mardi 13 mars 2012

Un pont entre la thérapie et la spiritualité, Tom Holmes parle d'IFS

Tom Holmes

Tom Holmes est l'auteur d'un livre illustré sur l'approche des thérapies basées sur la multiplicité de nos parties.
Voir la photo de ce beau livre en bas de l'article..
Voila quelques mots de Tom (pour ceux qui lisent l'anglais, c'est passionnant !..)

"With my introduction to Richard Schwartz's Internal Family Systems model (Schwartz 1987), I had found a bridge between spirituality and psychotherapy whether I was ready for it or not."
At the same time, however, I felt that as therapists we were missing a powerful force in healing by not engaging the client's spiritual life.
My first attempt to bridge the two worlds had occurred fifteen years ago while I was doing my doctoral internship. I had a client who had both seemingly intractable psychological problems and grave religious doubts. Having drifted away from any religious life myself years earlier, I was puzzled as to how I might work with the deep religious struggle this client brought into my office. Somehow a flyer announcing a "Spirituality and Counseling" workshop lead by a man with a name I couldn't pronounce (Pir Vilayat Inayat Khan) appeared on the office bulletin board. I decided to give it a try. The workshop was presented by a teacher of a universalist mystical tradition, the Sufi Order of the West. Without going into details I will only say that this workshop provided me with a spiritual framework, one which could hold the complexity of my world view while at the same time allow me to experience a personal spiritual opening.
I carried back with me a belief that my client needed to reconnect to her spiritual life in order to break through her impasse. This client "Joan" had the perfect symptoms for dramatic healing; psoriasis had covered her body with sores for years. Within weeks after we began to work through her spiritual conflicts, her anxiety reduced and her sores began to disappear; after six weeks they were totally gone. For years I looked back at this event and asked myself what happened that changed this person's life so powerfully. This experience remained an isolated event in my clinical practice. I continued in my secular psychotherapy practice and didn't have many clients who presented with spiritual issues, so I didn't make it part of the process. It wasn't until I was working with clients using Schwartz's Internal Family Systems model several years ago, that I was confronted again with the power of a person's spiritual life in his/her own healing.
The Internal Family Systems Model
Schwartz's model emerged out of an attempt to apply family systems principles to the individual system of a bulimic client who would not change even though the family system had been reorganized. Schwartz found that people consist of a multiplicity of subpersonalities that operated with each other very much as a family system and that the same principles which worked with families were applicable to the internal family of subpersonalities.
In addition to the different subpersonalities or "parts" of the person, Schwartz found what he has termed the "Self," which is a different level of entity. The Self is the center of the person, the place from which one observes. According to Schwartz "The Self can and should lead the person's system. The Self has a "meta" or systemic perspective that permits this leadership." (Schwartz, 1988, p.62).
The first goal of the therapist is to help the clients to differentiate the Self from the parts so their Self can take a leadership role, much as a therapist might help the parents get back in charge of a family where the children had taken over. 
The therapeutic work focuses on bringing balance back into the system. This involves working with polarizations and helping the various "parts" find their preferred valuable role in the internal system.
An aspect of the work that is most powerful and innovative is the process of internal dialogues with the various aspects of the internal system. The IFS therapist requests that the person identify the parts of himself/herself activated by the problem situation. Often the client can picture the part and is able to begin an inner dialogue.
In working with clients who have experienced childhood trauma, a frequent component of the work has to do with retrieving child parts of the person who are trapped in the past memories and experiences (Schwartz, 1992). This is done after the person has stabilized their current inner system of parts and the Self is in a position of leadership in the system. [....]
In order to differentiate the Self again, I suggested that she might, in her mind, place these parts in a room that was separate from her. The parts went into the room, though with some reluctance. At that point a different image emerged, a transparent form moving back and forth across her chest. My co-therapist Nancy asked if this part had a name? The following sequence occurred:
Client, Jan: Yes (Pause)
"Window"...and then .."Window to your soul"......"

(Quotes signify the clients directly quoting a voice speaking to her in the inner dialogue)
Client: I don't see anything but the light.
Nancy: Does the light have a voice?
Client: Yes, it says "it's time you asked"
(Pause)
Client: In explanation: The voice was talking about the child who saw the sexual act. The information it gave me is that we looked at that, and there is a truth in that..but not to get tied up in that......It is not necessary to go back into it..
(Pause)
Client: I double checked that, because I don't want to cop out.
Yes, it says:
"You can go back if you want, but it won't get you anywhere other than where you are now "...."What is, is what is" The phrase "Trust yourself. It is time to move on."
(Pause)
Client: ....Then it said: "You are a power unto yourself...no need to be afraid"
(Long silence ...voice filled with emotion)
Client: It's a... It is almost like looking up and seeing God... It is just rushing down...Kind of piped or coming right down into me.
Nancy: How does it feel?
Client: .....It is very moving.......I can't believe it is happening ... it touched me...
This is the God in us?........
(Silence)
Tom: .... From that place with those feelings .. can you visit the other parts?
(The parts she had been working with earlier in the session and had imagined placing in a room)
Client: When I brought that focus back to them... They were all talking quietly..When I came into the room they fell silent..It was like.. they were in awe...the word power comes to mind
But they were not fearful...
A voice says..... "She knows the truth".
(crying)
Client: Voice from somewhere...it must be the voice of God?
(Pause)
Client: It is saying... All the answers are within me....and I am truly a magnificent creature.
(Pause, filled with emotion)
I am feeling a lot of love and peace... And the voice keeps saying .."It is okay. Just keep feeling that" I'm just feeling a little overwhelmed now......
(Pause)
Client: The word trust keeps coming.. and the loving ...It's just....Stay in the loving ... in the lovingness...feel that and live your life from that. That's all I figured out...That is the answer and key to everything...............
Tom: Anything any part wants to say at this point?
Client: The compassion self just said, " thank you.." Reached up and touched me on the forehead. and said thank you...there was a real peace and lovingness."
Clinical Implications
So what does a rational, objective therapist make of a client having an epiphany in the mental health clinic office? The client made considerable gains in her personal integration during subsequent sessions. She gradually moved out of a very destructive relationship she had been in for years and began to form new and more balanced relationships. But what was this power she seemed to connect with in the sessions? How should we be working together with this power in order to optimize its healing and guiding capacities? Would other clients have similar experiences if we encouraged them to experience these kinds of connections?
Discussion and Conclusions
I must say frankly that I don't fully know how to understand these experiences. If I take an "objective" stance, I see that these clients seem to have connected to a place in themselves where they can retell the story of life's traumas in a way that allows them to heal from their wounds. Somehow they are able to find an image within themselves that activates a deep and compassionate state from which they are able to find both guidance and wisdom on a level that I as therapist can not approach. Given this situation it seems that one of our most important roles is assisting clients in connecting to those places of great healing and wisdom within themselves and that while they need a skilled therapist guiding the process, insight, knowledge and direction can come from the clients themselves. Many people experience this wisdom and guidance as coming from the state that Schwartz calls the Self. For some people, however, it often seems to come from connections to sources of spiritual guidance perceived as separate from themselves, such as a "window to the soul," an image of Jesus, or from something less clear such as a white light.
So how does this all fit with systems theory and systemic therapy? It appears to me that conceptualizing the individual as a system rather than a monolithic structure opens up the possibility of getting more directly in touch with our clients' spiritual natures. Interestingly Schwartz's model and other literature on the multiplicity of the inner system such as Rowan (1990), Satir (1978), Stone and Winkelman (1989), have some close parallels to traditional and current Buddhist thought.

A suivre....
Le site web de Tom. Tom anime des séminaires en europe; à savoir à Fribourg en Allemagne, tout à côté de chez ma soeur (!). http://www.wingedheart.org/index.htm

Le livre de Tom Holmes, en réédition


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