Chapter 5 – Overcoming the Phobia of Inner Experience

coping book coverHappy Friday! You know what’s hard? Reading Coping with Trauma Related Dissociation, by Suzette Boon, Kathy Steele and Onno Van Der Hart. Our therapists love it, most of our parts want to burn it, and I’m glad to have company reading it. My copy escapes the lighter every week because it’s actually helping. I hope you’re getting benefits too.

Content Overview

“Our inner experience is what we think, feel, remember, perceive, sense, decide, plan and predict. It’s essential that you become aware of, learn to tolerate and regulate, and even change major mental actions that affect your current life.”

Understanding the Phobia of Inner Experience
This section describes common ways people avoid inner experience. As a ‘working part’, I related to everything. If you still flinch when you hear an inner voice, you may feel a little triggered by this content.

Why People Develop a Phobia of Inner Experience 

  1. Shitty caretakers didn’t support you or teach you emotional regulation as a kid, so you don’t have the tools you need.   
  2. Labelling of inner thoughts as good/bad drives you to think that feeling any emotion is bad, so you avoid it.   
  3. Some inner experiences can be trauma triggers, leading to activation of PTSD symtoms (or symptom clusters).

The Need to Overcome the Phobia of Inner Experience 

“Healing requires you to work with these inner experiences in order to understand and change them. You cannot change that which you avoid or do not know.”

You’re going to spend the week tracking your reaction to your inner experiences, and rating them on a 1-10 scale. You’ll note what the experience was, what beliefs you might have that drive the fear, and start to see your avoidance patterns.

Discussion Starters

Any cheerful “ah-hah!” moments this week, analyzing yourself? How did they make you feel?

Any painful “well, shit” moments this week? How did they make you feel?

Stick with it, you got this.

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