a visual image representing the part. Sometimes the visual representation was present before the work with the therapist, and sometimes the representation is produced at the time the therapist helps to distinguish the part from the Self. In most cases the image of the part is an image that closely resembles the person. Occasionally, the image of the part is identical to the image of the person as she or he sits in the therapy room. More often, however, there are differences in clothing, hair style, facial hair, age, muscularity, or other subtle things. Sometimes the image is that of some other person, having no resemblance to the person in the therapy room. The image can even be that of an animal, a cartoon, or a creature from an animated film. The visual image of a part can also be a cloud, a ball of fire, a color (most often red for anger), or just about any symbol the mind can conjure up. And this is an essential understanding: the images are symbols or clusters of symbols drawn from a person’s life experience and are meaningful to that person in terms of her or his life experiences. From my point of view the images, like names of parts, are mostly of importance for the purpose of telling parts apart and for easing recall of the parts from one session to the next.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

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