Who is that??? How to work with the different Parts of Yourself!
We all have different parts of ourselves that come out in different ways. Sometimes a part gets lost though or needs a boost. Transcript is below! If you watched this already on my Facebook page and want some suggestions about how to work with a part of yourself at home, scroll all the way down . . .
Hi, Dr. Liz with Conversations For Effective living. I just got back from a work conference of the Florida Society of Clinical Hypnosis. There are weekend workshops twice a year and I just went to the Fall one which in Cocoa Beach and it was amazing. I wanted to share some of the insights that I learned from it.
The presenter was Wendy Lemke and she was amazing. It was all about what we call “ego state therapy,” but I’m going to translate to you as a layperson. Our ego states are all these different selves that we have. We all have these different parts of ourselves that function. We have the mom part and we have the professional part and we have the playful part, perhaps we have the wife, perhaps we have the sexual self, perhaps we have the athletic self, all these different parts that function.
In most people they function pretty well and they integrate pretty well and we go along about our lives, but what happens when one part stops functioning so well. To relate a personal story around this, I was very successful professional before I had my kids and then
I was going to stay home and be the best mom ever, right? We all have these plans to be the best mom ever. I stopped working and when I went back to therapy several years later I wrote on my intake form, “Loss of self.”
I never felt like myself when I was “just” . . . it’s a very hard job, hard role but . . . “just” a stay at home mom. I never really felt like myself, because I didn’t have that professional self functioning anymore. It sort of disappeared. I didn’t go back to work part-time.
Part of my work in therapy was actually finding that self again because it gave me so much pleasure and joy in life. How was I going to integrate that into my mom-self and into my wife self and into these other selves that were functioning pretty well?
That’s a personal example but you can see how that could happen in all kinds of different areas. Sometimes people come in and they have lost their work-self in terms of it giving them joy and really loving their job. Yeah, they go to work, but it feels like drudgery . . . drudgery versus the self that really loves what they do and feels like they’re contributing and their work has meaning. That’s another example of how that happens and sometimes what people come in for to work on in therapy.
The conference was really about, how do you work with this? Also how do you use hypnosis to integrate or entwine these different selves that you have? Or let’s say one self really needs some work and some boost and some focus. How do you use hypnosis to do that?
It was absolutely fascinating learning more about how to do that. I absolutely loved it. I love doing this kind of work so I just wanted to share that with you.
A little more about our Different Selves
To add to the video a little more here, what I often hear in my practice is a conflict that develops between two selves, often the Mom self and the Sexual self. Some people have no problem housing these two together. But for other moms, it becomes a struggle. They’re soooo into the mom self that there seems to be no room for the sexual self. Or she doesn’t seem to fit with the mom self. The woman can feel odd being both so sometimes she chooses and often the mom self wins.
Dads tend to have this conflict less, but I actually see it more if the dad stays home with the kids. They will find themself in a similar conflict because so much of their day is spent being “Dad.”
Regardless, it’s the partners who usually start to complain. They want sex. Period. And they don’t understand what’s going on.
Let me pause here and say that biologically the mom is usually dedicated to the baby in those first months of life. Hormones are all over the place and that includes the hormones that control attraction and sexual feelings. Often those hormones return when the woman’s period returns, which can be anywhere from a couple of months to years (which is common with extended breastfeeding).
Now back to our different selves. Let’s say all of that is past and it’s not hormones out of whack, then psychologically sometimes moms have a hard time accessing the sexual part of themself when they have begun to think of themself and dedicate so much of their energy and time only as “mom.”
Psychotherapy and hypnosis can help her access that sexual self again, to figure out who she is now and what kind of transformations she has made since becoming a mother, and what parts of her does she need to bring to the table/bed again?
What to do at Home
If you’re reading this and want to do some of this work on your own, I suggest some journaling or some art around accessing the self that you’re struggling with, regardless if it’s your professional self or sexual self or mom/dad self. Do some old school collaging about what he or she looks like and dresses like and what goals does that self have? Talk to that part of yourself (gently) and ask what it needs. You can do this verbally or through writing a dialogue out in a journal or an email.
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Yours in health,