Letting the Inner Selves Help You Facilitate

The more I allow the client’s Inner selves to help with the whole dialogue process the less I am involved in trying to make things happen the way I expect them to, or want them to. Of course this is the best (if not the only way) to facilitate. It also allows your intuition to play a more direct part and of course helps keep you in your aware adult (aware ego) state while facilitating.  here are a couple of ways I like to do this.
To set the scene, imagine that the session has been going for some time. Your client has already moved to a chair on one side (stronger selves usually seem to go to the right) and the primary self you are facilitating is unusually intense and talkative. It is also one of those selves that likes to hold strong views about life and has a great deal to say about one of the client’s personal issues.
This suggests that there is a much weaker or even disowned self on the other side and normally you might go through the usual procedure of asking the primary self if it knows about such an opposite self. However, in this case the intensity of the primary self suggests it will be unwilling to help you by identifying the weaker one (as other less intense selves might do for you). Intense primary selves usually prefer to keep the opposition away from the facilitator. The intensity of the primary self also lessens your chance of asking it for permission to talk with the weaker self or facilitate that self as you would normally do.

Trial Separation

You could spend the rest of the session facilitating this one self, but achieve little. Usually you just find yourself on the receiving end of a long lecture. So after talking to the intense primary self for a while, thank it and motion for the client to go back to the middle (or as I call it, the safe chair). Discuss the intensity he or she felt sitting in the chair on the right.
At this point the client may express a wish to be free of the intensity or a dislike of the primary self. This is of course, the voice of one of the opposing selves on the other side coming in to offset what it sees as the ‘damage’ done by the high intensity self and trying to get you, the facilitator, to come over to its side. (Many selves are incredibly like politicians in this regard and can lobby with great skill).
However, rather than going straight to the other side and facilitating the opposite self, it often helps the client if you first give them a chance to discover just how easily they can consciously separate from a too intense primary self just by sitting in the aware adult position. I call this a ‘trial separation’.
For a start, reassure the client that it is quite easy for the aware adult to separate from a strong primary self. Have the client focus on the chair where the primary self has just been sitting and ask if they can feel a sense of separation from it, yet still recall how it felt when they were in that chair.

Explain that all they need to do to practice this is to move backwards and forwards from the awareness (centre) position to the primary self chair and back again. Suggest they begin by going back to the intense primary self chair. After a short time in that chair (with or without dialogue) motion with your hand for them to return to the centre (aware adult) chair again. Let them repeat this a few times, suggesting they choose for themselves when to move back from the primary self chair, rather than wait for you to suggest it. Most clients report feeling more empowered and aware each time they repeat the return.

Even though you have not yet facilitated the weaker self on the other side, the trial separation has not gone unnoticed by it (this is the opposite self, the one who spoke earlier and wanted to ‘get rid of’ the strong primary self) It will already feel more confident after seeing the way the aware adult handles things. The strong primary self, not surprisingly, also settles down a bit, now knowing that the aware adult does not intend to get rid of it altogether. (This is of course, one of the worries every primary self has whenever the aware adult is mentioned in initial classic voice dialogue sessions.) This is a better time to talk to the strong primary self and ask its permission for you to facilitate the weaker self. Usually it will now agree.

After talking to the weaker or opposite self, encourage the client to repeat the same trial separation process, this time with the weaker self, moving back and forth between that self’s chair and the aware position. Check that the client is now aware of and can feel the energies of the two opposite selves. Remind them that if they are sitting in the middle and aware of the two then obviously they are in a more ‘aware’ position. If they can move freely into one side or the other and back again to the middle this suggest that the middle position is the more powerful. This is often the first time a client will experience the true sense of being in their aware adult (aware ego) state, so the trial separation can be an important event for them.

Exploring for Unknown and Unnamed Selves

Having the client move to a new position or chair, without any idea of what self you will meet there may seem like a challenge but it can be enlightening and often results on a major insight for client and facilitator. The idea of being able to dialogue with a facilitator without having been identified, seems to appeal to many of the shyer and less logical selves. Here are two ways I often try.

1. Going to the Opposite Side and ... ‘Feeling or Dialoging with the Self You Find There’
Again, assume you have been facilitating one or more strong primary selves, all on one side of the middle (safe) chair. You may notice that these selves are really intense or hold strong positions about what needs to be done. They may also be very logical or analytical in their approach to solving the client’s problems or even feel specially entitled. (See section 4 "Growing Awareness’ for a full explanation of the ‘specially entitled’ self)

As you talk to these selves, you usually hear and see signs that one at least wants you, as facilitator, to be on its side, or would like you to be absolutely convinced about the best way (its way of course) to protect the client’s vulnerability. This is a warning that the self is very much polarised (in duality) and is assured that it holds the one and only answer to the client’s problems. So, is there any point in continuing to dialogue at length with this self? Probably not, especially if the self is moving into higher levels of intensity or working itself up into an even more polarised state.

Thank the self or selves and suggest the client return to the middle chair. After talking about the intensity he or she felt while in the previous self chairs, ask them if they can now ‘feel’ any kind of opposite energy or self on the other side or anywhere else in the room. If they can (even if they are not sure) suggest they ‘try an experiment’ by moving to that spot and "feeling or seeing what it is like there". Usually they will go to the side opposite to that chosen by the stronger primary self, if they are unsure suggest that side as part of the experiment.

Dialogue in a general way with whatever self you find there but be prepared for the unexpected. Do asking it for its name or what self it is until you have talked for a while. Sometimes the self is the very vulnerable one that the intense self was trying to hide, sometimes it is just a weaker self that has not been identified before. Often, it is a highly significant inner self that has never surfaced before or one that holds a key to open up understanding about what is really going on on the client’s ‘bus’. Support and encourage it for being willing to come out and talk.

Case Study - Who’s Behind the Super Self?

You are working with Anne and have identified and dialogued with a very powerful primary super self (her ‘super positive and super confident self’. You note that it’s energy is very strong as are its claims to being incredibly positive in its view of life. The intensity and polarisation suggests there will be a hidden opposite self on board but Anne is not able (and the primary self is unwilling) to identify it at this stage.

After moving Anne back to the middle (safe) chair and talking about the ‘super’ self, you suggest that she might ‘like to try an experiment’ by moving over to a vacant chair on the opposite side and "... see what you can feel when you sit there".

The result amazes both you as facilitator and Anne. It is a quite unfamiliar self, sad, worried and fearful, very much opposite to the positive primary self. It is of course the self that Super positive was standing in front of and guarding from the eyes of the world.

2. Going Around the Room from Chair to Chair and ... ‘Seeing, Feeling or Dialoging with Whatever Self You Find There’

If a client is unsure of how they are feeling, or what selves are currently active, a good start is just to have them move around and sit, stand, lie or do what they like in five, ten or more different places while you dialogue informally with whatever unnamed self appears in each spot. Encourage the client to go back to the ‘safe’ chair after you have talked with each self, but don’t be surprised if the selves become so enthusiastic with the game that there isn’t time to return.

It’s important for you as facilitator to keep notes of each self that appears and its position in the room (the client won’t remember them all). This is also one of those occasions when the session needs to include extra time for the watcher or observer self so it and the facilitator can summarise all that has happened.

Ask the a primary self what advice it would like to give to the ‘client’

Another way of letting the selves help conduct  the session is to allow the self to talk directly to the client. In this a case you need to tell the inner self that the client is actually still in the safe chair (which of course is actually vacant at the time)

Facilitator: "Kate is sitting there in the safe chair right now listening to everything you have to say. What advice could you give her at this time, about her problems with her boss?"

Point towards the safe chair and encourage the primary self to face towards the chair and speak out loud. This helps increase Kate's awareness of the self and her sense of separation between that self and her aware adult.

Copyright John Nutting 1996 - - 2009  and      GROWING AWARENESS   All rights reserved World Wide   LAST UPDATE  Sunday, 19 April 2009 00:03

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