Multi modal process of enquiry into memory

Last week in therapy I discussed my sense of confusion of being in a committed relationship and my therapist and I got curious as to whether I had “issues” around commitment. I wrote about commitment using the prompt “commitment is…” and then with my non dominant hand, wrote the words that came to mind.

Commitment is….

When I came to the session tonight my therapist had her PhD thesis sitting on the desk in the room. It was a beautiful royal blue bound book with a gold lettered title. The thesis is a narrative account of her MIECAT process of enquiry into the experience of moving on from trauma. She asked if I wanted to go through this process of enquiry with her. MIECAT is a creative arts therapy unit in Melbourne, Australia and applies a multi modal artistic approach to healing. This is perfect for me as it is what I do with boxing/ writing workshop and in some ways (although the focus is not on healing), I like to be multi modal with my education style. Anyway, as soon as she said it, my parts got really excited. We decided to work with the list I wrote about commitment. She said I could choose any artistic practice to explore the writing with. I felt a part say “movement” and so just went with it. Movement is hard for me as I have difficulty with it. I have a love / hate relationship with movement, although it might be better for me to explore this in another post.

So I wrote down the first few words on separate pieces of paper and then picked the first word “Peace”.

I then “performed” a movement to demonstrate “peace”. This was really just shifting my body into a meditative position and holding it. So it wasn’t anything dramatic or complex, it was a representation. Then I just shared whatever came to me in terms of words and I wrote them on the paper.

Commitment is…peace

Up the top I wrote truth and comfort and down the bottom, I wrote that peace feels impossible, dangerous, like a lie/ false. I unpacked it a bit more and T wrote a description of what I said as I talked:

I feel trapped. There’s no way out, which way I turn they are always going to get me.

Then I moved on to “Laughter” and stood up this time and stood in a stance with my arms out wide. T took a photo each time of me in my movement positions (we used my camera).

Commitment is… laughter

Like peace, laughter was split, with some positive words up the top and then thoughts/ beliefs like “impossible/ dangerous” and “feel like they (as in parts) are going to get in trouble if they make noise”.

Laughter Description: Split. Same as peace. But the movement is wispy, lighter than peace. We’ll get in trouble if we make noise.

Next, was “Pain”. This time I crawled into a tight ball and my feet were arched and my hands were frozen apart. I wrote other words to accompany pain which did not seem split. There was shared agreement inside on this one.

Commitment is… pain

Pain description: Its going to be over (meaning pain leads to the rituals stopping, so you might as well get used to it). Feeling disgusting – link between liking being controlled. So maybe I want this, so its my fault, I am responsible. I’m destined to be like this (in terms of I wanted it, I made it happen, I am responsible…).. so what hope do I have.

Then we moved on to the last one in this session “Getting Killed”.

Picture of movement I chose to represent “getting killed”
Commitment is…getting killed

This was a hard one. The description was: a part feels like I am making it all up. You’re a f”‘king liar to pretend its true. Look what you have done. Doesn’t matter what I do, no hope, I am bad and wrong.

I think this is the crux of my confusion about so much. The double binds. It’s kept me bound, stuck, on repeat, feeling caught, trapped and not sure which way to move forward in life. And then a sense of powerlessness, what’s the point? What does it matter? There is no hope.

I am grateful for the times I have found hope and been shown hope. I am grateful God gives me a spirit of strength and power and sound mind.

Before we moved on to each theme, I acknowledged both parts (the parts who felt joy and the parts who felt there was no hope). My T reminded me she did not judge one over the other, which makes me sad because I do and I can see that this was learned behaviour. I feel tired and depleted but excited to be working through this process.

2 thoughts on “Multi modal process of enquiry into memory

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