On the last track we discussed transference. This track will covered working with transference in multiples, principles of treating transference, and precipitants of transference reactions, as well as techniques for keeping the client straight and being real with the client.
On this track we will discuss ‘talking through.’ ‘Talking through’ or talking to the personality system as a whole can be an effective and useful technique in working with a DID client. As I describe some methods of ‘talking through,’ you might consider how it can be useful in making contracts, in establishing principles or boundaries, in informing the client about events affecting the therapy, and in working with the client in times of crisis.
First, however, I would like to ask you to consider the following. By assuming all personalities are listening in the session forces the therapist never to make interventions or remarks that he or she would not wish all of the personalities to be aware of. This becomes the basis of ‘talking through.’ ‘Talking through’ is a technique to ensure that as many alters as possible are actually listening.
5 Steps for ‘Talking Through’
Step 2: George also specified that if any alters were unable to listen, then someone else in the system should take responsibility for informing them of what they need to know.
Advantages and Obstacles of ‘Talking Through’
A major obstacle of ‘talking through’ that I encounter is when the personality who is ‘out’ during the ‘talking through’ process is an amnesic host personality who may not accept his or her diagnosis. Would you agree that talking through an unaware host to the rest of the personality system may produce strong feelings of depersonalization or passive-influence phenomena?
For example, my colleague George treated an amnesic host who became upset on a number of occasions and told him to stop it because he was causing the client discomfort. George stated, “I responded by asking the host to relax and listen quietly. Often the host will go into a trance-like state during the process of talking through and will be amnesic for much of the content. Would you agree that it is therefore worthwhile to make sure that the host has also heard the message directed to the larger system?
Application of ‘Talking Through’
In therapy, Evelyn was unable to elicit an alter who took responsibility for these actions. Evelyn decided to ‘talk through’ Nancy, the amnesic host, to the personality system as a whole. Evelyn explained that she did not know many of them yet, but that collectively she would require them all to make sure that they made it to work each day on time. Evelyn continued to explain that it was necessary to keep a job if they as a group were going to be able to remain financially independent and continue in treatment.
Evelyn later stated to me, “The mini-arguments ceased. At a later point, I met the alter who was responsible for these episodes.” When I asked Evelyn about this alter’s reason for being in Nancy’s former employer’s parking lot, Evelyn responded, “'He had been dealing drugs in the parking lot.”
On this track we discussed ‘talking through.’ ‘Talking through’ is a technique to ensure that as many alters as possible are actually listening.
On the next track we will discuss memory assembly. We’ll first identify characteristics of memory fragmentation, and then we will examine two techniques for memory assembly. The two techniques for memory assembly that we will discuss are the affect bridge and the memory bridge.
Dissociation in Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Part I: Definitions and Review of Research
- Carlson, E. B., McDade-Montez, E., & Dalenberg, C. (2012). Dissociation in Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Part I: Definitions and Review of Research. Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy, 4(5), 479-489. Retrieved May 9, 2019, from https://www.ptsd.va.gov/professional/articles/article-pdf/id39378.pdf.
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