More Back-Seat Drivers
HOLDING BACK POSITIVE CHANGE
It is by no means certain that our individual personality is the single inhabitant of these our corporeal frames…We all do things both awake and asleep which surprise us. Perhaps we have co-tenants in this house we live in.
— Oliver Wendell Holmes
US Judge, writer, poet
In the field of affectology, Af-x and ECR (Emotional Core Reframing), ‘parts drivers’ and ‘task drivers’ are defined as ‘aspects of what has been learned by your subconscious to ensure your survival and maintain your status quo’.
These parts and drivers are truly unconscious and operate silently and instantaneously whenever any external force is brought to bear – including information and/or advice. So even though there are many aspects of your subconscious that act and react in this way, let’s look at the two that are particularly germane to our work – how the unconscious processes new information and how it protects old information, right or wrong.
For decades, psychology has proposed some fairly loose concepts of what I call Parts Drivers. A number of relatively well known therapies embrace the idea that there are dynamics of the subconscious that drive or manifest certain behaviors or attitudes that tend to disallow – or sabotage – any productive change. Those therapies include the likes of –
- Analytical Hypnotherapy,
- General approaches to ‘hypnosis in therapy’ that the loose church of hypnotherapists like to call hypnotherapy.
- Ego State Therapy,
- Transactional Analysis,
- Voice Dialogue therapy,
- and the list goes on and on.
But in those therapies, the approach seems to be to remove those pesky parts from your mind – you know, “discard them; get rid of them.” But what if those parts drivers have certain tasks that have been learned early in life that protect you (the organism) and are necessary for survival and reasonable functioning?
It has not been until the advent of clinical affectology that these parts drivers have gained any respect as to just how preventive they can be a ‘brake’, a hindrance on any process of change. And further, just exactly why they are necessary to your survival and what can be done to circumvent them in the interest of bringing about positive change for you and your subconscious habits. But before we address that, what are they?
It’s common for people (all of us, in fact) to use phrases like, ‘There’s a part of me that wants to do it’ and ‘That does not appeal to a part of me,’ and so on. That concept per se is not foreign to most of us; we just haven’t given a thought to the full consequences of a bunch of different ‘states of us’ running around inside our unconscious, and more to the point, these unconscious parts are silent and invisible, yet cause solid manifestations in behavioral and other ways.
Affective Neuroscience tells us that you learn many things at an early-life, preverbal feeling level that you hold on to, in one way or another (that is, solidly or subtly), well into adulthood and perhaps forever. So it is with the ‘parts’ of your unconscious that are designed – through early learning and experience – to maintain status quo for you. So it leads us to the statement,
ALL PARTS AND TASK DRIVERS ARE ‘GOOD’ AND SUPPORTIVE MOST OF THE TIME AND FOR MOST TASKS.
This comment may seem counter to what we’re attempting to achieve in psychotherapy. After all, if it’s so ‘good’ and so supportingly productive, then would we be attempting to get rid of it? The simple answer is, ‘no, we wouldn’t.’ The task in our project is to allow those highly productive and protective parts to do their jobs, but with a newer realization that the dynamics and circumstances of everyday life have moved on from the time in which they were learned and formed as unconscious reactive habits.
It’s useful for us all to develop a respect for the ‘organism-supporting’ nature of parts drivers and transfer that respect into the way that we work through an awareness relating to any attempts for you to change or ‘reframe’ your deepest emotional structure. To this end, whenever I refer to any parts driver, the comment is usually appended by:
‘It’ had (the parts driver), when it was learned, and still has, for all intents and purposes, a positive intention, however counter-productive and out-dated that may now be.
The significant parts drivers that we want to look at further are the AVOIDANCE part and the SABOTAGE part. I’m sure you recognize those parts of who you are and how you may have operated many times throughout your life. So in order to examine those two (and a few other) subconscious parts, we need to go to a more robust page …
… HERE …
When you’ve finished reading the material in the link above, then perhaps you can understand why it’s so important to keep in mind these ‘parts drivers’ as a part of any quality psychotherapy that you would choose for yourself.