Letting go when a relationship is over
Get over a relationship
Relationship
    Engineering
Relationship
    Engineering

Letting Go of past relationships

<< Metaphor Therapy

Relationship Therapy Engineering

This transcript is from a session dealing with sexual dysfunction. Many people find it hard to accept that a relationship is over. They feel betrayed, hurt, unfairly punished. These feelings are traditionally associated with women, but men suffer from this just as much as women. Men can obsess over a failed relationship for years, allowing it to poison future relationships, and in extreme cases, stalking the woman and interfering in her life in the hope of reversing the situation. Of course, that is the exact opposite of what happens. This page is a transcript of a session to correct premature ejaculation that was mixed up with issues of rejection.

The girl in the pink dress

The client was a young man who was in a relationship but could not enjoy it because he was constantly thinking about a previous girl friend who had rejected him. His presenting problem was premature ejaculation and he was naturally distressed about this. It had only started in the current relationship. The first step in therapy was to remove the obsession with the old girl friend.

 

 

SESSION TRANSCRIPT

THERAPIST/CLIENT

COMMENTS

  ... introduction omitted....
I'd like you to think about this whole issue of the girl in New York and how you think about her... and how you felt about her .... and what your feelings are now.... I'd like you just to think about that and focus on it... and you don't have to think about any part of it... you can think of that and the issues that came from it and the issues you are having now.... and that's OK ... that's nothing to be concerned about... and I would like you to really really focus on the centre of that... the core of it ... and if any thoughts go through your mind about day to day things that's OK you can just kind of put them to one side, stack them up.... and just keep thinking about the core of that thing... about the centre... just focus on it and imagine what the whole thing is about... what it would look like... what it would feel like... what it means to you... that's good... FOCUSING EXERCISE
and just allow yourself to examine it from every side...and up and down... and back and forward... and become aware of the essence... of the issues... and when you are aware of the essence of that you will come to realize somehow... in some way that suits you...  
that that can become aware to you... and you will find that that represents to you maybe as a word, or maybe a phrase or a picture or a memory... or maybe it's just a feeling you have in your body somewhere.... that's associated with that... that really encapsulates the sense of the whole thing... the essence of it... and you'll know when it's right because it just feels right... and when you have that thing that represents it, I'd like you to tell me what it is...  
It's a person.  
It's a person.  
and what else about that person? Developing
It's the person... it's the girl from New York that I was talking about before.  
it's the girl from New York. And what does that person represent?  
I'm not sure. Unusable response
OK.  
And what does that person look like. Developing the image
What do you... about what’s she's wearing and that?  
Uhuh.  
She's wearing a pink dress.  
A pink dress.  
With her hair out.  
Her hair out...  
And what are your feelings about that person's image now. Look inside yourself. Seeking a kinaesthetic representation to develop
Is there a problem associated with that person?  
No. Unusable response
so what would you like to have happen to that person.  
I'm not sure. Unusable response
And that 'Not sure' is 'Not sure' like what? Metaphor Modelling attempt
Don't know. Unusable response
So there's a person in a pink dress with her hair out... and is there anything about that person in your mind that is significant? And what would you like to have happen to that person in the pink dress with her hair out? Developing
I would like to forget about her. TARGET STATE
You would like to forget about her.  
and if you forgot about her, what would happen then?  
Not sure. Unusable response
And would have to happen for you to forget about her?  
Don't know. Unusable response
OK. Too many unusable responses for metaphor modelling - Switch to Cognitive Modelling
I would like you to allow your mind to clear. Now think about that person, that girl from New York, with the pink dress and her hair out. Now what is that girl doing?  
She's smiling. Immediate usable response - is seeing a picture rather than feeling a feeling.
She's smiling.  
And what else is she doing? Developing
She is just standing there.  
And is there anyone else there?  
No.  
And can you make that picture of that girl a little larger? Testing Cognitive modelling ability
Uhuh. He can visualise OK.
And can you make it a little bigger still?  
Uhuh. Good size ability
And can you make that picture a little smaller, back to its original size?  
Yeah.  
And could you make it about half that size? Testing
Uhuh.  
And could you make it about a quarter of that size?  
Uhuh.  
And now put it back to its original size.  
Uhuh.  
Now that pink dress. Can you imagine making that pink dress blue? Testing colour ability
Uhuh.  
And could you imagine making that pink dress longer? Testing image alteration ability
Uhuh.  
And could you imagine taking that picture and putting it on its side? Testing visualisation skills
Uhuh.  
And could you imagine it rotating? Testing movement ability
Uhuh.  
And could you imagine that picture rotating, and shrinking and getting further away? Testing distancing
Uhuh.  
And could you imagine that picture rotating, and shrinking and getting so far away it just becomes a tiny dot?  
Uhuh. This guy is a star!
And can you imagine that picture coming back... and she is standing there.... and can you imagine putting a frame around that picture as if it was an oil painting or something like that? Beginning VISUALIZATION ENGINEERING EXERCISE
Uhuh.  
What colour is that frame? Testing he has done it
Brown.  
And if you were to reach out your hand and run it down the frame what would it feel like? Testing kinaesthetic response
It's got some curves on it. It curves inward. Excellent - is experiencing it.
That's good. Now could you imagine that frame is around that person, and can you imagine that picture getting darker and darker until it is just black. Changing significant aspects
Uhuh.  
And can you imagine that frame shrinking down and shrinking and shrinking as the picture inside it is dark... black... imagine it shrinking down until it is the size of a postcard... Changing significant aspects
Yes.  
That's good. Now can you imagine it shrinking down further until it is the size of a postage stamp? Changing significant aspects
Uhuh.  
And can you imagine stretching your hand out and wrapping it around that postage stamp? That black thing...and just throwing it over your shoulder. Suggesting getting rid of the image
Uhuh.  
And as you throw it over your shoulder... and as you do you can watch it bounce away... and as it bounces the frame cracks... disintegrates and falls apart.... and the picture begins to crack and disintegrate and fall apart.... and the picture breaks up more and more as it rolls and bounces... until there is only fragments... and those fragments get smaller and smaller.... until they are like dust... tiny, tiny black specks... and the wind comes along and picks up the dust .. and blows it all over the countryside... and those little specks get distributed everywhere.... until they are gone... and that picture can never be made again, can it? Visualising destroying the image
No  
It's gone forever. CONFIRM BELIEF
Uhuh.  
And how do you feel about that now? TESTING FOR TARGET STATE
Good. STATE ACHIEVED!
That's good.  
And when you think about that girl in New York, a long time ago, I would like you to go through all the images you have, all the pictures, all the times... and I would like you to go through each of them, and just imagine that you are going to put them into an album somewhere... and you take each picture and you look at it once... and you shrink it down until it is tiny.... and you put it into an album, safely... and you cover it up, with some plastic maybe... and you take the next image and you do that... and you shrink it down... you tear it away from wherever it is now...and you put it into the album... and I wonder if maybe you saved stamps when you were a boy? Now to get rid of any other images that he might be holding...
and you can have your own little album... Suggesting metaphor
[shakes head]  
Or maybe you had a friend who saved stamps... and stuffed them in an album... and you can take all those images... all those pictures... all the memories and the feelings.... and every one of them can be shrunk down.... and stuck in an album... and when one page is full you can turn it over... and start filling the next page up... Whoops! not a stamp collector.... recover
maybe like a photograph album.... only very small.... and there can be dozens of pictures on the one page, maybe hundreds... and as you turn each page you can forget all those images.... Start developing a different metaphor, photo album...
you can just let go of them... and they will be there forever... if you ever need them again... and each of those images you put onto the page.... little glowing...like jewels... those images and feelings.... and as you close each page... they become still pictures.... and they become silent.... and as you flip over each page... you break the connection to those pictures... and eventually put all of the memories.... all of the images... into that album... and you close it firmly.... and it has a little lock on it... and you snap it down and it is locked... and all of those images are safely inside that album.... and that album has a dark cover and dark pages.... and as you watch the whole album begins to get darker and darker...and the pictures get darker and darker.... until if you were to open that page again.... you wouldn't be able to see those images because they would be exactly the same colour as the page... Suggestions of letting go, closing, then using his visualising skills of darkening, shrinking, becoming silent, disappearing
And I wonder if you can imagine taking that album and putting it away somewhere... in a place where you could leave it... and it would stay there safely for a long time... and you can imagine putting it in that place.... and then that place.... moving away... far away from you... Metaphorically disposing of the images...
And just allow your mind to do that.... Time for him to process it
And when you think of that girl in New York, what do you think of now? TESTING TARGET STATE
I feel kind of neutral towards it. CONFIRMATION
You feel kind of neutral  
Mmmm.  
And that's a good thing... isn't it? TESTING for secondary gain/loss
yeah. None
And any time you think about that girl... whatever image comes up... you will automatically shrink it and darken it.... and imagine locking it away.... and pushing it far off to some place where it can be stored.... Post Hypnotic Suggestion
and all those connections are gone now.... and you don't have to think about that any more... you can move on Post Hypnotic Suggestion

 

 

In this case the client did not respond to the Focusing Exercise as intended, and gave very unhelpful responses to attempts to access his feelings. The metaphor modelling session was quickly abandoned and a switch was made to visualisation. It turned out that this client was able to visualise easily and fully. As soon as it was clear that he could make mental images easily the session switched to Cognitive Modelling and successfully cleared his problem.

 

Talking to the client the following week confirmed that the obsession had gone, he hadn't even thought about the girl all week, and we were ready to tackle the sexual dysfunction issue.