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Laura is a DNMS therapist who came to San Antonio for four days of intense personal work with Shirley Jean (SJ). Prior to these sessions, she’d mobilized a Healing Circle Resource team and established a Special Safe Place—a Mountain Retreat. We share these sessions with you on these seven videos. Two of the videos are shown in the DNMS 10-hour webinar.
History: Laura grew up in a middle-class home in a safe neighborhood. She believed her parents wanted her to grow up happy and healthy, but they didn’t understand how to make that happen. They were largely misattuned and unable to meet her emotional needs. She didn’t trust her parents and didn’t feel securely attached to either one. Following frequent fights with her parents, she’d retreat to her enmeshing grandmother. She felt close to her grandmother, but she was not able to meet Laura’s emotional needs either. Laura become an extremely rebellious teen. She’d skip school, drink alcohol, and do drugs with her rebellious friends – eventually becoming suicidal. Her family’s shaming, rejecting reactions drove her to escalate the self-destructive behavior.
A fiesty 17-year-old part shows up uninvited at the start of the session to register her protest for this therapy. To build rapport, SJ welcomes her and offers lots of validation for the desire to protest. Laura’s extreme rebellious behavior at 17 evoked anger and rejection from her parents. When the part reveals her Mom used to tell her, “I wish you were dead,” SJ and the Resources respond with lots of empathy and compassion. SJ clears up many misunderstandings about how rebellious children should be treated. After SJ orients her to present time and explains the illusion of significance, the wounded 17-year-old part feels much better. She’s invited to settle in to the Mountain Retreat. (This video is shown in the 10-hour webinar.)
Laura reports a 15-year-old wounded part is upset about the positive change in the 17-year-old part (from video 1). SJ welcomes her forward. The part is angry because they were both bad and both deserved the “I wish you were dead” message—but now the 17-year-old is “off scott free.” She talks about how much her acting out upset her parents. SJ and the Resources validate her behavior as an effort to solve a problem. She reveals that when her dad moved the family to a new neighborhood an hour away, he shamed her with the message, “It’s your fault we have to move, because you’re bad and we need to get you away from your friends. You’ve ruined my life. If you weren’t my child I’d kill you.” SJ and the Resources provide helpful empathy, validation, and support. SJ orients her to the present and explains the illusion of significance. Once the 15-year-old is feeling safe and stable, the 17-year-old part is invited back. More needs are met until both parts feel safe enough to let the Resources help them grieve. When they feel better, they both settle in to Mountain Retreat to bake cookies with the Resources. (This video is NOT in the 10-hour webinar.)
Laura reports an awareness of a sad 7-year-old part activated by the work with the 15- and 17-year-old parts (from videos 1 & 2). SJ invited her forward. The part says the older parts are mean to her and won’t let her to be sad. SJ asks for her story. At age 7 her two best friends moved away. She was devastated, but no one helped her grieve the loss. SJ and the Resources provide lots of validation and empathy to help her grieve. When she feels a little better, SJ invites her to talk the 15- and 17-year-olds, who are now eating cookies by a mountain stream. They’re not upset with her, but she doesn’t trust them. So SJ orients the 7-year-old to present time, and Resources provide more support to help her grieve. When she no longer worries the 15- and 17-year-old will be mean to her, she’s invited to settle in to the Mountain Retreat. In a follow-up session, the grandmother’s reaction to the 7-year-old’s grief is explored. SJ and the Resources provide lots of validation and empathy, and clear several misunderstandings. After SJ orients the part to the present and explains the illusion of significance, she feels much better. She’s invited to settle in to the Mountain Retreat again, where she’s glad to hang out with the other parts. (This video is NOT shown in the 10-hour webinar.)
Laura chooses to work on the issue of feeling small, powerless, and triggered when her younger sister makes hurtful, snarky comments. When SJ invites forward the part that gets triggered, a sad, scared 10-year-old shows up. The part recalled that, growing up, her sister aimed to get lots of Mom’s time and attention, while aggressively keeping Laura away from Mom. Her sister’s hostile behavior, and her parents’ apparent disinterest in her, evoked the belief “I don’t matter.” SJ and the Resources provide lots of validation and empathy, and clear several misunderstandings. After SJ orients the part to the present and explains the illusion of significance, the part feels much better. Finally the 10-year-old is able to think about her sister’s current disrespectful tone, without taking it personally. She’s invited to settle in to the Mountain Retreat. (This video is NOT shown in the 10-hour webinar.)
Laura chooses to work on the issue of feeling angry and triggered whenever clients have a setback or interventions seem to fail. She said two parts get triggered—a sad one (see video 7) and an angry one. She wants to work with the angry one first. When SJ invites forward the part that gets triggered, a 12-year-old shows up. She’s very mistrusting of adults, including SJ and the Resources. She recalls being transferred to a special school for gifted students that she really liked. But her neighborhood peers would tease and bully her so badly for being smart, that she mooned her classroom to get expelled. SJ and the Resources provide lots empathy, validation, and radical acceptance to build rapport with the part. SJ fills in lots of missing information. After SJ orients the part to the present and explains the illusion of significance, the part feels much better. She’s invited to settle in to the Mountain Retreat. At the close, Laura is able to think about clients having setbacks without getting triggered. (This video is shown in the 10-hour webinar.)
Laura reports having woken up with a headache. We discover it’s connected to two parts—a suspicious 14-year-old and a scared 5-year-old. The 14-year-old is mad about the work we’d done with the 12-, 15-, and 17-year-olds (from videos 1, 2, & 4). She says older ones are supposed to protect the little ones, but now the others are too “sappy” to do that. She’s not interested in connecting with the Resources. The 5-year-old wants to get close to the Resources but won’t, because the 14-year-old will get mad if she does. When SJ asks about her story, she recalls feeling suicidal (at 14) and stealing her grandmother’s gun with the intention of using it to kill herself. She showed it to a male friend who took it to school and told everyone it was hers. When the school expelled her, her parents’ misattuned reaction made the situation much worse. As she tells her story, SJ validates, builds rapport, and clears misunderstandings. After SJ orients the part to the present and explains the illusion of significance, the part feels much better and is finally willing to connect to the Resources and let the 5-year-old connect too. SJ also orients the 5-year-old to present time. When they are both feeling calm and stable, they’re invited to settle in to the Mountain Retreat. By the end of the session the headache is gone. (This video is NOT shown in the 10-hour webinar.)
Laura was ready to work with the second part that gets triggered when clients do not progress as expected—a part that believes, ‘I’ll never be good enough.’ (See video 5.) When SJ invites the part forward, a scared, sad 6-year-old part shows up. The part recalls her father used to yell and whip her whenever she made mistakes. SJ and the Resources provide lots of attuned empathy and validation. SJ clears up lots misunderstandings about how children should be treated when they make mistakes. After orienting the part to the present and explaining the illusion of significance, the part feels much better. She’s invited to settle in to the Mountain Retreat. Then SJ invites Laura to envision working with clients who don’t progress as expected. It’s no longer triggering—no longer evoke the negative belief. (This video is NOT shown in the 10-hour webinar.)
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All seven videos, including those shown in the 10-hour webinar.
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