Claire said, “I think I need to do some work on my Inner Team, because one of them is really nasty, and destructive”.
She was obviously distressed by this – understandably, as it was now not only “talking negatively” in her head, but had started taking the added form of nightmares. So I first explained that New Oceans underpins everything with the NLP Presuppositions; and foremost of these, in Inner Teams work, is ‘Behind every action is a positive intention or purpose’…… which immediately makes clear that there can be NO intentionally nasty or destructive Inner Team parts – they ALL have positive purpose driving them: and unlike other people out there in ‘the territory’, to whose positive intent for themselves we often react badly, all purposes of your Inner Team members are for you…… because they ARE you!
However, they sometimes express their intentions in ways that are less than empowering, perhaps even painful, for us: but if we don’t communicate with them, how can they know? Which is why, for example, John Grinder’s 6-Step Reframe is an amazingly useful process.
I explained all this to Claire; and she admitted that she had got so used to the ‘voices’ in her head, she only communicated with them by eventually yelling “Shut up!” – which hadn’t really made any difference!
“Well that’s not exactly what I had in mind,” I said: “I mean really communicating – getting to know a particular Team member, finding out which part of you it looks after, what its VAK preference is, what its metaprograms are……. ”
She looked surprised. “Surely they’re the same as mine?”
“No – not only not like YOURS – not even like each others’,” I told her. “Each has its own map of you their ‘territory’. So be open to them also having differing ways of communicating with you. Some may ‘talk’ in your head. Others, who are visual, will give you images, colours. The kinesthetic Inner Team members will give you feelings, perhaps in different parts of your body according to whether they are ‘saying’ “Yes” or “No”.
These V, and K, members must be calibrated so you understand their ‘language’.
Now, let’s go back to the voice you used to think was nasty and destructive. What kind of things did it say?” “Oh, things like ‘You’ll never do……. ‘, and ‘Get on with it, don’t be so lazy!’
“And the nightmare that had upset you?”
“I was holding this slippery fish. The voice told me to kill it. I hated having to do it, but I whacked it with a knife. It still wasn’t dead, and I was told to do it again, so I did. But it was nasty and destructive, no matter how I try to reframe it. Even you couldn’t!”
“Well, let’s see……. You’re holding a fish – a good catch, potentially food. Before it can be yours certain processes must happen, the ones we don’t usually do ourselves:- our meat is killed and presented to us neatly ‘un-creature’ looking; our fish is killed and cleaned, filleted and portioned.
So perhaps the fish in your dream is potentially something – maybe an opportunity – that could ‘feed’ you? And not only did you NOT throw it back in the water ( perhaps because you recognised it as something you really want ), you also took responsibility for the actions necessary for it to realise its ‘feeding’ potential…..changing state – which is what death is.
Even though our conscious forgets many things, our unconscious remembers – i.e. stores – everything. The ‘unconscious’ is the collective noun, if you like, for Inner Teams, it is the energy which supports them. So they have experienced everything we have experienced.
I firmly believe that there are issues we ‘push to the back of our mind’ when we aren’t ready to deal with them. When our Inner Team members think we can, they ‘prod’ us, in whichever modality they prefer. If we continue to ignore them, they use increasingly forceful methods, and usually not in our preferred modality.
There is a saying “If we do not listen to the whispers, we will have to listen to the shouts”. I have found this to be exactly the case with our Inner Team parts’ ways of communicating with us.”
Claire looked thoughtful. Then she said, “So many people who know me have told me they have always taken it for granted that I would become a teacher. And it’s a career change I really want. Yet I’ve been putting obstacles in my own way; I suppose I thought it would be too ‘messy’ to make the change. But perhaps………?”
“Talk to that voice; get to know her (or ‘him’ – yes, be open to that too!) Ask what is the positive purpose of what they’ve been communicating. Tell them that you’re now going to be working with them. Ask if they’d therefore be willing to take on a behaviour less stressful to you.
Then ask your creative Inner Team member if they’d be willing to come up with some new behaviours which would be more acceptable to you, while still honouring the positive purpose of the first Inner Team part. Ask them if they’ll work together; and at each stage when you get agreement, remember to thank them.
THIS IS REALLY IMPORTANT………it isn’t ‘twee’ – it’s pacing yourself and them, before leading them to work together. It’s also honouring your own map, just as pace pace leading another person honours theirs.
Remember too, you do not have to consciously know what the new behaviours are. Also always do an ecology check, to make sure ALL Inner Team members are happy with the new arrangement.
The two most important outcomes in Inner Team work are:-
- Congruence between you and them.
- Congruence between the Inner Team members themselves.
And the vital ingredients for both are communication and rapport.