Saturday, February 13, 2016

Changing the Mind, Healing the Body: Eight Case Studies in Transformational Belief-Change Therapy, by Elly Roselle. Ugly Duckling Editions, 2005

The therapy used in these case studies is Core Belief Engineering, a system developed by the author. In it, the therapist speaks with different parts of the client’s psyche; not the Id, Ego, and Superego of Freudianism, nor the archetypes of Jungian therapy, but parts that have evolved, starting in the client’s childhood. They are unique to each patient, both in form and name; for instance, at age 3 the client may have been abused by someone and a piece of their personality breaks off and is the only part of the psyche that deals with abuse issues; it does what it feels will protect the person. If you’ve ever read anything about Multiple Personality Disorder (these days called Dissociative Identity Disorder), it sounds a lot like that, except that these ‘parts’ don’t take over the body and run it with the other parts unaware of it- no losing time, no Three Faces of Eve. The person is functional and always knows what they are doing- they just don’t know *why* they are doing it.

Roselle maintains that many physical ailments are created by personality parts. In this book, she gives us the stories of clients with bulimia, colon cancer, one with a host of neurological and immune system problems including chronic fatigue, HIV, vaginismus, myalgic encephalomyelitis, and sugar addiction. Some of these, like bulimia, have obvious mental components, but others don’t. Therapy cannot cure colon cancer or HIV, but it can improve the immune system and allow the client to survive longer.

I do see how parts of the psyche can decide (from how the person was treated and taught in their childhood) that they deserve to die, or should not enjoy sex, or are better off physically helpless. The part of the book I have trouble with is that she can access the parts of the personality through talk therapy, without something like hypnotic induction. She never says how she leads the client to being able to talk with the parts that are causing the problems. The way it’s written, she just asks the client to talk to the part, and the part replies to the client. And usually the parts are amenable to reason and change. I know if I asked a question of myself, there would be a resounding silence, not some hidden part answering. There must be more to her system, but I guess if she gave it away it would take away business. She does have impressive results and I’d like to know more. The book is easy to read without a lot of technical jargon. 

The above is an affiliate link. If you click through and buy something- anything- Amazon will give me a few cents. This in no way influenced my review. 

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