Parts begin to form during the critical time of childhood and adolescence, therefore, our interactions with parents and caregivers play a central role in their development. If a parent is frightening, unpredictable, or emotionally or physically unavailable, over time this creates an experience for the child that is very intense and difficult to deal with. It becomes almost impossible for the child’s brain to file the experiences in an organized way.
The way that a child/person has learned to protect their self from a traumatic event develops into a Part of their character in adult life. Remember from our past articles that Parts develop from our past interactions/experiences with loved ones, and these Parts are used to navigate the world. Let’s look at Amy’s story to demonstrate how her ongoing traumatic experiences created a Part of her in childhood that shaped the way she functioned in relationships in her adult life.
The most important thing to remember about self-states is that they exist for the primary purpose of helping us adapt. In the case of a generally supportive upbringing with typical developmental challenges, self-states are fluid and the individual moves through them moment to moment with relative ease (Bromberg, 1991). This means that your silly, goofy self that likes to imitate cartoon characters, does not show up to entertain your co-workers in the middle of a board meeting when your boss is present.
Parts are the self-states that begin to take shape from the day we are born. The basis of Object Relations Theory is that from infancy we are interacting with various “objects” in the environment; our parents and caregivers are the most important of these objects. Through our early interactions with the world, for better or worse, we create and hold mental pictures of relationships, feelings, and things we experienced over time. These mental pictures become memories and if repeated enough times, become the foundation for self-states to develop.
In our approach to therapy, which we refer to as Part Identification and Integration, we use successful techniques that allow clients to deeply understand the complexities of their minds, as well as make modalities like CBT more meaningful and user-friendly to shift thinking and improve overall functioning. As we move through our series, you may recognize the research and theories upon which our approach is based (and in future articles we will pay tribute to those pioneers).
EMDR heals mental health symptoms by stimulating the brain similarly to how the body heals a physical injury. The brain is able to process an abundant amount of information consistently and with ease throughout our lifetime. It is this capacity that lets EMDR take the “stuck” memories and store it in a new way. During the reprocessing phase of EMDR, the brain can access the bad stuff (i.e., earlier memories that are disturbing) and the good stuff (e.g., a positive world view, your ability to cope) at the same time. It can take the positive adaptive thoughts and feelings and apply that to reprocess old disturbing memories.
When new opportunities arise, like the beginning of the New Year, it is a great time to ask ourselves the question “where do I go from here?” Taking the time to idealize your future is a great way to form destinations, otherwise known as long-term goals. Is there a new career path that is calling your name? Are you looking to form a new romantic relationship? I ask you the question: What do you want to aspire to not only in 2021, but for the rest of your life?
When we shift our mindset from fixing to healing, we can begin to think about meeting our goal as a process rather than an absolute set of actions. Taking the first step on this journey allows for flexibility and the need to make mistakes. At Create Outcomes, we start the healing journey by listening to our client’s intentions. This is essential in shaping our work together. We collaborate with our clients to create Landmarks, which are small, achievable steps that allow them to mark their progress, and that let them know they are moving in the right direction.
The changing of years holds a special place in our rituals as we reflect on how we want to better our lives. It is a time of year when we are more open to accepting change and trying out new ways of being. The new year may make you want to change some patterns in your life, whether they are personal or interpersonal. Love languages, love maps, and I statements can help you understand and communicate your desired love style, provide a fun way to test what you know about your partner, and help you to communicate more effectively in your everyday life.
In the last couple of years, breakthroughs have been made in the field of neuroscience that have given us a better understanding of the brain and its behaviors, which has provided merit for the use of psychotropic drugs. Here, psychotherapists and psychiatrists alike are now able to better understand some of the more chemical causes of mental disorders, and can address them in a way that utilizes the physical aspects of the brain and its structure.
Your relationship with your therapist may be one of the most deep and vulnerable relationships you will have in your life. Effective therapy is the result of hard personal work that starts with finding the right practitioner to guide you to your ultimate therapeutic goals, and help you create the personal change you are seeking.
I consider myself a recovering “feelings avoider.” Dr. Stroop repeatedly challenged my belief that feelings make you weak and that it is unsafe to show vulnerability. Facing the suffering I carried from my mother, and her mother, and so on, freed me from the time and energy I spent avoiding difficult emotions. I had never learned in graduate school the inevitability of pain in the pursuit of personal growth.
Hypnosis has been used to treat various medical, psychological and psychosomatic conditions for over two centuries (Spiegel, 2013). There have been many studies conducted on the efficacy of hypnosis, or hypnotherapy, over the past few decades. The studies range over a wide variety of conditions and symptoms. Specifically, research has focused on hypnotherapy in relation to individuals with cancer, trauma, acute and chronic pain, depression and anxiety (Spiegel, 2013).