Five stories of us
This is a really effective way of getting to know, playing with, sharing, aspects, layers, the various parts of ourselves. Discovering our inner and outer selves and the other layers In between. The self that others see and the self that we know and the self we would like to be. And all the other elements. The critical self, the judgemental self, the joyful self, the scared self. Whoever they might be for you.
They are all integral and important parts of ourselves and it is helpful to get to know them better, often get them back into balance as some parts may have become dominant over time, while others may have slipped into silence. It can be great fun sitting on the floor choosing things to go on the shelves and telling me about what they mean to you. From this we can go on to explore the impact things have had on you and the reality that healing from them doesn’t deny their existence but can allow you to go on in a way that the “damage no longer controls your life”.
We use a block of 5 stories and your choice of objects; stones and shells, animals and people, a variety of other models, which have the meaning that you give to them. The meaning that you give to the layers and the images is what matters. When choosing the images it is important to try and let your feelings guide you, to follow the hunch that lead you to be interested in that shell, that model rather than thinking about what they are and what they might represent. This is not always easy of course. You can describe what you are doing as you choose the figures and placed them, or you can talk me through it once you have finished the selection. Again it is entirely up to you.
The theory behind this is based in Jungian ideas about the importance and meaning of images and metaphors and ideas about the parts of ourselves. Schwarz and others talk about Internal Family Systems. I take this a bit wider and am curious about all the parts that make up our systems and how they might be out of balance with each other. I am interested in what role each part plays, what they think they are doing and can they be reassured that that role is no longer functional? Can the more compassionate parts of ourselves be given a bit more space? I often think of this in terms of the Matrioshka, the Russian stacking dolls; our job in therapy can be to take all the different parts out, get to know them, get an understanding of their fears and hopes for us, maybe something about their history. Then allow them to find a different balance and put them all back together again. So you can go on and live you life as fully as you want to.