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How do you (re)integrate a split off part (not DID)?

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But I’ve always felt ready intellectually to do this deeper, harder work. I just fail when we actually try! Because I get very defensive/defended and then go silent. Or we end up in a rupture!
Recognizing a pattern gives you the power to change your part in in. It also means having the ability -or learning how- to prioritize.
”Wasted” time
- Not answering fully & completely when asked how your week was, but narrow your focus to the most important part: “I’ve been looking forward to starting on XYZ!”
- If unwilling to shift focus off the present & alter the 30 minute chat ritual? Book 90 min or 2 hours sessions, or twice a week.
- Et Cetera

- Be willing to set aside your hurt & upset about whatever kerfluffle is currently up to bat, because the work is more important.
- If unwilling/unable to set it aside? For every session spent on your hurt & upset, book 2 sessions to make up for it, rather than continuing on like normal.
- Et Cetera

You may notice the first option is decision based, IE assuming you already have the ability to prioritise by making decisions about what’s most important to you, and following that up with action.

The second option highlights the desire to be able to, and accounts for needing to account for it, and make it “special”. Like a swear jar, and putting a dollar (or 5, or 20) in every time you swear. The extra sessions are expensive and time consuming, as you’ll be paying for & attending 3 sessions instead of 1

IE part of breaking a pattern isn’t just wanting to be doing things differently, (option 1) but also coming up with a backup plan (option 2) for if/when the pattern reasserts. That can look a whooooooole lotta ways. I used an increased time&money option for 2, because
- most people are short on either or both, so it would mean it would have to be reeeeeally important to you to make that push… & as such starts training the awareness & ability to prioritise whether you want to have a chat/row, or do the work
- it’s a “have your cake and eat it, too” method of a) getting what you want instead of a sidetrack existing in and of itself (work, sidetrack, work, sidetrack), which starts nullifying the avoidance aspect. As the ritual or rupture isn’t a break from the work. Instead? It only increases the amount of time you’ll be spending on the work

But that’s only 1 of dozens and dozens of ways to change your part in a pattern. (Hence The Et Cetera)

You already know the
- What Happened (chatting, silence, or a rupture)
- Why It Happened (habit, defensive, resistant, avoidance)
All you need is the
- At least 2 things you can do differently when it happens next time, (because there will always be a next time!)
- Ways to put things to rights (like not beating yourself up over it when you catch yourself in a pattern, methods to stay aware of the patterns, rewards, reality checks, anything else useful to you both in the now, and as you go through the process of changing how you do your side of things).
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I had a bit of a frustrating therapy session today, and would be grateful for any thoughts or insights...

T and I tend to go through bursts of time when we get stuck into some things that feel important/significant and build some momentum around them....and then it sort of peters out and gets left hanging...and then we just move on to something else. This is how it feels to me, anyway – she may see it very differently. But this is how I experience it (I have shared this with her before) and this is sort of where I find myself now.

I am back to feeling that therapy is pointless. Or that, at least, perhaps I should manage my expectations – dealing with here and now stresses and challenges seems to be ok...diving into trauma and then trying to actually...DO something useful about it to really shift things is where we seem to end up doing some promising stuff but then ending up just spinning our wheels...

So, today, I tried to pin her down a bit to what would be useful next steps and she mentions a piece of writing I did a year ago, and the idea from that piece that, during/as a result of an event when I was young, I feel incomplete...that I left a part of myself behind in that other place...and so there is a sense now of feeling incomplete. Because, when the event finished, my body got up and walked out the room and went home, and carried on with life, but I left a bit of myself back in that room, and that's still where she is...she is not here, now, with the rest of me. I don't know if that makes sense...it was a piece of writing...a story....but based on what happened....and leaving her there was a bit of a metaphor, which T seemed to latch on to and get quite excited about.

She said at the time (a year ago) that these pieces of writing seemed to be a turning point for me... Because of her response, I felt like we were onto something major, that we'd hit on something significant...and we spent a few sessions talking about it the writing and what emerged in the writing and it felt very focused and purposeful....and then, I'm not sure why but, as so often happens with us, we just sort of lost momentum with it and then it just got left and forgotten about as we must have just started talking about something else. Well, I didn't forget about it....I felt like it was out there, left hanging, nothing really resolved or completed about it....just loose ends floating around...

So, today, she mentions that piece of writing and says that, in her view, our work together now is to integrate (she may have said reintegrate) that split off part....to help that part (ie the younger me who experienced the event and dissociated and is now left in that other place) and to soothe her.

This idea of (re) integration has come up several times. I'm not anti the idea. I just never know how I/we are meant to do that. My T never outlines how we might do that/what's involved (whether I explicitly ask her or not) And then, we just never seem to do anything about it (as far as I'm aware) and I don't, therefore, make any progress on that front and so then it gets parked and then we're off talking about something else again.

On the one hand, I obviously don't expect to ask her how to integrate that part and for her to say 'these are the exact 7 steps we have to follow in the integrating parts manual' - I get that it is probably not an easy/straightforward answer/process! But, if she can't ever give me any kind of guidance around it, and if she doesn't then seem to approach sessions to guide me with that focus/that intent, I don't know how I am supposed to make progress with it/make it happen?!

I feel like, if a T identifies the important work now is that we work together to integrate a split off part...I feel like they must be able to know something about how to go about that?! But I'm not sure if I'm just wanting/asking for the impossible trying to understand this and find a way forward with it? I don't know if it is realistic of me to hope that my T could give me more guidance on it, so that I feel that I know what we're doing and feel confident that I can make more progress.

Does anyone have ideas/experiences to share about how you integrated a split off part to feel more whole again? Which then reduced some unwanted symptoms/behaviours etc. Either something you did with your T in therapy. Or something you did on your own. A useful book you read etc.

Thanks for reading and TIA for any thoughts.
Hi! I'm a therapist- I'm guessing your therapist doesn't have experience or training in this type of therapy. IFS is a perfect way to help you integrate. Attachment work as well. You can use visualization to connect with a part, what does it need, imagine inviting it back ect. You might want to find an IFS therapist or TIST as others mentioned Janina Fishers work. I don't think your T can take you to the next level. Good luck.
Interestingly I just asked this question somewhere else as I am seriously struggling with trying to connect with/reintegrate a part of me that holds all the trauma. I am very interested to read this thread! Thank you for asking the question
Not sure if anyone is still following this post or even if my thoughts will be relevant. Here goes anyway (!)

Parts that were dissociated from me were dissociated because I couldn't provide them with the safety that 'they' felt were necessary. My most prominent parts were all pre-verbal, so I couldn't talk to them. Which I have to admit, was a bit of a wrinkle. Some parts that seem grown enough to speak may be rooted farther back in time without us knowing it. Or perhaps they feel misunderstood - that that is the root of them. So 'they' shut down on communication altogether.

If one of my parts felt dissociated, I needed to find a way to show them safety. That I was safe for them, that I could create a safe environment. Scene and setting is important. Do you have a place that is 'safe' for the grown up you? Mine was my car. So I got out a picture of myself from around that age, stuck it in front of the stickshift, and drove around introducing my part to the world as I knew it. I took her shopping; bought her ice cream; admired a beautiful sky with her; had conversations with her - and let her get to know 'me'.

It think it was when I bought her a teddy bear and sat it in the front seat - I think that is when I had her. I took her to bed at night - at this point I didn't need the picture. I felt I had built a firm rapport with her - enough so that I could imagine her as a part of me. Connected by caring and concern and love. It was a while before this part of me was ready to bridge the gap of wounded part to a piece of me. Part of my history that she only knows the story to. I respect her - so young, so brutalized. I thanked her for taking that and offered to keep her safe, as her parents/foster parents never did.

As an aside, this is the part of me - if you read way back in my posts - who used to want to drive to nowhere and freeze in a ditch. She almost killed me a thousand times while she 'took me over'. How terrified she must have been at 2 years or less to want to lie in a ditch and die in the freezing cold. Alone. She won't be alone again.

Since integrating this part of myself, I have not had the urge to run and die in a ditch. Good thing for me. Good thing for both of us. Love is so much easier to manage in life than pain. She was in a lot of pain.
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