What part do you play in your story?

Are you the main character? The stunt man or the love interest?

Composing your life into a story, either verbally or written can be a wonderfully therapeutic thing to do. Going back through your childhood and past history, really examining the stories and discovering what you’ve learnt and gained, the mistakes you’ve made and the risks you’ve taken. To put a label on this practice we could call it Narrative Therapy. Created by Michael White and David Epston and introduced in a book they published in 1990, Narrative Means to Therapeutic Ends.

Not only does Narrative Therapy seek to understand people by the story they tell it also views people as separate from their problems. For example, depression is something they have, but does not define who they are. This separation allows clients to explore the impact of their problems in their lives and, by externalising the sensitive subject, a client can analyse and reframe it.

In hypnosis we use “Parts Therapy” which similarly separates us from the part that is the problem. Emotions are usually trying to protect us or make us happy, so during a parts therapy session and under hypnosis, I will always ask the client ‘what is that part/emotion trying to do for you?’

For example, if I am seeing someone for weight loss, the answer may be, that the part of them that is binge eating is trying to provide comfort. This is a simple example, and I would say most people recognise when they are comfort eating but often the answer to this question has not been previously accepted in their conscious minds. This is just the start of what can be a very emotional and insightful process.

As well as tackling any problems you may be having such as weight loss, telling your personal story can highlight how you perceive yourself. You may look back at a period in your life with negativity, and for some a strong hatred of yourself. Perhaps you failed a course or underperformed in a job. We can be very hard on ourselves and not look back with kind eyes, if the only story we tell is a personality attack, this will not be helping our self-esteem. Narrative Therapy and Hypnotherapy can help you to identify a narrative of the past, that is much more helpful to you, one that sees the positives, accepts the mistakes and addresses the learning outcomes.

Both Narrative therapy and Hypnotherapy seek to find the clients inner resources and use these to really help alleviate any suffering. I have not come across anyone yet who does not have the resources to overcome their issues.

Not only do we look backwards for the story, but we also look to the future. Having a plan will guide you, it will allow you to take control of your life story and will give you goals to work towards. Of course, plans can always change, and they probably will, but they can help you figure out the next step. It’s not just the practical things to plan for but what parts of your personality do you want to work on?

So, if you recognise that you’re playing a bit part and it’s time to take centre stage and create your own story, you could make a start by writing the past and then writing a future plan.

If you would like hypnotherapy to help you identify your part then please get in touch via my contact page.