Focusing Tip #588 – “My clients are identified with parts… and they reject my attempts to help them disidentify.”
At times I sense that my clients are identified with parts of them. And that is not surprising! But sometimes they seem to wish to stay in this identification. They reject my attempts to help them disidentify.
So I might say, “Something in you says that life is too hard,” and the client insists, “It’s not something in me… and life IS too hard!”
Of course I understand that this wish to identify with a part is very natural. This has been the truth for them for a long time. But I’d like to be able to facilitate another perspective.
Do you have any recommendations for me? Do I follow them as long as it takes or is there a good way to invite a move into Self-in-Presence?
I love hearing your compassion for why your clients might not be willing to try out your invitations to disidentify from parts and move into Self-in-Presence. There are good reasons for the way things are… this arrangement has helped them survive so far!
Change is possible… but not by force or willpower. Your compassionate empathy and acceptance of your clients where they are right now is an ideal environment for change… over time.
Gene Gendlin writes: We cannot easily get people to shift their attention if we ignore what their attention is focused on.
Often a client will appreciate the language of “something in you” or “something in me.” But sometimes not! It can sound to a part like we are trying to disagree with its right to hold these “truths.” And so it holds on tighter.
Having said that, I can offer one very gentle and subtle move that my clients never reject. And that is to say, “You are sensing…”
For example, “You are sensing that life is too hard.”
When you say “you are sensing,” it is clear that you are not agreeing or disagreeing, especially if you drop the phrase “something in you.”
All by itself, the language of “you are sensing” can support and strengthen the client’s ability to be Self-in-Presence. Then, over time, those tightly holding-on parts can relax.