Sunday, February 28, 2010

Life script analysis 3

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I was about 10 years old and was in the washroom doing some laundry with my sister. My mom was sitting at the table next to the kitchen. I heard this loud noise and lots of swearing and shouting. It was my dad in the garage. He came into the house from the garage and walked by my mom saying "F..." and "S..." to her. I looked up from the laundry as the door was open and I could see my dad walk into the door way. He saw me there and he picked up a telephone book and threw it at me. It hit my right shoulder so that it turned me around a bit. It hurt real bad. He then just walked off he didn't say anything or do anything more. I thought "That's weird". It was always so confusing. No one ever said what was going on. My sister said nothing, but I felt sorry for her and my mom said nothing. It was treated like it never even happened.

But I knew my dad hated me. He said many times that I looked like his father and he always hated his father. He was always so angry and he hated me so much. I knew he didn't want me. He told me that. I was unwanted and unlovable, so I wanted to die.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Life script analysis 2

To see a larger version go here and click on 'All sizes'.


Friday, February 26, 2010

Life script analysis 1

For a bigger copy of this go to here and click on all sizes.

At this point, my dad is a big marijuana smoker. He keeps some frozen in the freezer oustide, he grows some outside, and has marijuana dealers over nearly everyday. He also drinks.

My mother doesn't mind that he smokes or drinks, as long as he keeps it out in the garage. She doesn't want me exposed to his lifestyle. But of course, I am. She can't protect me when she is at work. I even liked the drug dealers cause every time they would come over they would bring me candy. During the holidays they would even give me money.

This day my mother came home from work. Occasionally she gets home later than usual; meaning that she didn't drive straight home from work. I think the reason she gets home late is that she does not want to see me.

She gets home. I don't remember the conversation between my father and my mother. I don't think I understand completely what they are saying. Mom is saying that she doesn't want those drug dealers coming over anymore after one of them was shot. My dad has been drinking. They argue. And then my dad starts yelling. And my mom is screaming. And my dad is hitting my mother. I want them to stop fighting. They don't. Please stop fighting. I'm crying and screaming now too. I grab on to my dad's leg and try to stop him from hitting my mom. I start hitting him too. He pushes me away. But I come back. He's yelling at me and pulling my hair. And then he stops hitting my mother. I did it. I stopped their fighting. But wait, why can't I breathe anymore. He picks me up and throws me to the wall. He goes outside to the garage.

At some point my mother has ran up the stairs to her bedroom. I want to see my mother. I want to see that she is okay. I go up stairs and turn the door knob. Locked. I knock and tell her it's just me. It's okay. He's outside. She won't let me in. She doesn't want to see me.

I go to my room and lock myself in.


Hello Annalynn,

Thank you for your story to go with the drawing.

the next thing I am interested in is the life script decisions that that young girl made in that situation. There maybe a number of them or they may just be one.

what did she conclude about herself and life and others? What sense did she make out of all this? What cognitive conclusions did she come to?

As I said there may only be one decision or there may be a number of them at different times in the event, like when mo and fa are arguing and when she locked herself in her room.


Uh, now those are some harder questions that I am not sure I completely understand.

If I hadn't been born my parents would not be currently fighting. I am a burden.

My own mother who I care about more than anything doesn't even want to see me. I am unloveable.

I have to handle my physical and emotional pain on my own. I can't depend on others.

There must be something wrong with me.


Good response Annalynn,

The fact that you find them harder questions is a good thing because they are, and it means that you are understanding what I am talking about and wanting from you.

If you were in counselling what I would get you to do is have a look again at the picture the you drew. In particular I would ask you to look at the drawings of the little girl there and I would ask things like:

How old is she?

What do you see when you look at that little girl?

Do you like her?

What is she feeling and what is she wanting?

Imagine what she is feeling and begin to again feel some of the emotions that she was feeling at that age?

Allow yourself to again reexperience that situation and the feelings that went along with it?

Look at that little girl and as you experience her what sense did she make of it all. What conclusions did she come to and what decisions did she make?

Did she make any decisions about not being there, being dead, dying or being killed?

My goal is to invite the drawer back into the Child ego state and reexperience the early scene and people are willing to do that in varying degrees. Some will regress right back and some will not go there at all because either they are highly defended about the event or it is simply to painful to go back there.

What ever the response the goal is to get to the cognitive conclusions that the child came to in that early scene and for the purposes of this exercise especially any decisions about not existing, being dead or dying.



Interesting. :)

Yeah, I am the worst when it comes to counseling. Writing about my life is one thing. But talking about it is a completely different thing. And then I am told if I don't talk about it, they can't help me. And I take that as they don't want to help me. And then I leave and don't come back.

That doesn't work so well.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Life script analysis

Is there someone out there who wants me to analyse their life script?

If there is then you will have to do the the 'Bad day at black rock' exercise. To do this you have to
recall a scene from your early life in childhood (first 10 years of life if possible). The scene is an unpleasant event that is related to your family.

A time when something very bad happened and you were quite upset. Recall who was there and what were they doing, and saying (or not saying), and feeling.

Then I want you to draw a picture of that scene and I will then analyse it for you.

What is her life script?


Monday, February 22, 2010

Question time

Don't exist interview questions designed to elicit how the person sees self ending up in life.

What happens to people like you?

If you keep going the same way you are now where will you be in 5, 10 or 15 years?

How do you think you may die and at what age?

What will it say on you tombstone?

You are watching your funeral, who is there and what are they saying?

Anyone got an answer that may go in my book.

Some know considerable detail about the ending of their life. what will he end up like?



Saturday, February 20, 2010

Lifestye and the repetition compulsion

Roses says in a comment on the last post

“Why then, is it that we need so badly to be locked in to a script?”

Our current leader of the opposition in Australia, Tony Abbott, got himself into hot water last week. He made the comment that for some homeless people it was a matter of lifestyle choice. That some chose that lifestyle to live.

The opposite argument to this is that it is not their choice but a result of poor economic conditions, neglectful government for the homeless and so forth. The psychologist would say that it is neither but it is something else altogether.

I worked in a prison for three years and without a doubt if an inmate wants to acquire work skills, improve their education level and so forth the opportunity is definitely there. There is a small group who do use their prison time to improve self but the majority do not tend to. Is that their choice? Most would say yes.

The good life

As one works with people over the years one finds that people will create lifestyles that are reflective of how they view themselves. If one has a good perception of self and respects self then over time they will create a lifestyle and relationships that reflect that belief of self. They create a good quality of life.

If one has been told they are useless, not wanted, beaten and neglected then they will tend to have a poor view of self. If this happens then as they go through life they will create relationships and lifestyles that reflect that poor view of self.

Hence those with a poor view of self will tend to end up destitute, in prison, a habitual drug user and so forth. However it is not always the down and outers. Having worked most of my life in private practice my clients have tended to be those who are financially stable. I have seen plenty of rich people who have horrible lives in terms of relationships, emotions and the predicaments they get themselves into. So its not just about homelessness and money.

Successful boxers a notorious for ending up with tragic lives

It is the long term out come that reflects ones level of self esteem

Just look at man of the moment - Tiger. His father drove him relentlessly and was swinging a golf club by age 2 and he has not been able to stop until just recently. He has plenty of money but what is the quality of his life? What it is in the long run will be a reflection of how he views himself. If he comes out of this and falls on his feet as they say then we know he has at least a reasonable opinion of himself. If he does not then he views himself in a much less favourable light and will create a crappy life for himself.

However the point at hand is that people will do this relentlessly. It is a very powerful driving force in them such that one could call it a compulsion and indeed Freud coined the term - repetition compulsion. People will tend to compulsively repeat the same over and over again and thus over time they end up with the same sort of lifestyle, relationships and so forth.

So it is a compulsion to adopt the same life script over and over. This means some of the homeless (like prisoners) will not take up the opportunities available to ‘improve’ their circumstances. This does happen and thus one can understand why some see it as a choice. The opportunities are there and they will not take them in the long run.

Is that a choice or a compulsion to create a lifestyle that reflects the current self image? If one decides it is a choice then the homeless are to blame. If one decides it is a compulsion to repeat the life script then it is not their fault and they are victims of unlucky circumstances.

Can it be a bit of both? Some do take up the opportunities and create a better life for self. Each and everyday I work with people who do precisely that. The goal is to improve ones view of self. If that happens then it is inevitable they will create better lifestyle for self. It will only be a matter of time until that is achieved.


Friday, February 12, 2010

Skype counselling

As one does what one does and in my case that is psychotherapy and counselling one always seeks the new and different. Hey!! if you don’t one gets old in mind or in my case I would get bored out of my little mind. In recent times I have had occasion to do therapy using Skype on my computer.

Of course with a new medium of human communication comes new facetiae with that. The good and the bad I suppose one could say. If you have not used Skype, when you talk with someone you see their face in the main screen and also your own face in the bottom left hand corner.

On Skype you see two faces on the screen as you talk with the other person. The client’s in the main screen and yours in a smaller section at the bottom left hand corner. In a normal therapy setting it would be like having a mirror sitting next to the client that reflected back the top half of your body. One is constantly receiving two images - the client and yourself. This, as you can imagine is a new set of circumstances in the counselling situation. Not many therapists have a mirror set up next to the client so they can see their own reflection whilst counselling. With Skype you do whether you want it or not.

What does this new ingredient mean for the counselling process and the therapeutic relationship? Well I have been known to possess some of the traits of the narcissistic personality. Only the good ones and not the bad ones I may add! Thus Skype counselling means I can look at my self through the hour long counselling session. The perfect counselling session for the narcissistic personality. This is a good thing one may think. But if one does that clients will quickly tire of such self absorption on behalf of the therapist and c’est la vie, go find a real job.

Me, myself and I in Belgrade

But what it does mean if I get to see an image of myself continually in the treatment process? I get to see what the client sees on a second by second basis. This gives me one source of information and also I get to see my behavioural reactions to the client on a second by second basis which is the second source of information.

In non Skype therapy I have three main sources of information.

1. Behavioural observations of the client as they talk

2. The content of what they are saying

3. My Child ego state intuitive feeling reactions to the client

With Skype one has more sources of information.

4. What the client is seeing second by second

5. What my behavioural reactions to the client are on a second by second basis

6. My Child ego state intuitive feeling reactions to my behavioural reactions to the client.

As you can imagine this was a veritable tsunami of new information as a therapist. Never before have I been privy to such information from the client’s perspective. At the outset it was kind of information overload.

How can I take in all this new information, let alone comprehend it and compute it for the client’s benefit. Instead of the familiar three sources of information all of a sudden it had doubled to six sources of information. Slowly one develops a new method of information processing which is what I am doing at this stage of this new method of counselling.

This is probably incomplete, in fact I can say it is definitely incomplete and it will be edited later. Tomorrow probably. It is friday night at 10.58pm and I have had 2 glasses of chardonnay. I know i shouldn’t but what the heck


Thursday, February 11, 2010

The drug addict

I was asked a question in supervision yesterday about the drug addict and I gave an answer that I want to record and thus it is going in as a blog post to join my tome.

As I have mentioned before there are different types of drug users. One that gets a lot of notice is the drug addict type of user. This is the person who finds it really, really, really hard to stop using. Or more correctly they do not find it that hard to get off drugs but they find it really hard to stay off drugs. In their histories they have often given up on many occasions but they always start using again.

This type of drug user represents only a small number of the overall drug using population. By far the largest group is the recreational drug user who uses drugs intermittently in their life and it never causes them any real problems. Whereas the drug addict type of user ends up with numerous familial, legal. financial and health problems as a result of the drug use. Whilst they are a small group in number they are the ones who use up most of the resources - health, police, courts and so forth.

When you listen to these people talk about their relationship with the drug one finds an uncanny resemblance to the same qualities one finds in a relationship between a child and a parent. Of course a child is dependent on a parent and one finds the drug addict type of user with a similar type of dependence on the drug. So we end up with a symbiosis as such:

A young child is dependent on it’s mother and as it grows it is meant to become more psychologically separate from mother. As this happens then the dependency reduces and the original symbiosis is broken. If it does not happen then the dependency does not reduce and one develops what is called the dependent personality. This type of person can then become a drug dependent individual - the drug addict. See White for more on this. The recreational drug user does not have this personality trait and thus they do not become drug dependent in the same way.

So what is the solution? Can these people stop using drugs and if so how? My answer to that is yes they can, as some do, and there are a number of ways depending on their circumstances.

1. Switch the dependence. These people are psychologically dependent people as was described above. They can stop using by switching the dependence. Thus they still remain dependent but on something besides the drug. One sees this happen sometimes with religion. If the drug addict seeks a religious based treatment for their addiction some times they can become addicted to the religion and thus stay off the drugs.

An OK solution to my mind. For some AA can be the same. The addiction can be anything though from religion, to sport, to sex, to a person or whatever. It would seem to be much better to be addicted to religion than to heroin.

2. Grow out of it. One does not find many 40 year old heroin addicts. If they survive their twenties and thirties as most do they get tired of the highly charged lifestyle, mature a bit with age and start needing the drug less. If you are working with a 25 year old habitual heroin user the goal may be to help them get through the next decade and then they are more likely to start to tire of the lifestyle and then one has a real chance of them ceasing to use for long periods of time.

3. The psychological solution or cure. Whilst this solution is possible it does take a significant amount of time and money, thus one needs to be realistic and see that it may work for a minority but the majority are going to need to look for the other solutions.

The solution is via a transference cure where the process is as such:

In essence the client develops an attachment to the therapist and thus a symbiosis develops like shown above. The addict becomes dependent on the therapist in the same way. This growth of dependency happens in the positive transference stage. After a time that ceases and the client goes into a negative transference where they fight the therapist in many and varied ways. The separation stage begins.

This is the crucial part of the cure as this is what the person never completed in childhood. In the negative transference the client begins to psychologically separate from the therapist, thus they breakdown the symbiosis so their dependency on the therapist reduces until they basically outgrow them and don’t need them anymore. The dependent quality in their personality reduces and thus they become less dependent on the drug.


Friday, February 5, 2010

The timing of grief

The grief graph shows the usual timing of grief reactions. This relates to sudden loss only, where the death or removal of the person is unexpected and permanent. Where the loss is anticipated such as with a long terminal illness the grief graph is quite different for the bereaved.

When the loss occurs there is the initial reaction of shock. This would rarely be longer than a few days. This is where the Child ego state incapacitates and basically goes into a state of complete non functioning cognitively, emotionally and behaviourally. The person in essence curls up in the foetal position and stays there. The person deals with a piece of very repugnant information (such as the death of a loved one) by collapsing in on self. The information is not being denied instead the information is not even being comprehended in the first place. If this lasted into weeks then one would essentially be in some form of catatonic state.

When this passes the person will be in a state of denial. The information is now comprehended by the person but the Adult and Child ego states deny that it is true. By whatever means, and by some kind of magical thinking the person convinces self that what they are being told is not true.

This also usually passes quite quickly at one level. The Adult ego state usually has to reasonably quickly accept the facts that the person is now no longer there. When this happens on the grief graph one can see the feelings of sadness and grief rapidly rise to quite a high and intense level. At this point the person’s everyday life each and every day is significantly effected by the strong distressing emotions to the extent that the ability to work, relate and recreate can be significantly effected.

This is indicated by Roses comment on the post on Depression and suicide:

“I realise now. Grief isn't about feeling sad or happy or anything like that. Its not like that at all. It, some how, is a physical thing. I can't just shake it off like everything else. It's not like a cloak i have to wear for a time so when i need a break from it, i can just take it off for a little bit and then put it back on when i need to. No. It's inside and it's all the time. Its something we carry on the inside that can't be let go of or put down for a bit. It just is.”

This shows the ever present nature and strong presence of the grief in the very early days after the loss.

Even though the Adult can not stay in denial for too long the Child ego state can remain in denial for very long periods of time, indeed years at a time. The Child magically sort of somehow believes that the person is not really gone or really dead. The individual sort of talks about the person like they are still alive. The person refuses to remove the deceased’s clothing from the cupboards or when walking along the street they catch sight of a person in the corner of their eye and they quickly think they have seen the deceased.

Indeed the very function of the period of grief and sadness in the grief graph is to break down the attachment and for the Child ego state to come to realization that the person is really dead. To end the denial.

It has been widely noted that the symptoms of depression are also commonly found in normal grief reactions. The two are quite psychologically similar. This is why depression often involves some kind of unresolved grief. Thus in the treatment of many, if not most depressed individuals one needs to find the time(s) when they did not grieve properly in childhood and redo the grief and goodbye work about the losses experienced. Depression often is an unsophisticated attempt by the Child ego state to resolve past grief reactions that it never successfully concluded. Depression is a recreation by the Child of process described by the grief graph.

If the grieving proceeds normally in a Free Child manner then over time the intensity and frequency of sadness and grief slowly decrease. After 6 months there will be a significant drop in the intensity and frequency such that there will be a noticeable difference experienced by the bereaved. By 18 months the vast majority of the painful grief is gone and life continues onward. Full psychological readjustment after the death of a very closed loved one probably occurs about 4 years after the death.

Those who report significant grief beyond these times are getting some form of significant secondary gains from the grief and loss process. Thus the process is dragged out much longer, even for a lifetime in some instances.


Thursday, February 4, 2010

Human communication

Skype is really cool!!

If anyone is wanting to be on my contact list just email me at