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Unread July 7th, 2005, 10:09 AM
Carol Ann Rowland Carol Ann Rowland is offline
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Ontario
Posts: 31
Default Working with Defensive Parts of Self

Hi Sandra,

I was very interested to see your comments:

>>Many people can do exercises to get to know themselves, including disowned states, but its pretty hard to do the difficult pieces without help. That's because the defenses protect against full knowing of these parts, often because of the misbelief that the old dangers are still present when they are not. The defensive parts of self loyally and courageously continue to fight the old wars, tho the war is over externally. It lives on internally. Like those Japanese soldiers that were found in the mountains of a remote Phillipine island decades after WWII was over. They didn't know it was present day and the war was over.<<

I have begun using this analogy, and for one client in particular it has caused a huge "aha" reaction for parts inside. We have done a lot of ego state work through talking and energy work in relation to the analogy and have begun combining this with EMDR and it really is helping a great deal.

I find the visual imagery that comes up for some of the parts is so interesting - some parts have moved from being in the bush into a clearing that is not totally joined with the rest of the world that knows the war is over, but they can "see into" that part of the world from where they are now, and some of them think about joining it, or run out and try it for a moment and run back to the clearing (or for a moment back into the bush) when it gets too frightening. There also have been a lot of questions about when the soldiers were hiding, did maybe anyone just come and tell them the war was over before it really was, to try to trick them? It has caused so much discussion and a much easier way of getting to issues - it feels like the parts find it safer to talk about "the soldiers" sometimes, even though it's clear they are asking about themselves, and me in relation to them.

One more heavily guarded part is having a harder time leaving the bush but is getting closer and has even begun to take on new "jobs" that involve a lower level of internal alarm and hypervigilance (while still watching and being aware, in a self-protective way...)

I do find it is still a gradual, back and forth process, and yet now it is clear that things are gradually shifting forward, whereas before the belief that the war was still ongoing just ran so deep it seemed that nothing could move it.

I just wanted to comment that I find this an extremely useful analogy and it has just been soooo helpful. The client's parts of self all of the "job" of noticing times when it's clear the war is over, and they use energy work on their own to help deepen that awareness, between sessions - so far they have come up with times of "knowing" when on water slides, when playing with their puppy, snuggling external children, etc... Also the information that the war has been over for so long now that her own (external) children don't even know that there ever was a war, has caused more of an "aha" reaction.

Those soldiers went through a lot but they are sure helping people now!

Take care,

Carol Ann
Carol Ann Rowland, MSW, RSW
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