CTA 23 BENEFIT FROM BONDING   
Sasha Lessin, Ph.D.

[Adapted from Schiffmann, M., 1971, Gestalt Self-Therapy, Self-Therapy Press, pages 28 -30 and Stone, Hal and Sidra 1989, Embracing Our Selves, New World Library]

     Study the directions below, then take turns with a lover responding to each cue sentence and writing the responses you and your lover make.  If you lack a lover,  have someone take you through the exercises as though s/he were your lover (or you can roleplay your lover taking you through this exercise, alternately identifying with yourself and responding, then becoming your lover and reading cues.)  Then take a couple through this exercise.  Report your results and answer the questions at the end of this screen.

You bond (co-depend) when you and your lovers react to each other as though first one, than the other of you is a parent, then a child. This is natural and inevitable. And, when it’s sweet, you and your lovers enjoy positive bonding; you nurture and protect one another.

But also inevitably, you feel vulnerable–hurt, scared, shamed, stressed, tired, jealous, insecure or threatened--and hide this vulnerability. Then, instead of showing your Vulnerable Inner Child, you respond in a defensive voice. Oftimes your initial defensiveness touches off a defensive reaction in your lover, to which you respond with further defenses. Hal and Sidra Stone call this duel of your defensive subselves negative bonding.

Example: In the positive part of their bonding, Jim and Sue take turns nurturing each other. The negative phase touches off when Sue keeps yelling till Jim, becoming parent-like, judges and analyzes her critically. She collapses into a helpless, crying child.

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They end the negative phase when they each express their vulnerability and see the voices the other expressed in the bonding as their own subdued subselves. Thus Jim can raise his voice instead of letting Sue do all the yelling and she can become intellectual and analytic as well. They return to sweet bonding and Center-Center relating.

When you and a lover experience sour interaction, use the cues below to help you learn how your bonding pattern works and how to shift to your Center–the conscious, balanced perspective from which to choose to relate.

Read your partner the cues in bold print aloud to the lover concerned.  Read anything enclosed in square brackets [like this] silently.

Sit on this cushion; the position for your Center, where you hear all your inner voices.

Recall, then tell me when you felt pain, fear, insecurity as we related to each other.

Say how we interacted in parent/child ways.

What bothered you about how I acted in relation to you?

Move to a cushion from which you'll roleplay me. [When your partner has moved, say,] Pretend you're me; roleplay me. Exaggerate what I do and say. Say what you, as me, fear, think and suspect.

Now move to a cushion where you'll be yourself in relation to me.

[When your partner moves, say,] Respond to me. As yourself again say more than you already said to me; tell me how I make you feel. Express your feelings, irrational thoughts and impulses; exaggerate your feelings; express more.

Now return to your original cushion, the Center.

[When your partner moves, say,] Tell me what vulnerabilities--feelings of insecurity, fear, hurt--you and I activate in each other.

From the vantage as Center, discuss the idea that I, as you role-played me, represents a disowned voice of your own.

How do I represent a disowned voice for you?

Describe your relation with me in parent-child terms. Expand what you told me before about how you and I shift between enacting parent and child roles vis-a-vis each other.

In what ways does the pattern you've described with me re-create part of the pattern you had with the people who raised you or a brother or sister?

Stand behind me now, facing the seat in which you enacted voice within you that you projected on me. Maintain neutrality; observe objectively. As I review the main things you said in the disowned voice, sense its energy ### [Summarize what your partner said.]

Now return from standing in the Witness position to the seat for your Center.

How can you, Center, nourish my vulnerable, Inner Child without overbalancing your own voices?

How can you integrate the disowned voices I represented into your life?


QUESTIONS

1. Relate your experiences as you did the exercises in this lesson.

2. Define and give a personal example of each of the following:

          a. Voice Dialogue
          b. Inner Critic
          c. Aware Ego
          d. sour bonding
          e. sweet bonding
          f. owning disowned voices seen in partner

RC 20 -29  RELATIONSHIP COUNSELING

ACTIVE LISTENING PAGE 1 PAGE 2 PAGE 3
IMAGO MANAGEMENT PAGE 1 PAGE 2 PAGE 3 PAGE 4
UPLIFTING COMMUNICATIONS PAGE 1 PAGE 2 PAGE 3
CHOREOGRAPH & BONDING PAGE 1 PAGE 2 PAGE 3 PAGE 4 PAGE 5
RELATIONSHIP FITNESS TRAINING PAGE 1 PAGE 2 PAGE 3 PAGE 4
CONSCIOUS LOVEMAKING PAGE 1 PAGE 2 PAGE 3 PAGE 4 PAGE 5 PAGE 6

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