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  #1  
Unread December 22nd, 2005, 11:10 AM
littlethree littlethree is offline
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Default Encapsulating Parts of Self

If a human being client is using EMDR, and they tend deal with traumas that happened at particular ages of life by "assigning and developing" an age persona to deal with that trauma, almost as an "independent entity", but the client is consciously aware and knows that they are "encapsulating" aspects of themselves in these age personas and knows that at some point the various "parts of self" will need to be integrated to just "one self"....should they be disuaded from using the aformentioned "encapsulating parts of self" approach?

Any comments, within the constraints and rules of this web forum (yada yada yada), will be welcomed.
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  #2  
Unread December 22nd, 2005, 12:46 PM
Sandra Paulsen Sandra Paulsen is offline
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Default Re: Encapsulating Parts of Self

I see you understand that I can make general comments, rather than case specific comments, so what follows may or may not apply in the case you mention.

An ego state therapist is happy to work with parts of self, understanding that eventually the goal is integration. Integration doesn't mean no parts; we all have parts. If we didn't have parts, all our state specific learning would be in one heap, like a pile in a warehouse, without differentiation. No, parts are normal.

What's not normal is for parts to either have amnesia, lives of their own with conflict with other parts of self (e.g., No, we aren't wearing a pinafore! We are wearing overalls and galoshes!). It is also not normal to hold unresolved trauma in compartments without eventually getting the compartments vacuumed out, as I'm fond of saying. EMDR is a great way to vacuum.

The latter, that is, holding unresolved trauma in compartments, is very common so in that sense it is "normal." But its not normal in the sense that it isn't healthy and causes suffering. Many psychological symptoms are the direct result of unresolved trauma leaking out, or are the results of putting on the brakes continuously so the trauma doesn't leak out. At the same time, its all many people CAN do, so its "normal" to continue it until another solution becomes available.

Even an ego state therapist can't rush in and Voila! resolve the divisions without planful work over time (more or less time depending on the complexity of the self).

Some therapists are reluctant to speak to parts, often fearing it encourages separateness and therefore would be in the opposite direction of integration. Ego state therapists believe that to talk to only the front part of self that presents for treatment is like looking at only the porch of a house. You have to get in the front door and understands the rooms and floor plan to be dealing with the whole house. I believe that when one does that, work with the parts directly, one is increasing the integration of the whole person by increasing interpart communication and overall awareness of the total self and its conflicts.

Remember that its not "parts" or "no parts." Everyone has parts, and on the far left end of a continuum there is a smooth running system of parts. On the far right end of the same dissociative continuum is complex dissociative identity disorder (multiple personality). There are as many shades of gray in the middle as you can imagine. All are normal in the sense that they came to be to handle particular functions, including for many, holding trauma and doing life at the same time.

So hats off to all the people with parts of self that are waiting patiently to be heard, for their chance with the microphone. Hats off to all the parts of self that protect by holding traumatic experience in compartments. And hats off to all the clients whose systems want to work well as a team, and to all those therapists who use methods to help divided selves integrate.

EMDR works great for those on the left half or two thirds of the continuum. For the right side, ego state work is vital to prepare for EMDR, as are other containment, stabilization and fractionation methods. Its about safety.

Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah, and Celebratory Seasons to all!
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Unread December 22nd, 2005, 02:03 PM
Sandra Paulsen Sandra Paulsen is offline
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Default Re: Encapsulating Parts of Self

One more thought: therapists with an ego state approach typically don't discourage the use of parts in the interim -- how could the system function? but rather, want the system to talk amongst themselves, so the parts are looking out for the totality of the person, not just one interest.

Finally, for a highly dissociative person, we do not discourage the use of dissociation in the interim. In fact, we typically work behind the wall of amnesia, if there is one, so the front part can do life while the deep painful work is being done -- vacuuming-- behind the curtain. We don't require the front to own everything - its too overwhelming. Once the traumatic material has been detoxified, THEN we bring the front in on it.
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Unread December 24th, 2005, 11:58 PM
littlethree littlethree is offline
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Default Re: Encapsulating Parts of Self

i think the main concern happens to be when the client talks of these "encapsulated" parts in the 3rd person and blames certain things on one of these "parts". Like, "My Inner Child and My Sad 16 year old were sitting together talking...." or "My Supportive Voice believes that I can do it, but speakin as the the 16-year-old, I don't have that faith in myself". (These are just examples of possible talk).

There are no signs that this is happening outside of therapy, when the client is in the "real" world. But, reflecting upon the way it happens, I'm wondering if his/her method of thinking needs to be reassessed or taken stock of. For fear that, multiple personalities may develop out of such thoughts. Not that there is any sign of that actualizing, it is just a thought thought. But of course, I don't want to have a therapist telling/controlling a clients very thoughts.

whatever comments, no matter how sterile they may be, are welcomed.
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  #5  
Unread December 25th, 2005, 12:30 AM
Sandra Paulsen Sandra Paulsen is offline
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Default Re: Encapsulating Parts of Self

Talking about the self in third person won't bring on multiple personality, though if the therapist and client both falsely believe that it does, that could be a problem. That's the basis for iatrogenic DID.

Therapists should be clear that parts are normal. Amnesia isn't particularly.

Its interesting, that talking about self in the third person is of course odd, and it is true that people who do it are typically distancing themself from something. That is, "it didn't happen to me, it happened to her over there." So that distance appears to be pathological.

However, if the third person maneuver, which is called properly "object cathexis," enables the person to begin for the first time to talk about what it was that happened "that one over there" and begin to have compassion for that one, then that's actually LESS pathological than total amnesia for the whole thing. Eventually, once the memories have been detoxified, they can be owned, as in, "oh, that was ME it happened to." That's ego cathexis.

So working with parts in an inner space like a conference room (a hypnoprojective maneuver) is like a half-way house for self systems. Its a state of preparing for the real thing, namely, ownership of ones life and history and body and parts.

A careful assessment using a validated instrument to assess degree of dissociative would be a cautious thing to do, namely, the SCID-D or the MID or the DDIS maybe or at least the DES which is a screening instrument. Then one can have a better idea of whether the parts are parts or Parts.

Sometimes a client's prior therapy experience influences how they talk about themselves. Some therapy is lousy because its parts for parts sake, as if there is no total person. That's not reality, on the therapist's part or client's, but the therapist is responsible for the standard of care.

Parts work in service of integration (eventually, when the stuff has been detoxified) is like regression in the service of the ego. Never lose sight of the goal, the totality of person.
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