World Journal «Psychotherapy» 2015, №1 (8), pp. 80—86
The article describes some new possibilities of a psychotherapeutic method that is named Emotional-Image Therapy. Especially effectively these features appear in the solution the problems related to deviations in Ego-states of Inner Child. Some problems that could have easier solutions with the help of this method are mentioned specially. The examples based on author’s experience, are given alongside with skills that are utilized by the author of this method to achieve quick and stable results.
”Inner Child” (IC) is the child that represents the person himself/herself. This child is invisible, but express the fundamental problems of self-personalization. Every person at any moment of his/her life represented as Parent, Adult, and Child simultaneously, and this defines how he/she behaves with the other people. IC might be either happy or unhappy, depending on its personal attitude, and vice versa, what is its attitude towards a character, and what is its attitude towards itself. This definition was given by E. Berne , a creator of the theory of the transaction analysis.
Also critical here is the position of the IC to itself. It is the emotional reaction of IC which presumes the underlying emotional tone of personality, feeling of happiness or depression, self-confidence or inutility, etc. IC might revenge the personality for something unknown, give it luck or failure, lead it to the certain way of life and predefined choice of job, friends, spouse or attitude to person’s children.
IC’s condition is predetermined by the certain conditions in the person’s childhood. The most important is what was the parents’ attitude to the child and what were verbal and non-verbal “instructions” he/she got from them. How these “instructions” were interpreted by the child and what decisions had been made based on them.
Once established, the state remains in adults “by default” and an adult typically does not realize, how these states are being the cause of his chronic emotions, patterns of behavior and life strategy. IC preserves essential means of adaptation, which were chosen by the person in his childhood and is responsible for primary goals and grounds. Now I would like to say a few words about the method itself.
Emotional-Image Therapy (EIT) is a comparatively new branch of psychotherapy, which has been developed by the author since 1990; it has a lot in common with gestalt therapy, and symbol drama, but at the same time it has its features and peculiarities, which help to quick and efficient problem-solving. It seems that what the most important for this therapy is, its relationship between actual emotions and its verbiage. For this, a client is suggested to describe his/her experiences in problem situation, to find its physical correlations (where and how he/she feels it in the body), after which the client is suggested to imagine how do these feelings look like, as if they were on the chair in front of the client or inside his/her body. The client is also recommended to think spontaneously, like” say what first comes to your mind.”
It turned out that images (mostly visual, but sometimes audio, kinesthetic and osmotic) in this case contain much additional information about the client’s problem. They are composed unconsciously, as images in dreams that are the objects of thorough interpretations of Sigmund Freud .
Also, based on client’s images, it is possible not only to analyze the process but also to promote the correction of the fundamental problem by using different means of interaction between the client and the images, as if those images are real features. We can say that it is a method of the direct dialog with unconscious.
Problem-solving should not be performed automatically, but be relevant to the genuine status of the revealed emotional conflict. Some problems, analyzed by EIT method, have a lot in common with problems raised in S. Freud‘s works, the others are more likely correlate with A. Adler’s theory [3, 4]; some might be described in terms of E. Berne’s transaction analysis . In all the cases, V. Raykh’s [6, 7] theories about blocking emotions with the help of muscular tensions are confirmed alongside with other theories.
In this article, we would like to describe the effects received in a combination of EIT method with theoretical basics of transaction analysis on Inner Child’s condition. There are many psychologists, who have the very vague idea of what this IC is. Everybody can talk about IC, but nobody can ‘try’ it. IC cannot be observed, it appears only in the case when the client turns on the status of IC (in terms of psychoanalysis it is called regression) and expresses childish reactions and feelings. With EIT method the IC is more vivid, it is possible to have a dialog with it and to establish new relationships, to solve its emotional problems, as if it is the real individual, being at the same time integrated part of the client. In our practice, it is rather a part of personality than Ego-state, but this contradiction with E. Berne’s theory is not an argument to be discussed in this article.
Our long-time experience with such cases makes it possible for us to make some conclusions and give a hint to other practicing psychologists’ solutions to many problems, which sometimes look like the dead-end type.
That is why we are going to describe some basic statements of EIT in working with IC and will recommend some methods for solving standard situations, using examples from our practice. We think it is worthwhile to start with an example that will give an opportunity to make some conclusions and to indicate some essential technical features of the job.
Example 1 “Disgusting Rat.”
During the workshop, a student asked for help in solving her problem. She complained of feeling powerless, apathy, but her primary symptom was “stomach fear.” She had very unpleasant feelings in her stomach, like tension, which became worse when somebody tried to touch her, even if it was her boyfriend. She tried to combat with this feeling and even made piercing on her belly button, but nothing worked. She also suffered from the thought that she will not be able to give birth (she was 20 years old, single) in future. Let’s say her name was Katya.
I suggested that she pictured the image of this “stomach fear” on the chair in front of her. The answer was; it was the disgusting dirty rat with a long tale. The rat wanted to eat something inside Katya’s stomach.
N.L.: Ask the rat, why is it doing it?
K.: For me not to exist at all…
N.L.: Why is it needed that you do not exist?
K.: It just wants me not to exist…
K.: Because I am odd, needless…
Comment. It is obvious that the ‘rat’ is symbolizing the hidden attitude of the girl to herself. Very often such feelings appear under the influence of parent’s words or actions. In this case, it is just a matter of learning how it had happened.
N.D.: Tell me, when and why did you start feeling needless?
K.: Always. My parents did not want me to be born. I was an unexpected child, and mom was going to make an abortion. I was the last child; they already had kids, and didn’t want more. Moreover, it was hard times; they were in lack of money. Although later, everybody loved me, and they do love me now, both mom and dad. However, still, I am always trying to please them, as if to get authorization for the living.
N.L.: (Addressing to the students’ auditorium). In theory, it is called, “Myth of Birth” and I’ve told you about it during my lectures. A child feels guilt for its birth “not in proper times’, or for “wrong birth,” which causes depression and suicidal attempts. Katya already expressed her desire not to exist.
K.: I am sorry to say, but it is true. Moreover, I realize that it is a bad idea.
N.L.: Would you like to get rid of this auto-aggression that is corporified in the image of the rat?
K.: Of course, I do. However, I do not know how…
N.L.: So, why not you tell the rat that you are not going to destroy, kick out, and deny it. Tell her that it is nice, that you adapt her being as it is; tell her that you need it.
Comment. By this time, it became apparent that the rat symbolized an image of two Katya’s crucial problems. First, the fact that the rat was disgusting, presumed that the girl had negative feelings about herself, she felt that she was ‘odd and needless.’ At the same time, the rat was a symbol of IC living in girl’s body. Second, what this rat was doing in Katya’s stomach was it was destroying it, making abortion (which is what her mother did not do); it was direct conveyance.
It was obvious that Katya’s fear to be infertile started here. As far as the fundamental problem here was self-denial, the goal was to overcome this emotional fixation. That was critical, but I did not want to go into details, for the sake of not losing the temper and causing her reluctance. In Katya’s mind, it was a ‘rat’, which hated her, that was why she was not reluctant to express her warm feelings to the ‘rat’, but what happened in reality was that by doing it Katya adapted herself back, returning to herself the feeling of necessity.
K.: Should I say it aloud or silently?
N.L. Silently would be better. However, tell me what happens to the rat while you are telling it all that?
K.: (Working hard for several minutes). The rat is getting smaller.
N.L. How do you feel? Do you feel worse or better? How is your stomach?
K.: I am getting better…
N.L. Then keep saying it what you are saying.
K.: (After some internal work). Now it is a puppy, not the rat.
N.L.: Do you like it?
K.: It is cute.
N.L.: O! Your eyes are shining! How are you feeling?
K.: (With an embarrassing, but happy smile). I am fine. Somehow I even feel hot, as if some heat penetrated in me.
Comment. It is her warm attitude to herself getting back to her, and she can feel it even on the physiological level.
N.L.: Do you like this puppy? Do you want to adapt it forever as a part of your personality?
K.: Yes, of course!
N.L.: What do you feel in your stomach?
K.: Everything is fine! No tension at all. Warm feelings.
N.L.: Imagine somebody touching your belly, e.g. your boyfriend…
Comment. It is a follow-up of the changes occurred, using the supposed critical situation.
K.: (Shy). Everything is fine, no negative emotions or feelings.
N.L.: Do you want to keep these changes forever?
K.: Of course, I do
Comment. Client’s positive attitude is a sincere consentient for the results. Now it is possible to give explanations, it will not cause resistance.
N.L.: Now I would like to explain what had happened to you. The fact that you felt lonely and needless in your childhood resulted in the denial of your Inner Child. The Child automatically started the unconscious program on self-destruction, aka abortion.
That is why the child turned into the horrible aggressive rat, which was attacking your stomach, and the stomach reflexively became tense. This was the reason you started to doubt that you might be fertile in future. Now, when you adapted your Child, and it became your friend, your auto aggressiveness was canceled, your belly became standard. It is it. If you have any questions or if you doubt in the results, I am ready to proceed.
K.: No, I understand everything. I am feeling good, and I know that everything will be ОК in future. I’ve once consulted with the other therapist and was very disappointed. Thanks a lot; I could not even imagine that this might be possible.
N.L.: Great, the session is over.
In about two weeks, I’ve asked her how she was feeling, and she said everything was okay.
Comment. The session lasted for 15-20 minutes, and within these time frame the Stonewall problem of Katya’s life had been solved. Her problem was self-rejection, although she knew that her parents loved her, that is why there was no need to work with her past life from the standpoint of her parents’ attitude to her. This approach would have made the work more sophisticated and would make changes in Katya’s emotional world more complicated if even possible at all.
Several conclusions can be made out of this session (confirmed by other cases).
1. Image of IC appears spontaneously, as a response to the request to imagine the discussed feeling. We never say:” Imagine your Inner Child!” IC state is often expressed in a symbolic form, which corresponds to an emotional attitude of the client to himself/herself as a child.
2. Actions of IC correspond with childish decisions of the client, and his/her emotions are reactions to these decisions. “The rat” made abortion, and the girl felt fear in her stomach.
“Bad’ Child has bad behavior and causes problems to individual him/herself.
3. The image behaves like a human being and changes, depending on mental activities of the client and of feelings, expressed by the client.
4. “Correct” changes in the client’s attitude towards himself/herself as a child lead to positive changes in IC’s image, and by these changes it becomes possible to trace the results of therapy.
5. The psychosomatic status of the client reflects situation when the IC becomes “beautiful”; all negative symptoms fade being substituted by vivid, positive experiences, which can be expressed by the word ‘happiness.’ Results of the therapy are visible immediately.
6. If follow-up of the supposed critical situation confirms the positive result, you may be sure that the session is a success.
7. The primary goal of the session is that a client should become a good parent to himself/herself. In EIT, it is achieved by paradoxical expressing nice feelings to “attacking” child.
Let us have a look at another example with similar basics.
Example 2. “Hoodoo.”
Male, 40 years old asked for the consultation. He believed that he was under hoodoo. He has been treated by several psychics spending much money with no positive results. I’ve asked him how he felt he was under hoodoo.
The answer was: ‘It is torturing me; it is tearing my chest into pieces…” “What does it look like?” “It is a horrible dragon, with huge teeth and claws; it is torturing me…” “Just do what I am saying, and I’ll explain everything later. Only put your hand on the dragon’s head, pat it and say: “I know you are nice!”
A client did what he was recommended to and was very surprised saying that the dragon started crying! He was advised to keep patting the dragon and to repeat saying to him that he was nice. In some short time, the dragon transformed into a small child. It turned that the client had always felt that his mother did not love him.
He even had asked her several years ago: “Mother, why didn’t you ever love me?” The answer was “I am sorry; son, but nobody liked me in my childhood. My heart turned into ice, and I was just unable to love you.” This was what he got from her. I explained to him that the Dragon was his Inner Child, which was suffering itself, and this was that tortured the man. The client was supposed to begin loving this child and to take care of him, to become a real parent for him. When he did it, his hoodoo vanished.
Moreover, he felt “dizziness of happiness” and ‘flew away.’ However, of course, the work with him was not over, the client had to show up several more times, and the work went on. It is not always that one session is enough for this work with IC.
Usually it needs several sessions and very thorough work, although the reason of suffering is very simple: a mother, who did not love in childhood.
It is tough to correct this situation, and it is much easier to visit psychic than to touch basis with such painful emotions.
Moreover, the person typically does not realize that his/her sufferings are due to the emotional state of his/her IC, although it is almost visible.
IC might appear in the image of a sun, a pussycat, a hobgoblin, a broken doll, a jellyfish, a pirate, a dragon, a big soft stone, etc.
It might be even the image of the big wooden bobbin with a thick rope spooled! When the rope was unspoiled, and a bobbin received the energy, the bobbin turned into Pinocchio, and then into a child, and then into a client himself. As it turned out later, the rope was the symbol of the client, being wrapped up by his father’s authoritarian rising. As a result, the child was humiliated and “got stiffed”. It is a real issue of how to recognize that this or that image symbolizes an IC and nothing else.
1. Image, which symbolizes the IC, has the same features of character, behavior, and emotions as kids normally have.
2. It radiates energy, introversions, and vigilance. It might be suffering when its energy is suppressed (usually it might be its parents who are doing it), but in all the cases it is an essential point of all the problems discussed.
3. The goals to be ‘achieved’ by the image are irrational and correspond with typical childish needs and adaptations. E.g., it might seek for one’s attention or might be angry due to the lack of love, might be unsocial, mechanical, isolated, offended, etc.
4. To reveal the true nature of the problem, the therapist must do some investigation and ask questions. The response will be in the name of the image. Various actions towards the image (e.g. stroking), alongside with relevant words, cause transformations in the image, and produce reactions that reveal its genuine essence.
The client also can be suggested to switch the chairs with an image and speak about its feelings and emotions in its name.
Let us explain these concepts with two more examples.
Example 3. “The Rocks and the Sun.”
During the workshop, a student complained about the suffering of severe headaches since she was an 8-year student. Since she learned about EIT, she and her friend decided to get rid of this headache using this method. The student imagined her brain, and it seemed to her it was colored in black. By her friend’s advice, she started to repaint it in different colors. Being a mechanical approach to the problem, it was unsuccessful. While telling this story, a student still suffered from a headache.
Giggling at the innocence of the girl, I have proposed the girl to describe her headache. She said that it was something that tried “to break out” of the head, it looked like a rock, which wanted to crash out of the head and then to split into two parts. This image itself gave me the necessary information, as rock being a symbol of an authoritarian parent.
Following my advice, the girl allowed the rock to get out from her head. When she did, the rock divided into two parts. Giving no explanations, I suggested that the girl imagines something that is compressed by these rocks. The image was the little sun, which, of course, symbolized a small child. I asked the student to give as much energy to this sun as possible (method on enforcing the energy).
After she gave this sun all energy she could, the two parts of the rock had completely moved apart and then melted away while the sun started to shine brightly. Girl’s eyes were also shining brightly, and she was surprised to confirm that she got rid of a headache.
Then I assumed that when she was an 8-year student, her parents started to scourge on her. The girl confirmed it was true, because it was the time when her father passed away, (she was still missing him), and her mother and grandmother were both treating her strictly, for her to behave modestly. It became apparent now why the rock had had two heads: it was the girl’s mother and grandmother.
Example 4. “Mischievous little devil.”
This session took place during Gestalt therapy séance. A young woman complained of severe allergy to cold. Her eyes and nose were itching; she was sneezing all the time with her eyes always getting red.
I suggested that she should recall these feelings (which didn’t occur in a warm room), and imagine that they were sitting on the chair in front of her. I asked her “What is it like those feelings? Say first that comes to your mind…”
She started laughing and said that it was a small devilkin, which was tickling her inside her nose. It was doing it because it wanted to be played with, to be paid attention. It was obvious that it was her Inner Child, who wanted to play. The problem was that somehow she felt that it was “unfortunate little devil.» It was obvious that she was not allowed to be a child as it was in her childhood. She always was a serious ‘good girl’, she was not supposed to play as all the kids did, and she had to ‘do right thingsThe reaction She even never bedraggled her dress in her childhood. She still thought that adults were always legitimate, and affirmative people and children were always the ‘wrong ‘ones. That was the reason she repressed her mischievous little devil out of her consciousness. Of course, I suggested that she adapts this mischievous little devil, plays with it, and allows it to play as long as it wants to… It was very hard for her to do it. She felt that she was not allowed to play. Her parents’ instructions prohibited her from doing it. We “loaded” these instructions on the chair. Client’s right leg was “somehow” tugging, but she reined it her left leg. I asked her, what her right leg wanted to do. She said it was indecent. It took her a while to dare to boot the chair with all the parents’ taboos on it! Only after doing it she managed to get friends with the devilkin and to start playing with it. Immediately something happened with her nose as if heat was flowing in it from somewhere, and it was so pleasant…
Let us formulate several more conceptions:
5. IC does not always appear in the form of a symbol; it is very often that a client imagines a child as it is straight away and realizes that it is him/her. E.g., a man saw an 18- month’s naked child whose body was red; the baby was furious.
He was angry with the man because he was not loved “due to him”. By psychotherapist’s advice, a man allowed his IC to express his anger, and then listened to him attentively; when the IC finished, the client’s body color returned to normal. The man hugged the child and adopted him as a part of his personality. Immediately his diaphragm (where all his anger had been stored) relaxed, and his stomach started moving rhythmically. (See also an article on the phobias correction, and a case with Metro phobia ).
6. During long-term work images of IC may appear again and again, and every time they will be different, as they will express different types of child’s problems, various traumas and means of adaptation.
7. Age of the imagined child coincides with the age of the client in which he/she had got the trauma, crucial for that moment. E.g., a young girl, sees a three years old sad girl, and it turns that when she was three years old, her father had left the family.
8. It should be the differentiation between the client imagining not an IC, but a different child. E.g., a single woman, can imagine a child who had died, or a child that she had failed to have, etc. This image can be differentiated from the IC by the fact that the client does not accept him as a part of his/her personality, and the fact that it is not the image that is suffering, getting angered, etc., but a client himself/herself worries about the image. In this case, the real life circumstances related to these emotions should be investigated. Please find an example of such a case.
Example 5. “Child-Man.”
During a master class session, a girl complained of the stomach pain. The image of the pain was unexpected – it was a baby child! It was calm, healthy, and indifferent; and definitely couldn’t cause any pain. It obviously couldn’t be an IC…. There were many hypotheses, but to reveal the latent meaning of the image, I’ve suggested that the girl tells this baby that she allows it to show all its hidden potential. The girl stepped back in horror as the baby turned into the huge angry man with red eyes and long claws!”
Then I guessed that she probably might have a conflict with some man. When asked, the girl confirmed that some middle age man fell in love with her. She did not want these relationships but was afraid of saying ‘no,’ as she was work-subordinated to him.
I recommended her to imagine how she talks to this man (it was imagination so that it could not do any harm). She was clear and straight in explaining her feelings to this image. The result was that the man’s eyes turned into normal color, claws vanished, and the man got off. The girl said she now was ready to talk to the real man. Moreover, her pain immediately dissolved!
In two weeks, she told me that she did speak to that man in reality, and he managed to understand her reasons with no negative consequences for her. This story makes it clear that the very careful attention should be paid to the real meaning of the image, and the image by no means can not be accepted it ‘as it is.” Another question is how to change the emotional stereotype of Inner Child if it is causing symptoms that are undesirable for the client.
Many methods can be used in this case; but here it is the basic one. The client is recommended to express kind feelings to the image, to pet it and to say the words that are opposite to those instructions, which caused the initial problem. E.g., a client, is suggested to tell the IC that he/she will never deny it, isolate, criticize, humiliate, etc. He/she is also recommended to determine the IC that now it is allowed to be confident, healthy, loved, successful, etc.
The client might be advised to take responsibility for healthcare, happiness and successfulness of the child, to care for it, even to become its caring parent. It is prohibited to feel compassion because this feeling is correlated to the child’s blackmailing feelings.
The more compassion, the unhappier the image of IC will become, and the client will follow this path and become unhappy himself/herself. It is against the temptation, but the client should be explicitly instructed to stop feeling compassion to ‘poor’ image, and instead to allow it to become healthy, strong and self-sufficient.
It also might be worthwhile to give the IC chance to express its overwhelming negative feelings, and merely listen to all complaints. In some cases, it also will benefit if the client becomes aware, that it is his/her internal child, and it is the client himself/herself making the life so unbearable.
Parents, whose influence on the child was crucial in childhood, now have no influence on the client at all. It helps to cancel sincerely the negative attitude towards IC and to avoid needless childish adaptations (e.g. self-isolation). Several other approaches could be used in such cases, including reinforcement of energy, paradoxical solution, anti- the indication, etc. ().
Next question is: what type of psychological problems is the most relevant for the IC issue?
There is a Russian saying “We all get started in our childhood…” That is why the problem of IC can be frequently encountered in depressions, phobias, in obsessive disorders, in psychosomatic diseases, with alcohol and narcotics addictions, etc. It can be found in almost every psychological disorder.
A practical psychologist can face this problem in working with almost every client although it may be not so critical in clients with a post-traumatic syndrome, rape, grief, loss, etc.
By using IC and EIT method, the psychotherapist can solve a lot of ‘everyday’ and ‘applied’ issues that would demand great efforts if being solved by other means. A good example of this can be a problem typical of millions of parents and students: “I cannot force myself studying”.
This problem is based on the conflict between the Inner Child and the Inner Parent. In childhood, a kid was forced to prepare the homework, and it was unpleasant. That is why the child have developed the standard method of adaptation to resist the parents’ enforcement.
Let’s call it “Delay.” Now the client is not a child any longer and handles his studies. He complains: “I pull myself to the desk to start studies, but the more efforts I make, the further I am from the desk! Finally, I start preparing for the exam the night before it… I learn all night, and the next day when I am supposed to pass the exam, I have a severe headache, and, as a result, I get C… What can I do with it?”
What happens is he splits himself up in repressive Parent and stubborn Child and acts as the fantastic beast with two heads. He is wasting more time for forcing himself into working rather than working itself.
The remedy of choice for solving this problem by EIT method is simple, although paradoxical. First, the client is suggested to imagine the part of his personality which does not want to study, aka IC. Then…
— O, it is Masha who is laying on the couch with her headphones on, she is listening to the swanky music. She sips Jin&Tonic; she smokes a slim cigarette, and she wants to do nothing!
— OK, could you please tell her: “Masha, you are more then welcomed to spend as much on the coach, as you want? You have the opportunity to listen to the music, drink Jin&Tonic, smoke cigarettes, and why not. You are allowed to do all this”.
— No, no way! I cannot do it!
— Just for the experiment, let’s see what might happen.- Do you want me to say it loudly?
— Better do it silently, but it is up to you. However, please tell me what happens to Masha.
— (Working hard). O, it is impossible! (Laughing). She jumped from the coach, gets rid of headphones, pours Jin & Tonic into the sink, stops smoking and rushed to the table for learning! No, I cannot understand what’s going on…
So, the first step is when the client stops pushing him/herself and allows the IC to do what it wants to do, and not to do what it does not want to. The paradoxical result is that the child starts working or studying, only if he/she gets sincere permission to stand against (because child’s stubbornness is just his way to stand against parents’ rising).
After (and only after) she released the child, she starts to behave adequately. In this case she should begin learning, the psychotherapist should start working with the image of the internal parent, who used to criticize the child and force him to study.
This parent is recommended to get rid of responsibility, to stop worrying and to start living efficiently and cheerfully. Sometimes it happens that the image of the parent and the picture of the child run into one Adult…
The client is supposed to understand all the logic of the job. He/she must get rid of resistance by any means. By the end, as usual, the result is confirmed by an imagined situation. Students are very surprised to say that just after one session they stop delaying the study, it is easy for them to start, and even if they get tired, they can easily postpone learning, as they are positive that everything will be covered by them later.
I would like to report one more case about the mother who faced problems with her daughter’s studies.
Example 6. “Torment Studying”
During the training session in Volgograd, a young woman complained that she had problems with her daughter’s studies. She pushed the girl to start doing her home task, screamed at her, being pretty unhappy with herself about doing that; every time they both ended up with tears.
First, I suggested that she gets advice from the other women in the group. There were a lot of them who were happy to share their ideas with no decision made, although the brainstorm lasted for a long time. It revealed that all the attempts to solve the problem had led to a psychological dead end, and women got an opportunity to realize all the non-productiveness of their therapy.
After this unsuccessful brainstorm, I suggested that the mother reconstructs the scene of the daughter’s studies right away. A woman stood over the daughter. The girl apparently didn’t understand her home task. I recommended her to speak both in her name and in her daughter’s, either to sit on the chair or to stand over it. She started (in a very annoyed voice): “Okay, what exactly you do not understand? Here is subject, here is the object. I remember you learning the rule!”
— Please, sit down on the chair and imagine that you are a daughter. What do you feel?
— I understand nothing, my thoughts are messed around, mom is forcing me (piteously). I do not remember.
— (Get’s up.) You never remember anything! How many times can I repeat one and the same thing?
— (Sits down.) There are tears in my eyes. I understand nothing… It is smog in my head.
The conflict was evident, and the heavier the mother’s pressure was, the less could the girl understand, she almost lost her consciousness. It seemed that the situation had no way out. I suggested that the mother starts from scratch, but in a different way. She had no ideas of how to do that.
Then I recommended to start with: “Okay, let’s figure out together, what’s wrong with this rule?” (Criticizing and Pushing Parent turns into the Caring one”). The dialog was repeated but with the different outcome.
It turned that everything became very clear in girl’s head, (same with mother), and they very quickly managed to find the solution. Everybody was stunned. There were many women in the group who were crying, as all of them had encountered the same problems with their children.
However, the most important part of the session started later, when working with IC.
The mother, being triumphal, got back to her seat, but in a minute she felt nausea and dizziness. She became very pale. I had to call her back to the “hot chair.” She said that as soon as she got back to her place, she saw her mother standing over her with a belt for punishing. She felt tremendous humiliation. I suggested that she imagined this feeling on the chair in front of her. It turned to be the image of the small girl, like Thumbelina. I asked whether it was possible for her to raise this girl, giving her all the energy.
She started doing it. The girl grew up and soon became of the same size as a woman herself. After this, the client adopted the girl into herself, as a part of her personality. After that, she was asked again to have a look at her mother. The reaction was strange: “I do not care. Let her stand. I feel that she cannot do me any harm.”
Comments: It is obvious, that this method is based on the idea of overcoming of the child’s humiliation by energization of the image and the following identification with it. It is also obvious that pedagogical helplessness of the mother was based on her psychological problems, which came back from her childhood.
When the woman showed up the next day, she thanked me a lot for the result. She woke up in an excellent mood; she had much energy, and she felt happiness, her relationship with her daughter improved tremendously.
I think there is no need to convince the reader, how important the problem is and how difficult it is to correct this “small” problem. EIT in cooperation with E. Berne’s concept, give us the chance to achieve significant and encouraging results.
The goal of this article was to show new advantages of EIT, which were not yet discussed in printed media, and to share with colleagues the ideas, which give the opportunity to solve some problems quickly, efficiently and gracefully. Unfortunately, it is impossible to describe all the devices and peculiarities of the work with IC in just this one article.
1. Berne, E., 1964. Games People Play, Ballantine Books (reprint 1996).
2. Freud, S., 1899. The Interpretation of Dreams.
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