Okay, class! Today we’re learning how to cast “Summon Dissociative Part”, a tool that can help you improve inner communication and provide a sense of safety. When you feel like you can reach your parts more easily/reliably, your confidence in life can go way up.
It starts with playlists.
Pick your music app of choice: I use like Spotify but anything works. Set up a new playlist for each of your parts, using their names. Move these playlists to the top and make sure they’re nice and visible.
Next, add a few starting songs. You can all add suggestions to each others lists or focus on your own. This part might take a few days as everybody joins in, but you can honestly start with just yourself. If you prove this works, it’ll get everybody else on-board a lot more quickly.
Make sure you pick the right songs.
You want songs that generate strong emotions for individual parts. If possible we want positive or upbeat songs, although I know that’s not always an option. Shoot for the strongest emotions you feel. Here are some of ours:
- ‘Don’t Stop Believing’, by Journey. AMAZING memories (we saw them live), upbeat, and a positive message.
- ‘Dangerous Woman’ by Ariana Grande, ‘Slow Dance’ by Kelly Clarkson and ‘Skin’ by Rihanna. For, uh… something a little more physically stimulating.
- ‘Part of your World’ from The Little Mermaid and ‘Let it Go’ from Frozen. My little folk love Disney 🙂
- ‘Wrong’ by Depeche Mode, suggested by a friend and darker than a black dragon’s snoot.
Get the idea?
Prune out the triggering songs.
This might feel slightly lame, but apply maximum compassion please. You’re creating a Bat Signal, do you really want it to be something your parts are scared of?
(While we’re on the subject, take triggering songs off your regular playlists, period. Do you want to be the noisy neighbor blaring garbage at irritating times? There’s no head-cops your dissociative parts can call, so do you want to be that kind of asshole? Intentionally triggering your parts increases dissociation, and is absolutely not helping you heal. Discuss it with your therapist. -Dee)
Next, you’re going to “lock in” the song you’ve chosen.
- Find somewhere comfy, your phone and headphones.
- Breathe softly and evenly, nothing fancy.
- Perform the butterfly hug, tapping, or any other somatic relaxation technique you’ve found helpful in the past.
- Turn on the song, set it to repeat, and listen. Focus. Be present. You might dissociate or daydream; that’s totally normal. Just bring yourself right back to the music when you notice.
- Try to identify your favorite sections. For example, in Frozen when Isla sings “Here I’ll stand, and here I’ll say!”, I can’t help but yell along. Immerse yourself in the melody, words, instrument, or whatever it is that makes your soul sing. Feel the music.
- Get your body into it. Sing, dance, hum along. Tap your toes to the beat, bob and sway, arm dance; do anything that engages you physically with the music.
- Invite your parts to join. Try to share the emotion with them, imaginary dance with them in your head, do whatever helps you feel across those mental boundaries. Explain why the song hits you in the feels.
- Repeat a few times.
Next time you need that part, when you really need their support, fire up their song. Remember why they love it, sing their favorite part as loud as you can, and get groovy with the bobbing and dancing. Feel the song.
When it works, give yourself an emotional high-five, and then write about it in your journal. Reinforce your success and celebrate your new tool. It doesn’t always work but the more it does, the easier it is to repeat.
And remember that this isn’t about force.
Never try to make a part front. This is an invitation; use your Bat Signal wisely.