Multiplicity III
1 Dec 2015

Multiplicity. What is it about? Counsellors need to know themselves well in order to be effective in the counselling room. We are a collection of pieces which (hopefully) connect with each other.

This is especially important when we are working in the area of trauma, as Elisabeth Howell writes:

Our concept of the unconscious undergoes a radical revision to include a tightly woven system of interrelated dissociated self-states… (P28, Understanding and Treating DID)

So the unconscious then becomes a complex, interrelated and inter-connecting bits of us? Worth a thought!

But the main thought I want to propose is that therapists need to know their multiple selves so that their multiple selves can relate to the multiple selves in the client. Sound complicated? No more than a young couple having the first meeting with each other’s rellies at a social do, possibly an engagement party!

How do I relate to his Uncle George? How do I relate to her cousin Peter? What will happen if Aunty Mavis who is a strict Catholic meets my very evangelical and evangelistic Uncle Bert? Do I want them to meet? Do I want either of them to know I’ve become a Buddhist? Will my fiancée give up on me when my brother gets blotto and leers at her?

OK. So maybe being a therapist isn’t quite like that, but maybe you have a maternal part who “helps” in the counselling room, and maybe you have a client who wants a mother figure… Are you able to consciously manage this process or do you let the maternal part pop out and you’ll ask yourself later if that was wise.