If you ever find yourself saying “I know I shouldn’t feel/act this way, but I do,” then you have a disconnect between what you know consciously, and what you believe deep down. When you’re stressed, the things you believe deep down tend to win out and drive your feelings and behaviors. Memory reconsolidation is the neurological mechanism that can change your deep-down beliefs, so that it gets easier to feel and act the way you want to. I offer two parts-based methods for memory reconsolidation:
In IFS, transformational change happens as a result of asking parts if they have beliefs they want to release and then guiding them through the release process. For instance, a part may choose to release the belief “I’m not good enough” by letting the ocean wash it away in your mind’s eye. (Methods without visual imagery are fine, too!)
A benefit of this style is that it’s very clear when the transformation is happening, and we can ask the part if it fully released the belief to make sure the process is complete.
The IFS Institute’s official stance is that practitioners shouldn’t facilitate unburdenings without having taken their in-house training, but demand for the training far exceeds supply. Many IFS Institute-certified practitioners have stepped in to fill the gap with independent trainings. Having taken such trainings and practiced extensively, I feel confident that I facilitate unburdenings safely and effectively, but the most important thing is that you feel comfortable.
The risk of unburdening is that other parts of you may object to the change. For instance, one part of you may feel that the unburdening makes you too vulnerable, and reach for a coping mechanism that you use when you feel exposed. Of course, I only proceed with unburdening after checking for consent from all parts of you, so I don’t expect backlash, but I mention it for full informed consent.
In Aletheia coaching, transformational change is viewed as a natural development, like a leaf unfurling as a plant grows. Rather than asking a part to do something, we bring you deeper into your Presence. This can bring about memory reconsolidation because experiencing your own accepting, compassionate Presence tends to disconfirm your negative self-beliefs. This style was developed especially for coaching, and never asks for change, merely allows it, so it may be lower risk.
Transforming in our sessions
If/when we come to a point in coaching when an unburdening is possible, I’ll give you the option to choose between unburdening, unfolding, or neither. You’re welcome to leave it up to me if you’re unsure, and I’ll follow my intuition in the moment. But you always have the right to choose.