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Fingers art of family during quarrel. Concept of parents quarrel, child was upset..jpg

Pluralistic Methods and Tasks to Negotiate Control away from the Tough Inner Critic

Chair work & Psychodrama

Chair work or Psychodrama- can be useful in a number of different ways, both drawing attention to the Inner Critic, helping to externalise it from the client’s sense of self and perhaps reframing the Inner Critic.  For example, as a protector who has the best intentions but is not quite getting it right. Hansen (2021) describes viewing the Inner Critic as a “well-intended bumbler” who is doing their best but going slightly overboard, and notes that many of us may have a parent who similarly meant well but did not get it quite right.  Padesky (NICABM IC video 5: 2021; 13:26) discusses re-enacting through psychodrama, if there was a trigger that led to a negative core belief. For example, having a hyper critical parent, who perhaps called them names and belittled them as children, leading to innate feelings of shame or worthlessness.  However, sometimes clients can feel they deserved this and may not regard what their parent did as abusive.  Padesky (2021) recommends allowing the client to take on the critical parent role and see how that feels, with the counsellor perhaps acting as the client in their child role. This can give the client insight into the harsh messaging from their past, if they are able to say the things that were said to them to another person, even in role play, they may develop insight into this negative experience, reframe it as unacceptable and undeserved.  Or if they enact saying these things to a child who is currently a family member or friend’s child, how would this affect how they regard themselves.  They might want to come up with a more positive message they would have liked to have had from their critical parent and enact this instead. Research points to this being useful in terms of cognitive restructuring of traumatic memories (e.g. Mueser et al, 2009).

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