…continued from previous post
This second part of the session is a little hazy, for one thing because Ron went on a lot about theory, which I tend to forget, and for another, anger is not good for memory. Anyhoo….
E. So what do you think? I’m here, I’d like to do therapy, but I don’t know what to do here.
R. Do you want to know what’s underneath these feelings?
We sit in silence.
E. So last session….I did get pretty upset afterwards.
E. So…hmmm…I just feel like going to sleep.
R. So the part of you that wants to keep you quiet is making you sleepy.
E. Wow. That’s amazing. No kidding.
E. Ok, I’m still angry.
I feel furious with Ron.
E. I was trying to accept parts more last week. It’s hard though. Like I went for a walk, letting parts have space to talk to me if they wanted. It’s fine, but then when I got home, I started feeling so depressed. I wrote to you about it.
E. Then….sometimes I try to believe it’s not true, that I don’t actually have parts. Maybe I’m just being creative.
R. Well, I think it’s creative, but I don’t think it’s under your conscious control.
E. So what is it? What is dissociation?
R. It’s something that happens when the ego is overwhelmed, it’s splitting a part of your experience off from the rest of you so you can continue to function. And what happens is you switch into different feelings, for instance, you might switch into feelings of fear, and then you switch out of them again.
E. Yes. That’s what happens to me. Suddenly I’m in one state, and then it disappears. I guess with parts….well, it would explain why stuff doesn’t change. For instance, the suicidal voice. It’s not like I’m really depressed, getting more and more depressed, and start having suicidal thoughts. It’s more like a voice that just pops up when I’m doing other things. I mean, being in parts would explain that.
Ron looks serious and nods his head.
E. How is it different from repression then?
R. Repression is taking something from consciousness and pushing it down to where you are no longer aware of it. You remain whole, more or less, and can go on with your life. It’s talked about theoretically as the difference between a vertical and a horizontal split.
I’m absorbing this, and starting to feel more and more lonely as the session goes on. I’m sitting on his couch, and we sit in silence. I feel impatient, looking around at what’s new in the office.
E. Well, I don’t know what to do then. I don’t know if this therapy is working at all. You know, I feel like I could be wasting my time and money here. It’s a lot of money for me.
R. So what would the marker be, that the therapy is working?
E.I don’t know. I’d be feeling better I guess. It would be really nice to feel better, because I feel like crap.
R. Therapy involves bring buried pain into consciousness, so it often doesn’t feel very good.
E. No kidding. I’ve been seeing you how long, a year and a half? You think I don’t know that therapy is painful?
We sit for a while. I think Ron has some other information about therapy he talks about. I’m more interested in what I can do to heal than his theories, which I basically have read anyway.
R. The idea for most people is to integrate the splits. Not everyone believes that, but most do.
No kidding. I don’t say that.
R. What’s happening?
E. Well, I was thinking there’s an owl in your carpet. Like a robot owl, maybe like R2D2?
R. So that would be dissociation, where you’re switching topics.
E. Oh, OK.
We sit. I decide to venture forth with a part after all. The session will soon be over and no one else got a chance to speak to Ron.
E. You’ve got your winter boots on!
R. Yes….it’s been cold, so I wore them.
E. Yes, it’s been so cold! At work, a woman was wearing her winter coat at her desk, it was funny…..And I wore this sweater, it’s wool. And….I’d like to buy boots – maybe red? Or maybe not red…maybe another colour.
Now Ron ignores this entirely and continues to speak to the adult me, something about dissociation. So I switch back into the adult.
E. So you only want to speak to me then?
R. I’m speaking to all of you when I speak to you.
E. No you’re not.
R. Maybe that’s a problem then, that some parts of you can’t hear me when I’m speaking to you….
This seems so entirely off the point to me I don’t know how to respond. From my point of view, I have these parts that are dying to have contact with Ron. It’s just beside the point to try and do therapy with the adult me and think you’re therefore dealing with parts. You’re not.
So I feel betrayed and dismissed. Ron continues talking about dissociation, and I start crying. I pick up my bag and head for the door.
E. This is not helpful!
I leave Ron still sitting in his armchair. At least he’s stopped talking. I dash from the building, furious and hurt.