The Wright Way

The Wright Way

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Parts Integration and Unconscious Communication

Sometimes, you don't have opportunities to enter into a specific and formal use of parts integration to resolve issues, and with these two examples I found that just through conversation the subjects were able to deal with matters that had become mental blocks for them.

Often our unconscious drives certain actions or thoughts and emotions that we would like to overcome but find hard to surmount. In these cases while the conversation was noticeably on a level with their conscious, there was a level of sufficient unconscious communication to be suitably therapeutic. We often don't realise how much we are doing in terms of unconscious dialogue and become agreeably surpised at the outcomes. Parts Integration is a powerful and very useful technique, and for these two cases the mere acknowledgement of a part of them that was truly valid, was being protective and had their best interests at heart, was sufficient to allow their OWN inner resources to clear a path for them to go forward.

1. Prior to my mother having a stroke over a year ago, she was a very active and accomplished artist. Although she recovered the use of her dominant hand to be able to write letters etc she felt unable to return to painting. This was a mixture of perfectionism (the quality of output would never be as good as pre-stroke), pain in parts of the affected hand, level of feeling or numbness in the affected fingers, physical and mental stamina to sit for periods at the easel. Weeks and months went by and the in-built resistance was always there. To be fair, even I began to feel that she would never lift a brush again - although I always maintained a belief that she would be able to carry on. We often have lengthy conversations and I'm mindful of taking these opportunities for "subtle therapy"; there is no way I could manage formal therapy with her due to skepticism and resistance! Very recently I alluded to that part of her that was resistant and not yet ready to make the changes and allow her to start painting again, and that it was understood that it was very important to that part of her to continue to protect her from the consequences of all those reasons. And that there would come a time when that part of her would be ready to allow all the changes to take place, and that all the parts of her would know and recognise when that time had come. Within a few days of this conversation she rang to say she had done some painting, and when I saw later what she had done I was amazed at how good it was, given that she had not held a paintbrush for over a year.

2. I was working with a regular client - a young cricketer - whose feet suddenly started backing away from deliveries from a bowling machine that were swinging in to him. This was half way through a session, and these were movements he had not done for well over 9 months regular work with me. After about 5 minutes of this, and some obvious frustration, he eventually missed a ball and was struck on the leg in an unprotected area. It was painful for him. Once recovered sufficiently I talked with him about adjustments I might make on the machine - but I also said there was clearly a part of him today that was now taking centre stage and, for protective reasons, was making him (or driving his foot movements) back away from the ball. This part of him clearly felt it had valid reasons for doing this and that it would carry on resisting for as long as it felt was necessary. I'm happy to say that with minor changes on the machine - which were subsequently cancelled out - he immediately returned to being the player he had developed into and that part of him that was in conflict with the rest was suitably "put to bed once more". He was as happy as a sand-boy at having put the gremlins behind him as quickly as they had become manifest, and I pointed out that the mind is sometimes as resistive or as co-operative as it wants to be, and that this is all part of what he was, is and will be. The secret is respecting all those parts and making them function as a whole as often as is possible.

I was delighted at this outcome, and the instant eradication of the presenting problem. I often use conversational means of facilitating unconscious communication as I know how well it works. I've had great success with a variety of reframes for players who have been plagued by negative movements that blight their techniques and sometimes they can't really believe what's happening to them.

As far as Parts Integration is concerned, I'm always amazed at the ability of the unconscious mind to effect changes and that quite often all one needs to do is acknowledge the integrity of the unconscious.