Resource Description

This hand-out is a more evolved and updated version of the 1998 hand-out on the client's internal conflict. There is a more comprehensive and complicated version which relates this conflict to the window of tolerance. There are many ways to language and conceptualise the client’s internal conflict (Freud’s Id-Ego-Superego, TA’s Child-Adult-Parent, object relations theory, sub-personalities etc.), and over the years I have tried to find a formulation which speaks to therapists from across the traditions, helping us towards an integrative appreciation of the vicissitudes inherent in the therapeutic position vis-a-vis not a monolithic individual [remembering that the word 'individual’ literally means undivided], but systematically opposed and conflicting parts or polarities. The best and most generic formulation I have been able to find is to conceptualise the client’s internal conflict as occurring between their 'habitual mode' and their 'emergency' [rooted in the early Gestalt formulation of the conflict between 'acute high-level emergency' and 'chronic low-level emergency'].

 

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