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  #1  
Unread January 5th, 2007, 03:54 PM
emdrhypno emdrhypno is offline
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Default Introducing "allies" without encouraging multiples

I am curious about introducing allies via RDI, and whether there is a danger of creating or encouraging dissociative tendencies. As a hypothetical example:

A client who frequently feels exhausted--and acts out through eating compulsively when exhausted--accesses a ten year old part through RDI who is vibrant and energetic. The client is encouraged to practice accessing that part as an ally at times when she wants to act out. The part is given a name, and may be used during EMDR processing as an ally or as a cognitive interweave.

Is there a danger here of encouraging dissociative tendencies? Should there be an integration piece, where the client is asked to embody that part of herself in the here and now, in her now grown up body?
Any thoughts or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
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  #2  
Unread January 6th, 2007, 12:31 AM
Sandra Paulsen Sandra Paulsen is offline
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Default Re: Introducing "allies" without encouraging multiples

You haven't said whether the client is dissociative or not; I'll assume not. In such a case the RDI to access a state is great, the state or resource needs a handle, not necessarily a name. I mean, "10" or "vibrant self" is better than "Victoria Rose the Conqueror." Best to round down so there isn't ego investedness in the separateness, which could be understood as encouraging dissociation. There are some who say iatrogenic dissociation is made just this way, by unnecessarily naming separateness; others say it doesn't tend to stick but rather reabsorbs. I still say a clinician is best to round down and use a functional handle rather than a name with attitude, wardrobe and so forth (to exaggerate a tad). The practice part is great, the cognitive interweave part is great if done according to the standard protocol. That means, only introduced if there is looping, not just in the middle of processing.

If that part of self is invited to "look through the eyes" during processing, then it is executive or ego cathected. Since this hypothetical client is not DID, the rest of the self is coconscious and copresent and there is by definition an integration piece. Only the presence of a Name (ego invested in separateness) rather than a functional handle would be a bad plan.

In a non-DID person, this step will likely cause the 10 year old to grow up and be integrated with the rest of self. In a dissociative person, I'd have a slightly different answer for you, because its more complex.

I'm not sure what protocol or whose method you are using, but it doesn't sound like the standard protocol of EMDR or RDI. Might be too much directing or guidance going on. If the therapist just stays out of the way, if the ego state is present and if there is bls, it WILL integrate most likely.

Does that take care of your question? or is there more?
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  #3  
Unread January 6th, 2007, 12:34 AM
Sandra Paulsen Sandra Paulsen is offline
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Default Re: Introducing "allies" without encouraging multiples

One more thing - and its a biggy -- that in the moment a client (DID or nonDID) is aware of customary self AND another state that seems separate -- that moment is actually providing a moment of integration. That is, a minute ago the client HAD the 10 year state but wasn't remembering or aware of it. Once there is awareness of the both (the observing part and the 10 year old state) they are both in conscious mind. That is therefore MORE integrated and LESS dissociated than when the 10 year old state wasn't in conscious mind.

Such maneuvers remain above reproach if the handles used to enable the turntable of ego cathectedness to turn are functional handles rather than Proper Names. (for nonDID people mind you-- its more complicated than this in DID).
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Unread January 7th, 2007, 01:32 AM
emdrhypno emdrhypno is offline
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Default Re: Introducing "allies" without encouraging multiples

Thanks for your wonderfully sophisticated, thorough response. I would love clarification on a few points.
First of all, when should I administer the DES? As a matter of protocol, with every client in the first or second session? Or only with clients whom I get the feeling may have dissociative tendencies?
Secondly, the approach I am referring to is intended to be derived from (perhaps imperfectly) Roy Kiessling's chapter in EMDR Solutions. I believe he talks about accessing "the basketball player"(a relatively imperturbable high school self) for a client who wants to be unruffled by antagonists in board meetings. Does that ring a bell? And how does my description differ from Kiessling's recommendations?
And finally, I would like some clarification about the part "looking through the eyes" of the client. Is it, in nonDID clients, advisable to have the client actually imagine becoming the part(rather than simply being in relationship to the part)? What I understand you to be saying is that as long as there is an observing, intact, adult ego, this experience of becoming another part will only lead to greater maturity and integration. I am not sure, though, if I understood you correctly.
You lost me a little bit with the reference to cathexis. I have no official psychoanalytic training, and have little more than a superficial understanding of that term.
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  #5  
Unread January 7th, 2007, 02:43 AM
Sandra Paulsen Sandra Paulsen is offline
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Default Re: Introducing "allies" without encouraging multiples

When a new client crosses my threshold, and I hear their concerns and burdens and goals, I wonder how this self system is structured, and how much affect tolerance there is, because the answer to that question determines whether our path is short or long, and whether and how to proceed with resourcing or EMDR or whatever else. The DES makes sense to administer early, because it gives us clues to that question. Its a screening device, not a diagnostic one, but its a good start. Waiting until when one wants to do EMDR makes no sense to me, because why wasn't one wondering at the time one was doing the original assessment? It is surely germaine to assessment and diagnosis.

Now, there are other means of assessing for dissociative disorders in interview or with other instruments, and experienced people can often pick it up in interview and know how to field it as they go along, and work with parts as needed. But that's another story for another day.

A very very common error many clinicians seem to make is to assume that they only need to think of dissociation if they observe switching. But florid switching is very rare indeed, a small percentage of serious dissociators. So I hear people say, "I've only had one or two DIDs" when they really mean florid dissociaters, but they don't know that's what they mean. They don't know about the many others they overlooked because they aren't florid and don't have tattoos on their foreheads saying, "highly dissociative." If the whole point of being dissociative is to keep secrets from the self and the world as a survival strategy, then no surprise the condition is secret often from self and therapist.

It seems to me that Kiesling, in referring to the basketball player, is using that phrase as a handle to pull forward an ego state, or you could say the neuronet holding the piece of state dependent learning that has the capacity to feel imperturbable. I don't object one bit to that use of a handle, because it pulls it forward handily one might say, and people get it. If it is ones own high school experience, it is typically quite accessible in a nonDID person. If it is the basketball player who lived across the street, one has to approach it more gradually, perhaps shadowing the player closely, until one can envision and have a felt sense of how it is to look through that imperturbable persons eyes.

To clarify and answer your other question, I was saying that there is no iatrogenic dissociation involved in observing another state of oneself, rather, it is a midpoint on a path. The points, if there were only a few, on that continuum of integration would be:

1) forgotten "disowned" (for example, I am perturbable and that's all I know about me in this moment and in the board room,

2) "object cathected" or "dawning" I remember now, there is a part of me from high school and he is imperturbable, I see that in his stance, his expression, (notice the third person, which evidence's object cathexis)

3) "merging" I am following the basketball player closely, so I can emulate his stance, his expression, and I can almost feel his imperturbability (this is still "I" and "he", but its almost "we" so first person experience of imperturbability is approaching (its becoming ego cathected we see by the approach of the first person pronoun), and

4) "ego cathected" or "owned" I feel my imperturbability, I am that basketball player (ego cathected, that is, there is ego energy (self energy) on that neuro net. It is now activated, no longer in archive.

So what might appear to be encouraging dissociation is actually encouraging an integrated self, increased neural linkages between neural nets. You might say we are greasing the wheels of conveyance to more readily access the highway of imperturbability (in this case) with those increased associative linkages. If we are increasing associative linkages, how can we possibility be creating dissociation? Only by reifying the basketball player, so he has his own dressing room and wardrobe and name, Wilt the Imperturbable, where both client and therapist are too much into the Otherness of the basketball player for its own sake, for the entertainment value, rather than as a means to an integrated self.


If the basketball player was the guy across the street and now one can wear imperturbability by borrowing the felt sense of him, well oh well. Its a resource.

I'm not sure what Roy Kiessling would say about it, but that's what I would say.
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