Advanced Integrative Therapy for Dissociative Identity Disorder 3/5: A Six-Year-Old Part
To what part of our clients do which traumatic memories belong? How might we devise age-appropriate ways of working with an adult client’s child part? Continuing her blog series on energy therapy for dissociative identity disorder, therapist and author Gill Frost describes how she adapted Advanced Integrative Therapy to her client’s six-year-old alter – from agreeing an accessible measure of distress levels to playing a healing game of Simple Simon Says.
Image Credit: Gill Frost
My decision to train in Advanced Integrative Therapy (AIT) was prompted by my desire to work ‘energetically’ with my long-standing DID client, Vivian, who I introduced to you in my previous two blogs. I had pictured the two of us working together in order to heal her past traumas.
In the beginning I certainly did not expect to use energy treatment directly with Vivian’s traumatised internal young ones. So it was a huge surprise when Little Vivvi, aged six, started ‘coming out’, often when Vivian and I had actually started an AIT treatment. Little Vivvi was quick to introduce herself and tell me her age. In fact she was bursting to tell me all kinds of things about herself, as well as eager to know about me and my life.
At first it felt as if Little Vivvi was gatecrashing; almost spoiling the therapy that Vivian and I had planned together. But it soon became apparent that her episodes of coming out were far from random or disruptive. Indeed, she was coming out because these traumatic memories belonged to her! Therefore, it was Little Vivvi who needed to do the energy therapy that she came to call ‘Wooshing’. After all, no other part of Vivian really knew about or understood the traumatic memories she’d been holding onto, out of consciousness, for decades.
From the outset, Little Vivvi’s bright and infectious personality was captivating. She seemed to know instinctively how to Woosh away her stored up ‘scaredness’. One thing was clear, she didn’t want to do AIT sitting in a chair like grown-ups; she wanted to do it standing up. Little Vivvi also asked for the window to be open during treatment, even in the middle of winter, so that she could Woosh all her scaredness out of the room and into the sky.
One of the earliest traumatic events we worked on was related to Halloween, which had left her terrified of Trick or Treating. Little Vivvi was quick to choose the treatment phrase, ‘All my scaredness of Halloween’. We didn’t use muscle testing to check the rightness of the phrase because it didn’t feel an appropriate procedure for a child.
Neither did we measure her level of distress, using a scale of zero to 10. Instead we used physical distance, along the lines of ‘to the moon and back’. When I asked Little Vivvi how much the memory of Halloween scared her, she looked frightened and said, “It’s as big as from this wall here, to that wall there”. This signified maximum distress.
Before we started our first proper round of treatment I wasn’t sure if Little Vivvi would feel comfortable about touching her body. Thankfully I had the idea of using the game of ‘Simple Simon Says’ as an icebreaker, incorporating the energy points or chakras. This worked like a dream. We were soon standing up, facing one another, both ready to ‘play’ a serious version of the ‘game’.
I began by saying, “Simple Simon says, ‘Put your hands on your head [the crown chakra]. Simple Simon says, ‘Repeat after me: All my scaredness of Halloween’.” Little Vivvi managed this with ease and continued to move her hands and repeat the words at every chakra. Just as Simple Simon instructed, she put her hands on her forehead, chin, throat and heart chakras in turn. After this she moved her hands in a waterfall fashion, right down to her feet. As she did this she instinctively said, “Woosh!”
It was thrilling to see Little Vivvi engage so enthusiastically with AIT and witness such a change in her. As we completed rounds of treatment about Halloween she became more energised and even jumped with joy. Finally she was able to show me her hands held together. “Look Gill! I’m this scared now. That’s no scared!”
In my next blog I focus on working energetically with a baby part of Vivian. It was a jaw-dropping experience for all concerned.