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Parts Therapy in Action

by Katherine Zimmerman, PhD, CHT

We all have parts. I'm not referring to body parts here but parts of our personality. Have you ever said to someone, "a part of me really wants to take that new job but another part is afraid to make the change?" Or, "a part of me really wants to lose weight but another part says that it's just too much work." This is a normal occurrence because we all have parts of our personality that have split off and keep us struggling to make decisions. Just as with any team effort, life flows more smoothly when our parts are working together. In the following case history, Renee brings several parts into agreement creating a life that feels lighter and easier.

Renee has been working on weight reduction in previous sessions so we began by discussing her progress. At the time of her first session she weighed 385 pounds. Before she started losing weight she used hypnotherapy to regain a sense of control, improve self confidence, release judgements of herself and others, she became more comfortable with who she is and she relates to others more easily. Renee also learned that she had choices and released some old guilt.

From previous session with Renee I know that she exhibits a playful exuberance about life. Her life goes much better when she stays in touch with her playful nature. While her ultimate goals is to normalize her weight, her goal for this session is to recapture that whole sense of creativity, sense of fun and play, that she's been missing. Renee feel as if there's an element of creativity and imagination that she has lost. She wants to get back that creative spark, which will increase her energy levels reminding her that, "This [exercise, movement] is play, this isn't work. I can go, do, walk around and go shopping and this is playtime." She has realized that part of the reason that she doesn't exercise it's just "one more thing to do." Bringing the creativity back in will balance many different aspects of her life.

Renee's journey starts in her sanctuary. She describes it as "this huge room, with very, very tall windows, almost two stories tall. Almost a wall of windows outside. There's books all around and comfy chairs, tables and just comfortable places to sit and read and relax." She feels excited and yet comfortable there.

I asked Renee to invite in a creative Part... a Part that is creative and imaginative. Renee describes this part as very looking like a pixie. The part is wearing overalls on that are covered in paint. Her hair is short and spiky. This creative part likes to be called Amy.

Renee asks her creative part to "help me try new things and see things with a sense of wonder and understand all the possibilities that are out there."

As she shifts to Amy's perspective she reports missing Renee. The two agree to work together. In fact, Renee asks Amy to be with her all the time, to integrate with her so that she can "see the world with new eyes. And understand that fun can be anywhere even at work. And that I can use creativity everywhere."

Amy is delighted at being asked to integrate. Although Amy reports being 9 years younger than Renee, both agree that it works better to integrate the two parts without asking Amy to grow up. Before asking the two parts to integrate I checked to see if there's another part that would prefer to keep the status quo. This is when an ageless part called "Protection" entered the picture. Naturally, protection's job is to see the Renee doesn't get hurt. This part worries that once Renee and Amy integrate that she'll be too different and could lose her job.

Renee and Protection dialog and negotiate a compromise. "Protection" offers to help protect the creative side by buffering the negative thoughts away. "Amy" is also happy with this help.

Another part wishes to be heard in this process, Love. The part called love has come in to be supportive and is ready to integrate with Renee. As these parts integrate Renee reports feeling bubbly and energized. Next, Renee imagines taking her newly integrated self to work. She finds that "it's easier to approach. It's easier to see different things that can be done, in different ways. Things don't feel as burdensome." she also imagines herself in her personal life, "out driving around and being able to see fun things as we go around, rather than it's something boring to do." Everything in life is becoming fun again. After realerting Renee she reported feeling lighter and that it would be "easier to try things, easier to see things and not judge myself as much."

Parts therapy is, and continues to be, a powerful tool that I use to assist clients in changing their lives. These parts are very real to the hypnotized client. Recognizing the parts' desires and negotiating a change that is agreeable to both allows him/her to end the constant ambivalence. We have all experience it. Haven't you said to yourself, "a part of me wants to get out more and another part just wants to stay at home and hibernate." I am sure that you change the words in italics with the struggles of your own parts. Bringing these parts into alignment creates a more peaceful existence. And who wouldn't benefit from that?

© Copyright 2004 Katherine Zimmerman
Condensed from Hypnosis in Action: Verbatim Case Histories Using EFT, Parts Therapy and Other Powerful Modalities.

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Posted: 04/05/2010

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