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Of two minds? How the Romans and Roald Dahl can help you in 2015!

Posted by Rachael Armstrong on Wednesday 7th January 2015

“ Part of me wants to do … but then another part of me wants to do”

Oh the tug-of-war going on inside us, something we all often experience. It reminds me of Roald Dahl’s poem ‘The Tummy Beast’, in which a child tries to convince his mother that a greedy beast which lives in his tummy is demanding food so makes him eat, even when he doesn’t want to. A younger me read the poem and thought this an ingenious ruse to persuade my own mum that a gluttonous intruder was the cause of me guzzling sweet stuff… which failed on several occasions and resulted in having my pocket money docked.

If you have an unwanted habit or behaviour, it may often seem as if it is someone, or something else, inside of you that is making you do this. A “little voice” that always tells you to do something when you don’t want to do it. On the one hand, you have told yourself to stop’, but that is not working because what you are doing is not really you causing it, as you may feel out of control of their own actions.

It is not a case of invasion of the body snatchers, when it seems you are in two minds about whether to”. That little voice is part of you and is part of your protection system, as I will explain below. Hypnotherapy offers effective techniques to resolve this inner conflict to then be free to make the changes you are seeking.

The approach is known as Parts Therapy, which is based on the concept that our personality is composed of a number of various parts, which are all aspects of the unconscious (subconscious) mind, each with its own viewpoint and qualities.

Imagine what happens when two of these parts clash and each demand opposing behaviours from us – yes inner conflict ensues! This is often at a level below our awareness, which is why sometimes if you rely on conscious willpower alone things can start to get difficult, such as sustaining changes that a 'part of us’ really wants. Another part can be piping-up and sabotaging our progress!

Examples of some common conflicts include: the adult self versus the child inside; the responsible part versus the impulsive one; and the hard worker versus the slacker!

If you have encountered this clash of unconscious wills then Parts Therapy could be the ideal approach for you! Using Parts Therapy, a hypnotherapist can act as a mediator to help clients resolve these inner conflicts. There are some highly effective approaches to assist you to accept and live with these internal differences, without necessarily getting rid of any one part or trait.

This is not a Good Cop, Bad Cop, interrogation routine! A therapist will use specialist techniques to talk to that part, or parts, of the unconscious mind which want to prevent the change, along with talking to the part motivating the client to improve their life. The process resembles mediation, in that the facilitator asks the right questions in order to help the parts resolve their own differences. Rather than several people being around the table, it is the various parts that make-up the individual who attend ‘the meeting’ to discuss the matter until the parts have terms of agreement. Typically this might be “Part B agrees to stop the problem behaviour when Part A has started doing a 'new behaviour'”.

Finally, January is named after the two-faced Roman god Janus. One looks back to the past, and one looks forward to the future. He is a man who may well have been in two minds about things! Janus is the ancient god of beginnings and new transitions, and January is often considered the month for change given New Year’s resolutions. While many of those often fail, this doesn’t have to be the case. People often fail because they try to rely on just willpower and then things get a bit difficult, maybe due to inner conflicts like those mentioned above. So maybe 2015 is time to get some inner agreement and take things forward!

So as we turn to face 2015, I wish you a happy and fulfilling year ahead.

Rachael x

If you would like to know more about how hypnotherapy, and / or Parts Therapy could help you, get in touch.

For more details: The late Charles Tebbetts originally pioneered parts therapy during the 1960s and 1970s. Before his passing, Tebbetts, asked Roy Hunter to continue his work.