CLIENT SESSION TRANSCRIPT: SELF-SABOTAGE, SHAME, AND WORK RELATIONSHIPS

Below is a section of a client session (shared with permission). The client had just had a very difficult work experience with her supervisor. We started with the emotions she was feeling and what triggers the event brought up for her. Most sessions include an exploration of what is happening at a sub-conscious as well as conscious level. The client was able to connect with the internal parts of her driving how the event played out and how she treated herself afterwards, as well as begin to resolve some childhood trauma with a passed loved one.

Me: How are you feeling?

Client: Like my body weighs a million pounds. It’s depression and a lot of self loathing, beating up on myself for something I did at work last night.

Me: What happened?

Client: I walked into my shift so happy to be seeing everyone again after several days and within minutes got triggered by something my boss did and lashed out with a really passive aggressive comment.

I instantly regretted it and felt this wash of shame cover me and it just got worse all night. I tried to make up for it by saying super nice things, but when I left I cried and screamed at myself in the car the whole way home. I’m so mad at myself for jeopardizing a really great job over something so dumb.

Me: Can we do some digging and figure out what triggered you and why you reacted this way?

Client: Ya I don’t ever want to experience that again. I want to fix this.

Me: OK great so let’s start with the part of you that took over when you got triggered- can you find it in your body?

Client: It’s on my right side of my chest.

Me: And what was its reasoning if you ask it for lashing out?

Client: It says “My boss doesn’t respect me or care about me”

Me: Does this part feel like a protector?

Client: Yes but it doesn’t understand being passive aggressive is not the best way. It just made things worse for me.

Me: Ok, can you let this part know that. Let it know you understand why it acted that way but that you have better tools for communication.

Client: Ok it’s calming down now a bit. I let it know my boss wasn’t intentionally doing anything to personally attack me. She probably didn’t have a clue I’d be offended.

Me: Let’s go now to the part that has been beating you up for what was said, where is that part and why has it been so nasty to you?

Client: That part is on the opposite side of my chest. She’s mad because she works really hard to manage- to keep the peace with other people. She wants people to like   me. She’s really mad at the protector for screwing up all her work. She kept yelling at me "why did you have to do that?" last night over and over.

Me: Ok let’s call them Protector and Pleaser so we can differentiate. I want you to put them in a space or room together and ask them how old they think you are.

Client: (surprised look) They both think I’m about 8-10 years old.

Me: Ok, I want you to show them who you are now. Your real age and what you look like. Help them to understand that you are not a child and again have better tools to connect with people and navigate relationships. Let them know that you understand their motivations and why they’ve taken on the roles they have. Show them compassion and thank them for all they’ve done for you, but let them know it’s time for a job description upgrade.

Client: They are both ok with that and seem happy I’m acknowledging them. They both want to shift to helping me connect to people in more authentic ways. Without masks and barriers.

Me: Ok great. Let them know they can do that now. How are things feeling inside now?

Client: Good. There is another part asking for attention now.

Me: What does it feel like?

Client: 8 year old me. The one they thought I was.

Me: Ok let’s go to the young girl and see what she needed.

Client: It’s when my grandma on dad’s side came to visit. Younger me felt really not good enough by her. My grandma was really bossy and pushy and it made me want to rebel and I just didn’t like her and felt like she definitely didn’t like me. Like she hated me.

Me: What do you want the little girl to know? What did she need to hear that she didn’t?

Client: I’m telling her that she doesn’t have to worry about that mean old lady. I’m showing her Mom and Moms Mom who both love her even when she acts up. They love her unconditionally. And I do too.

All of us are surrounding her in a circle so she sees how much love she has being exactly who she is.

Me: Amazing.. and how is the little girl responding?

Client: She laughed when I said mean old lady and she’s really happy to realize how many older women she has that do love her… I just felt my Dads mom drop in.

Me: Like her spirit?

Client: Yes. She says now that she’s dead she loves me too! (Crying) I feel her surrounded in a blue light. She wants me to know that’s how she’ll recognize me. She wants me to sit in that light to heal.

Me: Ok amazing. Do that then for as long as it feels right.

Client: Ok wow wasn’t expecting that. (Crying).

Me: Does the little girl need anything else?

Client: No she’s happy. She wants to go play on the sun outside in the backyard.

Me: Great. Tell her to do that and that you are always here when she needs.

Client: Ok. She’s jumping on the trampoline now. Just being a happy kid.

Me: Are you feeling complete now?

Client: Yes. I feel good. Tired. This has been an emotional ride. Think I need a nap and to process all this.

Me: perfect that’s a good idea. Let’s do a quick energy boost meditation as well before you go and then we can talk more about how to prepare for going back to your next day at work so you feel safe and comfortable to return to your next shift.