Phone therapy

I had a half a therapy session by phone tonight. I’m glad I asked for it. I didn’t make it to session this week due to being sick, so I asked for a check in or half a session, and we did half a session. It felt vulnerable to ask actually. A part of me really wanted the contact, and another part felt I should let it go, save the money, I’m not in a crisis or anything.

Actually I got the impression maybe Ron thought I was feeling really bad, and I wasn’t, so I felt bad about that, having a call under false pretenses. I know he doesn’t generally work Friday evenings. I’d just felt bereft cancelling my session, and had various things to talk about, and so I asked. It did make me think that maybe I should ask for check-in calls when therapy pulls me into really dark places, because it helps to talk to him.

We spent about half the time on something that came up last session. And it’s only been an hour and a half, but I can’t remember the details of what Ron said, it so didn’t resonate with me I guess. Plus it was complicated. It’s a hard topic for me. I actually just after writing the last sentence spent time reading some meaningless news for a few minutes without realizing what I was doing. Avoiding.

I was not in agreement about Ron’s approach to parts last session. He was talking with B, a very young child part. B mostly chats, but it feels vital and important to her. She talks about the things in her day that interested her. She’ll often tell some detail which I would never mention, but that strikes her as important. How some person acted, or maybe some treat we had.

Ron started asking her, I can’t remember exactly, but why she is so separate, and doesn’t she want to merge with me. Which to B was like trying to persuade her to die, and she was horrified, and soon disappeared. I didn’t say anything much about this last session, but it still hurts a week later, so I brought it up on the phone.

I said I don’t think that’s how parts are integrated, by persuading them to do so. From what I’ve read, it’s more that the trauma they carry is dealt with, and then they can integrate.

Ron waited for me to say all I wanted to about this. I added that he’d hurt B’s feelings. Then Ron said a bunch of stuff, as he tends to do. What was it? That parts can originally form as a response to trauma, but then they become a way of dealing with further trauma. Yes.

That he thinks dialogue and communication between parts is key to integrating them. Which I don’t really get. My parts don’t seem to have an interest in dialoguing with each other. It’s enough of a job to have them talk with me or with Ron.

I accused him of confusing trauma based parts with the parts that everyone kind of has, like the inner critic. Because for those kinds of parts, yes, I can see how dialoguing with them would help.

Then he said he’d had experience with people whose parts were more separate than mine are, who lost time, and that dialogue between them had helped.

That kids usually want to grow up, so he thinks asking B why she doesn’t might lead to the key of why she exists. I didn’t say anything, but I know it isn’t going to help. I say something like these parts just are. They didn’t ask to be created, and I didn’t choose to have them. And B doesn’t want to grow up because she isn’t a real kid, she’s part of me.

And that’s about it. I started feeling really afraid at this point, which was not the point of the call. Ron asked me to feel into what the fear was about, but I really couldn’t. Something about wanting him to remain this nice supportive therapist, but it seemed like he wasn’t. Ron asked if it was a part having the feelings, and I said maybe, because I don’t really know how come I’m feeling afraid.

And I changed the subject.

The rest of the call went better from my point of view. I didn’t feel afraid, and I talked about a few things I wanted to touch on.

I’m still glad we talked, even though the conversation about parts was difficult.

  1. It’s vulnerable to ask and express a need – I’m glad he said yes. And it’s definitely legitimate to ask even if you don’t feel like you’re in crisis.

    • Ellen said:

      Thanks Sophia. It felt very vulnerable and new, and I’m glad I did it.

  2. I wondered about this when I was working more with parts.Why didn’t they grow up? Why couldn’t they merge? I remember Ruthie so didn’t want to be separate and it just didn’t matter what anyone wanted–me or her. She just was separate.I think now that the shame of being myself was so great that parts of myself had to be “not me” in order to get any expression. In allowing them expression, the shame did lessen, and they were able to test out whether the world was safe for the fuller me. B seems like a desire for attention and to have life and fun and spontaneity. I don’t think this would have been acceptable in your family–to get attention over ordinary, fun things.It would make sense she would need to test the waters and see if it’s safe to be that part of you.

    • Ellen said:

      I relate to the shame. If a part ends up taking over when I’m out in public, the shame I feel is very intense. Anyone watching would just think I was being more emotional than usual, nothing special probably. I think in my family, emotion expressed threatened my parents very much, and they did all they could to suppress mine. B is certainly full of emotion, so I can see how I split that part off. Triggered by trauma first.

      I don’t know. The thing with parts is they are very young. B is maybe five at most. So that part cannot be out as herself in almost any situation, it would be too odd. But she can influence me in situations, so maybe that’s a way to proceed.

      Thanks Ash. Not too many people can speak much about dissociated parts, as they are so confusing, but you can.

      • Ashana M said:

        Thank you. I am always struggling to try to articulate the parts and what it is like to have them, and I never feel I understand them myself. I just keep trying to. I am glad some of it makes sense. 🙂

  3. Rachel said:

    I’m glad you asked for the call. I don’t think anyone needs to “grow up” if they aren’t ready, or don’t want that. I think letting B talk is a great idea, she needs attention (as Ash said) and wants that, I don’t see anything shameful about that. I know, easier said than done. I suppose my take-home message, is, you’re doing good work and I’m glad more time is being allotted for parts.

    • Ellen said:

      Thanks Rachel. I don’t think I ever asked before, and it felt scary but really good when that need was met. I don’t see anything shameful about parts, since I didn’t ask for them, but the shame is somehow ingrained when they appear.

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