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1. Identify the problem
Therapist: If I were accompanying you on a day (or week, or month) in your life, where and when would I see this problem occur?
When did it happen recently where it was really disturbing?
And then what did he do?
And what did you notice going on inside your body?
What were you aware of thinking then?

2. Identify and somatically locate the neglected self
Fill in the following statement: If only I didn't do or experience (or could get rid of) X, then this wouldn't be a problem.
When the problem is present, where in your body do you most feel its center of disturbance (or discomfort)?"
If you were to let a number come to mind that represents an age for that (feeling) in your (identified somatic location), what number do you become aware of?

Therapist: Well, if I'm hearing you correctly, you're saying that when the problem develops, one of the things that happens is you get an intense unpleasant feeling centered in your body that doesn't feel like it's coming from you or even belongs to you. It doesn't feel like normal, everyday self is connected to the feeling. It's coming from someplace other than your regular sense of self. Is that right?

And if I'm hearing correctly, it seems that one of the most disturbing things is that when that feeling develops, somehow it feels like you disappear or disconnect and feel out of control, is that right?

So I guess an important question is this: if that response isn't coming from your normal self, who is it and where is it coming from? There's obviously a lot of ways of talking and thinking about it, and certainly the more traditional way is to think of that experience that comes from deep inside of you as an "it" that has no meaning, that should be ignored or destroyed or gotten rid of.... I don't know who taught you that way of thinking about your experience ... but it seems, if I'm hearing you correctly, that you've tried many times and it hasn't worked ... the bad feelings keep coming back over and over, more and more... so perhaps it might be helpful---not more true, but more helpful---to consider that the feeling belongs to him.... to another aspect of you that is listening even right now.... He has his own feelings, his own thoughts and images, his own way of listening..... He's been ignored for a long time.... Others may have tried to get rid of him, to curse him, to ignore him, to hurt him.... but it didn't work: he's alive and he's here.... and the great thing is that it doesn't seem like you're able to deny him any longer...

3. Activate and locate the cognitive self
Therapist: So he is (neglecled self's age) ... and by the way, how old are you?
Yes, you. He's (neglected self's age) (pointing to the clients stomach), but you--the you looking at me from behind your eyes, you're regular self, how are you?
Yes...Yes, I can see that you are a (present age) man.... and by the way, can you tell me what's the best thing about being (present age) compared to (neglected self's age)?

4. Identify and differentiate from negative sponsorship
T: As we're talking about your experience, I'm wondering who else is talking to you about your experience.
C: What?
T: Who else is talking to you right now?
C: What are you talking about?
T: Well, it seems that as we were talking, you began to touch upon some important experience.... you started to look a little sad and tender ... and then something seemed to happen. I don't know what you felt inside, but from outside it looked like something inside of you shut down and had to go away.
Well, yeah...I shouldn't feel that way...
T: Yeah, that's right...those guys...the ones who are telling you that you shouldn't feel that way.
C: What do you mean, those guys?
T: Well, where did you ever get the idea that those are your voices?
C: Well, who else could they be?
T: Well, maybe you're possessed by aliens. I'm afraid so...My professional opinion is that you're possessed by aliens...I'm only half kidding, because it seemed like when we we're just talking, all of a sudden you weren't quite present. It seemed like some other presence came and you had to leave, to withdraw, to go away. Did you feel that?
C: Yes....I felt shame and self-hatred.
T: Yes, I saw that. Are you aware of what those voices (or ideas) are saying about you then, or even right now?
C: They"re saying it was my fault.
T: That it's your fault....Well, what I'm suggesting is that perhaps one of the worst applications of capitalism to psychological experience is the idea that all the voices that move through you belong to you. One of the most helpful things about practices like hypnosis and meditation is that they allow you to really study study those voices. You find that some support you....they allow you to be more present, they allow your experience to be accepted and expressed. I would call those your voices.
Other voices, you may find, make you go away. When they come, you have to leave. You feel smaller, less alive, unloved, and guilty. So the question is, Are they really your voices? Do they really represent you? You could say they're your voices. But it sure doesn't seem like it to me. I think you're possessed by aliens...I'm partly kidding, of course, because it's hard to deal with your life without at least a little bit of humor....but I'm also quite serious in suggesting that whatever happened to you, you got invaded by some stuff that told you you didn't deserve to live or show your true self. I think they're alienating you from your self. If you are possessed by aliens, there's a way out.
C: What's that?
T: Letting your own presence touch and reconnect with that otherself inside of you... that other self that is present and listening even now...that part of you that was wounded and had to be abandoned...but who is listening right now.... Because when the relationship between you and him (the neglected self) is disconnected or abused, a break in relationship occurs--the elevators stop going up and down, you're no longer playing with a full deck--and the aliens come. But there are other times when you feel that good connection between the cognitive stuff in the head and the feeling stuff in your belly--the elevators are going up and down. Every time it seems like tne negative sponsors are "kicking in," the client might make a beeping sound, announcing something like, "Alert. Alert. Alert. Aliens approaching. Aliens approaching. On the lookout, humans, aliens approaching to negate self-worth...."

5. Connect cognitive self and (neglected) somatic self
T: Do you think it would be helpful if when he (the neglected self) experiences that fear, he could feel your presence and support?
C: No! No way. He doesn't deserve any recognition. He should just get over it and grow up.
T: Hmmm...Do you have children?
C: No
T: Do you know any kids that you really like?
C: Yeah, I have a little eight-year-old niece?
T: A little niece. What's her name?
C: Arianna.
T: Arianna...Do you like spending with Arianna?
C: Yeah, a lot.
T: Well, I'm wondering...if you were around when Arianna was scared about something or another---because if you're around a person, they're going to get scared at some point--what would you say? What would you do? Would you punish her?
C: No, of couse not.
T: Why not?
C: Well, she doesn't deserve it.
T: Yes, I see that you wouldn't punish her....Would you yell at her and tell her she's a bad person.
C: No, of course not.
T: Yes, I see that you wouldn't do that. What would you do?
C: Well, probably just let her know that it was all right, that everything was going to be okay.
T: Yes, I can see that...How about if it was some other kid? Would you do the same thing?
C: Yes.
T: Yes, I can see that. That you feel that no person deserves violence or neglect, and that each person deserves respect and attention. So I guess the important question is...The feeling you're having right now says that you are...the feeling that is coming from deep inside you, the presence that's listening from deep inside of you, is awakening...Now I know that different people in your life rejected him, told him he wasn't important or even he didn't exist, but he didn't go away...He's still here, and he's listening now...Sometimes he's scared, and sometimes he's happy...Sometimes he's shy, and sometimes he's outgoing...he's going to be a lot of different things, a lot of different ways...The real question can you be with him?

NOTE: The above excerpts from Stephen Gilligan's book The Courage to Love's basic prototype of self-relations psychotherapy showed that specific descriptions of the problem reveal three difficulties: (1) the cognitive self (based in the head and making meanings, plans, social understandings, and other intellectual formulations) is dissociated or otherwise disconnected; (2) the somatic self (that lives in the body, connected to the river of life and all its archetypal patterns, feelings, and experiences) is "neglected" and "out of control" ; and (3) negative sponsors are attacking with self-alienating ideas. Self-relations thus works to reactivate and maintain the presence and competencies of the cognitive self, accept and integrate the neglected experiences of the somatic self, and identify and differentiate from negative sponsors

For the holistic healing of body, mind, emotions and spirit, psychotherapy should be combined with the John Gray's feeling letter technique rituals and the meditative practices such as breathing awareness and muscle relaxation, centering attention, chanting, opening attention, cleansing the doors of perception, circulating the energy around the body's energy centers, Meditation on Twin Hearts, healing by prayers and affirmations covered in Gilligan's psychotherapy book and Master Choa Kok Sui's books on pranic healing. I recommend that these practices should be facilitated by a certified counsellor and an advanced yoga practitioner and Qi gong master or advanced pranic healer for safety reasons and avoidance of aggravations of emotional symptoms and post kundalini syndromes.

Last Update September 15, 1999

Prepared by Ricardo B. Serrano, DAc, MH, ADS