Parts of Us: Our Lego Selves
When we think of psychotherapy, we often think about things in ourselves we would like to change. Sometimes we want to understand ourselves better, and because we don't like some bits, we want to lose these parts of us that we don't like; add new parts that would be more acceptable. However, we don't always fully understand the consequences of making changes.
Because we are unhappy with ourselves, it's understandable that there are things about ourselves we would like to change. We can be unhappy with the way that we treat other people and we can be unhappy with the way we treat ourselves as well. This can seem like a process of addition or subtraction. We hope we will be able to add new skills, new ways of thinking and new understanding and that this will change things, or, that we can take parts of our personality or behaviours that we don't like and subtract them, leaving just the good parts.
To some degree this can be successful and can be thought of as an evolutionary process.
We are parts, but more than just parts
However it is important to understand that we have built ourselves up over many years to be integrated units, ones in which the different parts fit together into a whole. To add or subtract parts from or to this whole changes the whole. This is because we can't expect to change the things about ourselves that we don't like and leave perfectly intact the things about ourselves that we do like. They're connected. Further, the behaviours that we don't like in ourselves are driven by deeper and often unconscious parts of ourselves; the behaviours are just the ways we try to meet the needs of these unconscious parts. If we get rid of the behaviours these needs can go unfulfilled; then we feel terrible and we don't even know why. It is this that can make the process of change such a painful one.
A professional psychotherapist can help you make changes in your life. Part of this process is to understand you in depth so that both of us we can appreciate how the different parts of you are held in place, and how unconscious needs are expressed as behaviour. It is only in this way that we can find other ways to meet these needs.
– Tim Hill
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