Author: Arline Rowden
Have you ever said or thought: “There’s a part of me that wants to do this and there’s another part of me that doesn’t.”? This is a more frequent thought than I’d like to admit to thinking. I’ve been told by psychology professionals that as long as I’m aware of all the parts that are talking inside of me and know they are all me, that I’m pretty “normal”. So why would I even want to take time to listen to these different parts of me. I’m the one in charge, right, or am I?
Hal Stone, PhD. and Sidra Stone, PhD. wrote a book about various parts of the personality and voice dialogue. Voice dialogue is a way to allow the parts of oneself to express themselves. The book was called “Embracing Ourselves” and was followed by “Embracing Our Inner Critic” and some other books. When I discovered the first book, I was fascinated by what I read. I began to pay more attention to the inner life of all the parts of me and tried to figure out who they were and more about them.
After my first exposure to personality parts, I didn’t stay as focused on them until recently when I became very interested again. I took a process acupressure class about (see footnote) parts and personality and after 4 days of being immersed in theory and hands-on practice, I’m back on the track of my parts.
In one session at the class, I contacted a part that I called Ms. Curiosity. She had been with me since I was a very young child. She is the part of me that keeps me interested in lifelong learning. I can’t imagine not attending classes and studying. It makes life so interesting and worthwhile.
In another session, I got better acquainted with The Judge part of me. An image of a man in a black robe and white wig in an English courtroom in the 1800’s came into my inner vision. As I tuned into The Judge, I had a sense of what he was about and actually heard some of his inner thoughts. He was feared in his community since he handed out harsh sentences and didn’t listen to any extenuating circumstances. He felt it was his duty to do that so that chaos didn’t spread through the community. Then I had an inner vision of him at home in a large stone house. He was sitting in a big chair by a fireplace. He had a wife, son and young daughter. He was very stern with his wife and son but had a soft spot for his young daughter. She would sit next to him on a small stool that had an embroidered cushion on it. He would read her stories at night.
As the session continued, I was asked to bring that inner part forward into the current life experience. I realized that much earlier in my life I was quick to judge and wasn’t interested in extenuating circumstances. But as I followed that part forward, I found that The Judge had evolved quite a bit. Now the judge was very interested in why people do what they do; how did their lives unfold to bring them to where they are at the present time? It was very interesting to follow this process and recognize compassion in my heart.
So how could connecting with the various parts of myself be useful? I feel that if I’m not aware of the various parts of me and their attitudes and how they function in my life, they will probably operate under the radar and cause all sorts of problems in my life.
Did you ever have a time when you said or did something and as you looked back on it you can’t remember consciously deciding to do or say it and it seemed like something inside of you just took over for a few minutes? You might have felt embarrassed or even ashamed later of what you said or did. It seemed very out of character for you. You might find that these situations are or have damaged relationships or caused issues in your work life. Wouldn’t it have been better to know about the attitudes these parts hold so you could resolve these issues within yourself?
In my own practice, I’ve facilitated process acupressure with clients who have experienced very emotional situations as children and have not been able to resolve all the feelings and beliefs related to it. During such sessions, “stuck” energies can begin to come into our awareness. As children we don’t have the ability to make sense of and process traumatic events. So the energy and emotions from the event stays stuck in the body. I’ve found that process acupressure is one way to bring these energies and emotions to the surface and to bring the client’s adult self or the energy of another trusted adult into the situation to assist the child to resolve the effects of the event. It touches my heart to be a witness to this healing process.
One session that comes to mind provides a good example of how childhood wounds can create difficulties in adult life. The woman got in touch with her inner child who had been treated badly by her parents and siblings. She was a very sensitive child and to survive emotionally she created a Knight with a shield to protect her from hurt from her family. She continued to keep the Knight active all of her life but had started to realize that she was keeping out the love and relationships that she wanted along with the hurtful ones. So in the session her adult had a dialog with the Knight and they negotiated some new guidelines. She changed his job description to say that he had to get her permission before he put his shield up in front of her. He would no longer have permission to do it automatically every time he feared she might be hurt. She was going to take conscious responsibly for deciding when to be open to others.
So I invite you to explore your inner world and all its parts and see what you discover. It can be quite an adventure.
Note: Acupressure is a complementary therapy involving the application of hand or finger pressure to specific acupoints on the body to release congestion and strengthens the body’s energy systems. When process is included, the client is encouraged to notice and talk about what they are experiencing, often realizing something new.