I think everyone who walks through the clinic’s doors assumes they want to change. ‘Of course I want to get better!’ I have no doubt that a part of you does, but the reality is that most of the parts inside of you probably don’t, hence the difficulty with feeling better. Sure, it could be that for some to feel better it may be a matter of being put on medication or adjusting medication, but I would guess that for most it goes far beyond that, if not for everyone.
What am I getting at?
I don’t think it helps anyone to assume that all of us wants to get better (notice if you have a visceral response to this), because if we don’t get better it’s oh so easy to beat ourselves up, feel helpless, be convinced that nothing will work, etc. If we actually start with an honest, compassionate understanding that not all parts do want change, it helps us not only to build the strength and courage to be radically truthful with ourselves, but also opens up the possibility for an internal dialogue about what is actually getting in the way of moving forward. It’s easy to point to external roadblocks to change, and of course there can be very real external roadblocks, but I’m talking about systemic, silently cataclysmic internal change that is not dependent on the outside world changing first.
‘So a part of me wants to change, and other parts don’t. Now what?’
If you’ve come to this realization, this is huge! With that realization you can get somewhere, as a lot of the leg work to change requires the self-awareness of that ambivalence and that honesty. Better understanding and connecting empathetically with those parts that don’t want to change is essential. My feeling is, and as reflected in the Internal Family Systems model, you won’t get anywhere far, or deep, if those parts aren’t game.
‘Well, then how do I make those parts want to change?’
Forcing a part to change won’t work. Have you ever been successful in forcing someone to change? It’s about as effective as getting your dog to do your taxes. What inevitably opens up opportunity is an open, curious, interested stance towards these parts.
Interested in knowing more?
I’ll be giving a deeply reflective 3 hour workshop on the mechanisms of change, why we don’t change and how we can. If you’re ready to be radically honest with yourself, this workshop is for you. You can find more information here: https://www.edgarpsychological.com/change/
With loving kindness,