Peter’s couple therapy blog

Individual therapy sessions

I am interested in how we relate to our internal experiences. It is like a matrix of family relationships inside ourselves. Sometimes it could be likened to a couple: a top dog and an underdog; a part that criticizes us and a part that shuts down or numbs out.

For example, feeling disappointed with “myself” when “I” experience re-ocurring pain, fear or anger. Especially when it comes from long past injuries or life events. Discomfort when we are happy and well and others around us are struggling. Pissed off with “myself” when “I” am sick.

These contra-dictions (or opposing narratives) describe internal relationships that are modelled on cultural, family and personal patterns of relating. They are built from habitual reactions to our own internal experiences and bodily responses. They are often the greatest obstacles to moving forward in relationships with loved ones and in our relationship with life.

Self-compassion is key. Are you as kind to yourself as you are to others? More affectionate with your children and pets than you are with your partner. Are you your greatest critic – judge, jury and executioner? Do you have a monkey on your back broadcasting an opposing commentary to your life?

I have noticed that every unmanageable personal experience (particularly those that repeat) have wisdom and truth locked within them. When we connect with that truth, the lock has softened and a frozen moment is allowed to continue on its journey to healing. Here is process work’s view of what to do:

Only when all aspects of an experience are unfolded with awareness does the wisdom embedded in the experience reveal itself most fully. Process work is based on the idea that processes contain their own inherent wisdom. Even the most intractable relationship problems or body experiences contain a great deal of meaning and wisdom, hidden within what otherwise might seem like intolerable events. In order to unfold the details of any particular experience, it is important to notice our everyday approach to experiences as well as the dreamlike or unknown background aspects of those events of which we are not quite aware.

Amy Mindell

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