Getting to Know the Different Parts of Us
When people come to therapy to get help, they usually have one major thing on their mind; the thing they have identified as a problem. Often this problem can be associated with something that they're doing, thinking or feeling. Often, they seek to solve the problem by cutting out this part of themselves. In reality, the process of solving problems is quite different to this.
Our unknown selves
The troubling things that we do can seem so foreign and unwelcome that they don't actually seem like part of us; instead they feel uncomfortable, foreign and alien. It's pretty understandable that we would want to try and kill these foreign and alien parts of ourselves as if they were an infection and therapy was an antibiotic, but therapy doesn't work like this.
We are made of parts
Even the parts of us that seem foreign and alien are part of us. Further, the behaviours of these parts are often misjudged attempts to satisfy some legitimate needs, like seek safety, control a dangerous environment, or to get help. Whilst there might be some thoughts and behaviours that we are unhappy with, the path of trying to kill off these parts of ourselves is difficult and has its own unwelcome consequences.
To identify one part of ourselves as ‘right' and the other part as ‘wrong' sets us up for an internal battle; this can consume a person for no good effect.
Understanding, containment and redirection
A better path, the path of therapy, is understanding, containment and redirection. We seek to understand who we are and why we do what we do. We approach these troublesome parts of ourselves sympathetically and try to understand what need the behaviours are trying to satisfy. When we have this understanding, then we can try to redirect ourselves into satisfying these needs with other more acceptable behaviours.
Please let me know what you think in the comments below.
– Tim Hill
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