Sunday, 20 January 2013

Lion Taming

Lion Taming is a metaphor for the activity of trying to handle CEOs, leaders, Type A personalities, major politicians, aid donors and people of influence in order to bend them to one's will.
The name comes from an interesting book called Lion Taming by Steven Katz.
IMHO the most ignored and most important part of psychology is the psychology of how to handle these people.  Let's say you come up with a brilliant idea for fixing the economy, curing mental health problems, solving the Arab-Israeli conflict - whatever, the hard work starts AFTER you have come up with the solution, because most people don't want problems solving, they want to hold on to their problems and they don't want someone else pissing on their territory.

We have just come back from a literacy conference in Nepal, where the good news is that they recognise that they have a serious literacy problem, and the bad news is that when we offered a solution, the audience was (mostly) stupefied into silence.  In fact, we are probably the only people who know how to handle Nepal's literacy problem (after all, our Indian activities are proof), but I haven't had a single phone call from the Nepalese Min of Ed begging me to sort his problem out. 

The ONLY way I know how to handle these people is to tell them that they are absolutely right, no matter what they say.  I may be the only time it is morally defensible to flagrantly lie.
I am embarassed to say I have several friends in the USA who are staunch Republicans and are pro-guns and anti-welfare.  I have found that telling them that they are absolutely right has a wonderful effect  - they forget what they were arguing about and change the subject.

Sub-Personalities: Who's Calling The Shots? by Natasha Dern

Those of us who have been delivering extremely effective therapy using Metapsychology for many years have a secret.  There's a technique we use which we don't tell anyone about because it sounds bonkers, but is stupendously effective.
Today I read an article in Huffington Post which is a very good description of the phenomenon (but not the technique - we don't give away all our secrets).

Here is the article in full.  I apologise for lack of Randomized Control Trials supporting the content.  Regrettably the sort of person who writes this type of article tends not to believe in RCTs, which is probably holding back human evolution by many years.  I will try and organise one on the subject at the earliest opportunity.  Really!  

Here's the full link:

Sub-personalities are like children - they need and demand a lot and often insist on getting their way. They keep nagging at you, screaming or throwing a tantrum when things do not materialize. Are your sub-personalities demanding that you act in inappropriate ways, say and do things that you might later regret? Forcing you to throw caution to the wind, act on their whims in the moment, and later declare that it just happened. In other words, who's calling the shots?
When you over identify with a particular wound it creates an emotional blueprint within your emotional body referred to as a sub-personality. Without realizing, you begin to build your whole identity and life around this blueprint, thus believing it is who you really are. Your sub-personality is not the real YOU, it is a part of you but it is not you. To make this distinction is crucial. You need to realize that a sub-personality suffering from lack of self esteem or low self worth is only a part of you, an extension of your emotional body. Rather than identifying yourself as 'I am insecure' you need to state 'A part of me is insecure'. This kind of discernment is truly empowering. It removes this insecure sub-personality from the position of power and puts you in the driver's seat.
Sub-personalities, in transpersonal psychology, are personas or pieces of the whole of the overall personality, which have a life of their own, beliefs, thoughts, feelings, intentions and agendas. There's the rebel and the martyr, the seducer and the saboteur, the judge and the critic and a host of others, each with its own mythology, all co-existing within a person. Issues and conflict arise when the polarity of a sub-personality becomes imbalanced. When opposing tensions sets in, the mind is clouded with conflicting views, which hinders its ability to make decisions that are appropriate. How can you figure out which sub-personality/personalities are calling the shots?
Start by taking stock of your outlook on life, by reviewing your behavior in various situations, and all the ways you express yourself in any given moment. When you recognize a sub-personality, you will be able to step outside it and observe its complex nature. By doing this, you will no longer completely identify with this or that sub-personality. Instead, you will begin to see the many faces of your soul and appreciate the value of each one.
We have many sub-personalities within us, each one of them has a story to tell. Each one views the world differently. Each one interprets the events of life differently. You need to acquaint yourself with the ones that are controlling your behavior, your thinking or your choices. Some sub-personalities are not harmful; they exist to support your well-being. Your attention needs to focus on the one/ones that constantly provoke and invoke, react and attack. These sub-personalities are hurt and angry, wounded and are in need of healing. To work with these energies requires patience and certain level of detachment in order to relate to them objectively. As mentioned above, the way you start is by identifying which sub-personality you have given power to, which one you have enabled to rule your life. You need to shift your thinking, and begin to perceive these sub-personalities as parts of you rather than 'It' being you.
Furthermore, to assess the validity of the demands and needs of a sub-personality before you take any form of action is essential. Pay special attention to the sub-personalities that are persistent, almost desperate. These sub-personalities are not guided by wisdom or insight, like children they have no boundaries and lack any form of discipline, and will be quite forceful in their attempt to make you act and carry out their intentions. You have to be strong and step back and evaluate if acting on their counsel will be good for the long term.
The difficult part when working with sub-personalities is the gaining of co-operation, and not just from the dominant ones, but the suppressed ones too. The dominant one needs to make room or allow the suppressed sub-personality to come through for transformation to take place and re-integrate back into the Self. This journey may take a while but it will be accompanied by breakthroughs and insights, freedom and healing, and above all, harmony of the inner life.