I wouldn’t tell the story below to a new client, but I do use it with people who are familiar with the work.
A FABLE ABOUT FABLES (AND VOICE DIALOGUE)
Once upon a time there was a little sub-personality called Gloria. She was just 10 years old and she spent her days looking after another little girl called Kate who was only four. Gloria and Kate had no parents and no one else to look after them so it was very much Gloria's responsibility to care for little Kate, to provide for her daily needs and to protect her from all sorts of threats and fears and any other kind of problem that might trouble a four-year-old child with no parents..
From time to time, people would try to help by giving Gloria advice. But when they tried to explain things, they used very grown-up words. For example they explained to Gloria that she was what was called a "primary self ", a "protector" who was helping (along with a number of other "inner selves") to look after little Kate who being an "inner child" would constantly be troubled by feelings of "vulnerability". Gloria, as a 10-year-old, found it quite difficult to understand what they were talking about but she was too shy and too polite to ask for a simpler explanation.
So the helpful people, assuming that she understood, continued on with their description of what they called the "Psychology of the Aware Ego" as they told her about a wonderful process they called "voice dialogue" which would happen when somebody "facilitated" her. They also tried to explain to Gloria about something else they called "disowning" and said that she must learn about her "disowned selves" because they were the "opposite" of her and other "primary selves". And they stressed that until she understood all this, the problems she had looking after little Kate would get worse and worse. Gloria realised that what they were telling her was meant to help her and Kate, but because she was only 10 years old she still found it very difficult to grasp the meaning of their psychological descriptions.
However, she was a helpful little girl so she nodded wisely and pretended to understand, as the people went on with their explanation and offered to teach her about actually "doing voice dialogue". They promised that as she learned more about how to do this thing called "voice dialogue" she would begin to develop something really wonderful called an "aware ego".
The way they described this "aware ego" made Gloria wish very much that she could have such a useful thing. But when she asked them to explain more about the "aware ego" they said that they couldn't go into it any further and that she would have to discover it in her own time. This would mean that she had to do lots of "voice dialogue" (and even then it might take her many, many years) but that it would be worth it in the end.
The people added some more psychological explanations, introducing other useful things for her to learn about like "negative bonding patterns", "energetic linkage" "patriarchs and matriarchs", and "post traumatic stress disorder syndrome" which they were kind enough to shorten to "PTSD" so that it would be easier for Gloria to understand!
In the end it all became just too much for little Gloria and although she knew that they were trying to help her she just became baffled by the jargon, just as most other 10-year-olds would be.
In the meantime she still had her everyday jobs to do, looking after little Kate which was enough in itself to keep her occupied. So she decided that she would have to wait until some time in the future when she felt more grown up before she would be able to go further with "voice dialogue", to discover more about the "psychology of the inner selves" and perhaps find her "aware ego".
Did the story illustrate my point more clearly than the other pages?
If a 10-year-old girl is responsible for looking after a smaller child, she may walk and talk and act and even look like a grown-up. But this does not mean she can also understand things that are difficult for many grown-ups to grasp. If you want to help clarify things when you are dialoguing with a primary self who is like a busy 10-year-old with a lot on her mind, it might be better to explain using terms that a 10-year-old can understand clearly.
What if you used stories similar in style to the one above? Would this speed up the chances of the other person then gaining a real and deeper awareness of what was happening inside them? Would this help the primary selves inside us, the responsible ones like little Gloria, understand faster and better to so they could begin working together and start helping make the changes people want to make in their lives?
Over to you.
Feedback - please e-mail me John Bligh Nutting - at firstname.lastname@example.org
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