Values in working with dissociation
Some of the core values that drive my work with all of my clients, but the dissociative ones in particular are: consent, compassion, curiosity, communication & cooperation.
Consent is vital across all parts/alters/ego-states. Any of the work I do needs to be done with consideration of the system as a whole, otherwise it is doomed to failure. Often consent starts with an agreement for part(s) to withhold judgment, or a temporary consent to try something new or simply consent to not interfere for the time being.
Compassion has to be the filter through which I see my clients, their parts, the reasons they do what they do, & how they react/respond in therapy. If I can hold onto this view, in the face of really scary behavior/feelings/parts, it opens up the work & is going to make my clients feel safer.
Curiosity is my go-to intervention, when something puzzling happens, or a part shows up “out of the blue,” or my client starts having a strong emotional reaction I don’t understand. I’ll inevitably invite my client to get curious about what’s going on, why it’s happening & why it’s happening now. Systems, no matter how complex or fragmented always have reasons. The way things are happening makes sense if we just get curious to understand.
Communication is the place I begin with parts work, trying to help my clients listen to what the parts are communicating & helping the client & whatever part is showing up to therapy, to not ignore or block out what is being said. Then we works towards direct communication across the system, among parts, because communication needs to happen before we can work towards having a conversation & we can move towards finding a way for parts to cooperate.
Cooperation is going to be key to systems functioning optimally. I have come to fully believe that all parts ultimately have the person/system’s best interest in mind & therefore we have common ground to work from.