Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Power of Parallel Process

Picture a railroad track. When you look at one rail, it’s pretty easy to guess where the second rail goes. Even if you see the railroad tracks disappear into the horizon, you have a pretty good guess that if you find one rail of the tracks, you’ll find the other rail of track nearby.

Often, individuals early in the recovery process express fear and anxiety about the way things will end up. In psychology, we talk about parallel process to help people understand what is going to happen. In the realm of sexual compulsivity, I use parallel process to help clients grasp where they are going when they start the therapy process. It provides a tool to understand and shape the direction of therapy.

As an example, someone in chemical dependency recovery understands the process of recovery. A client will experience shame and guilt when they first realize they have a chemical use problem. The shame and guilt leads to isolation and increased problems. Once they start telling the stories of their chemical use, the shame and fear starts to easy and the recovery process gains momentum. Connections are made to individuals with similar struggles. Eventually recovery and a sense of hope are born allowing for a sense of being fully alive to develop.

In the same way, dealing with sexual compulsivity follows a parallel process. In the beginning, feelings of shame and guilt about sexuality lead to isolation. In a similar manner, recovery occurs through sharing your story and reaching out for support. Hope is born in the relationships and connections with others. Following the process of recovery in chemical dependency can give us a direction of recovery in sexual compulsivity.

Many parallels exist; the key is to find something in your life that will help you understand the direction in your recovery process in the area of sexual compulsivity.

No comments:

Post a Comment