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* Lammas –

For some reason, trying to jam all these new time-consuming things into my already busy life made me think of integration. Trying to integrate so many things without driving myself crazy, I guess.

Years ago, I talked to somebody who had just integrated an alter. It was the first time I had had a chance to ask what it was like. Her face lit up, and she said, “It’s like falling in love with yourself!” I thought that was so beautiful.

I wish I had a tape of our conversation and permission to share it with everybody who is frightened of integration. So many feel it’s the death of an individual with a personality, a life history, talents, and memories. At the moment of integration, that part will just disappear into the larger, stronger host personality, never to be seen again. That picture of integration makes me think of vampires, and murder, and the disappearance of somebody who has been kidnapped. It sounds awful.

It’s doubly awful if it is coupled with the belief that you cannot be healed if you aren’t integrated. That sounds to me like a cult double-bind. “Oh, so you want to be healed? Then you will have to kill all these parts of you that you love so much. And if you don’t kill them, you are doomed to be miserable for the rest of your life.”

Nobody I have talked to who has integrated parts, whether it be one or many, has found the experience to be frightening. Instead, it has been a happy occasion, a time to relax and enjoy the hard work that has brought increased inner peace.

No, I will take that back. I’ve heard of forced integrations by handlers which was disastrous. In one case, all the integrated alters were first made to believe they were dead and then, in one “body,” were buried in an internal cemetery. Integration, therefore, meant death to the remaining alters and was used as an effective threat. In another case, a bunch of alters who were at odds were integrated in order to keep the system at a constant level of chaos.

The key to successful integration is respect. There must be no coercion, and it must be voluntary for all parts. Plenty of time is allowed to ask questions, express doubt, and talk about preferences and expectations. The planning is done thoughtfully, and all opinions have been discussed. The process is not always totally conscious; much of the work can go on behind the scenes.

Choice is really important to alters who have never had the chance to make choices. Once integrated, they can grow and experiment. Rather than endlessly doing the same job over and over, they can try out different tasks and roles and see whether they like them or not. If they decide they don’t, there are no repercussions – just the opportunity to try something else. That’s freedom!

Integration itself is a choice. There is nothing wrong with keeping parts separate. The key here is mutual respect, communication, and cooperation. I imagine this as being like a smoothly run commune. What difference does it make if you are one or a hundred? What matters is the degree of internal cooperation and communication. Believe me, people who have never been dissociated can be filled with ambivalence and fear, and their lives can be really chaotic. Being “one” isn’t a magic charm that makes everything all right forever.

There is a part of me that is bitching and moaning and groaning about no longer driving. Luckily it agrees with the part of me that says, for safety’s sake, it is time to give up the car. And the part that made the decision to stop, and is proud of that decision, totally gets the loss involved – the loss of independence, convenience, spontaneity, privacy, and time.

I can hold both positions at the same time without conflict. That’s integration enough for me.


Upcoming Holidays

6/16 Father’s Day
6/17 Full moon
6/20 (?) Corpus Christi/Feast of the Body of Christ
6/2 Eve
6/24 St John’s Day

7/2 Total solar eclipse. Visible in parts of South America
7/4 Fourth of July/ US Independence Day
7/16 Full moon
July 16 – 17 Partial lunar eclipse. Visible in South America, Africa, most of Europe and Asia, Australia, and New Zealand.
7/25 St. James’ Day/Festival of the Horned God

8/1 Lammas/Lughnasadh
8/15 Full moon
8/15 (?) Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Dates Important to Nazi and Neo-Nazi groups
7/29 Hitler proclaimed leader of the Nazi party
(NOTE: Not all groups meet on Jewish holidays. Some groups also mark Candlemas, Beltane, Lammas, Halloween, the solstices and the equinoxes))

The Dissociative Table

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* If you are concerned about being tracked through your search engine, here is one that, unlike even, is encrypted

The first time I heard the phrase “dissociative table” I was having dinner with another survivor/therapist. He asked whether I was familiar with the technique and I stared down at the dining room table and went blank. All I could think was that people dissociated, not tables. I covered my confusion by truthfully answering. “No, I’m not familiar with it.”

The dissociative table is a technique developed by George Fraser in 1991. It consists in inviting a group of alters, or inner people, or parts, or ego-states, or self-states, or whatever you like to call them, to come gather around an internal table and sit down and talk. Fraser’s goal is to get to know the alters and the system they belong to with the aim of eventual fusion into one state. With the information gained about the alters, he can help with memory retrieval work and, later in the process, allow alters to merge temporarily so that they can see that they do not die, that they live on in a new state.

I would be tempted not to embrace Fraser’s goal, but to aim to increase communication between alters, to have them get to know each other, and to have them develop social skills. With practice, alters with different points of view can learn to negotiate and reach a compromise. The goal is not integration, but increased communication and harmony. Partial or full integration may occur, if parts want it, but the desired end is simply greater cooperation and diminished chaos.

I would set up rules in advance, like only one person at a time may talk, people take turns talking by going around the table or passing a talking stick, no throwing chairs or other forms of violence by anybody, including me, etc. Once the alters are used to the set-up, I could invite all alters who were interested in a particular topic to come to the table and discuss about it.

I can also imagine people doing it themselves, as a form of self-guided imagery. It sounds like a simple technique, right? Well, a warning – even simple things can quickly get complicated. Think, for example, what it might be like if three adults, twelve littles, six robots, and a tiger all sat down at the same table, especially if not all of them knew English. You would need a way to gracefully end the meeting until you figured out how to handle such a diverse group. Better to prepare for problems in advance, rather than having to think on your feet!

Before starting, you could say, “Let me know if any part of you is uncomfortable with something I suggest. I can always think of something else.” For example, Fraser realizes that some people might have bad associations to sitting at a table and, if so, he substitutes sitting around a rock at the beach or meeting in an open field. If tables are okay, a round one might not be, but a rectangular or oval table might be fine.

Taking turns can be encouraged by passing around a microphone or a talking stick. If a part can’t communicate but has something to say – perhaps it speaks a foreign language, or is preverbal, or is non-human – there may be an interpreter present to help. Pre-verbal parts may be encouraged to draw. If a part doesn’t want to talk, you can give assurance that, although it isn’t yet ready, it can have a turn later on.

If you do want to try this by yourself or with a client, I strongly recommend you read all of Fraser’s article carefully. “The Dissociative Table Technique: A Strategy for Working with Ego States in Dissociative Disorders and Ego-State Therapy.” Dissociation, Vol. 4, No. 4, (Dec. 1991) pp. 205 – 213. You can download it for free at   There is also an updated version of the article, “Fraser’s ‘Dissociative Table Technique’ Revisited, Revised: A Strategy for Working with Ego States in Dissociative Disorders and Ego-State Therapy.” Journal of Trauma & Dissociation, Vol. 4, No. 4, (Jan. 2003) pp 5-28. I haven’t been able to locate a free copy, only an abstract.

Fraser draws from different schools of hypnosis and often uses forced choices (“Would you like to speak to me with your eyes open or closed?”) He incorporates imagery that was widely used at the time and may still be in wide use in these days of Dialectical Behavior Therapy. He has the parts notice that there is a movie screen or a TV monitor in the room and invites people to project their memories onto the screen. This allows a measure of distance and also lets everybody else see what is being shown and described. And there is a remote with stop, pause, and rewind buttons to give control over the pace of sharing.

If there is a child in the movie who is in distress, he may ask the part who created the movie to step into the movie and comfort the child or confront the person who is hurting the child.

Fraser also suggests that there is a stage, with a mirror, near the table. A part can go there and change its age or gender, if desired. The new identity can be seen in the mirror. Fraser has alters fuse (what other therapists call integrate.) He can have two alters join in a partial fusion (that is, only a small part of the system fuses, not all the parts in the system,) and the others, who are watching, can see that nobody dies or gets hurt in the process. He can ask parts to consider temporary fusion. “I will assure them that they do not have to stay fused forever if they do not like it, but they should at least give it a chance for an hour or a few days, and then come apart and decide for themselves the advantages of fusion.”

The whole work of therapy has been done in this one internal room. And, at the end of therapy, all alters are fused and there is no more need for the room with the table, and stage, and movie screen.


Upcoming Holidays

7/4 Fourth of July/US Independence Day
7/25 St. James’ Day/Festival of the Horned God
7/27 Full Moon
8/1 Lammas/Lughnasadh
8/26 Full moon
9/3 Labor Day
9/5 – 9/7 Marriage to the Beast (Satan)
9/7 Feast of the Beast
9/22 Fall Equinox

Dates important to Neo-Nazi groups
9/1 N Start of WW2
(Some groups also mark Candlemas, Beltane, Lamas, Halloween, solstices, equinoxes, and full moons.)

That psycho b*tch in you?

I want to take a break from writing about therapy before plunging into discussing the therapy process itself. Boundaries, transference, counter-transference, termination; all those good things.

But for now I want to share this entry from Anna Kunnecke’s blog with you. Anna is a life coach who writes like a bandit — she makes me laugh and think at the same time. She calls her blog “Declare Dominion over Your Beautiful Life.” You will find it at

Here she writes about anger, that fierce, scary, protective emotion. She talks about inviting anger to the dissociative table — an immensely useful concept for everybody, not just ritual abusive survivors or other multiples.


That psycho b*tch in you? You need her.

Good girls don’t get angry.
Just be kind.
Try to see their point of view.
Have some compassion.
Anger won’t help.
Just move on.

Any of these sound familiar? Well-intentioned bits of advice.

And totally misguided.

Imagine a great banquet hall inside yourself.  You’ve called a council.

All the various aspects of you are there — there’s the smart savvy you surveying the scene, and the frazzled you checking her phone, and there’s the tender little-girl you dreaming dreamy things.  The cackling crone is waving her cigarette wildly. The mom with the kind eyes is passing out snacks.  The snarly adolescent is ready to tangle.

All of these versions of you are ESSENTIAL. When we’re whole and healthy, all the different aspects of us are welcome at the table because they bring their own brand of wisdom and insight. But for most of the women I talk to, there are quite a few aspects missing from their inner council.  Maybe parts of you went into hiding because of trauma, or maybe parts of you just weren’t ever nourished or recognized so they’re standing shyly behind a curtain waiting to be welcomed in. Maybe pieces of you got fractured off in a time of great fear or shame, or maybe they just drifted off to contemplate peonies and they forgot to come back in from the garden. 
But you know who’s most conspicuously missing?

The powerful, loving, bad-ass presence of anger.

Too many little girls are taught to lock their anger away in a cage or in a closet.

Use your inside voice.
That is not nice.
No one will like you if you’re like that.
Use kind words.
Oh come on honey.
Be the bigger person.

Hang out on a playground and watch how grownups talk to little girls.  In a thousand subtle and blatant ways, girls get told that they are not allowed to be angry.

That their anger is dangerous.
And unattractive.

The messages continue into adulthood:

And so the angry part of them goes deep into lockdown.

Anger is a powerful ally. It’s a signal that a boundary has been crossed, that something is happening that needs to be addressed.  It is there to keep us safe.  Just like fear, in its purest form, is always trying to keep us safe.

She is there to protect us.
To speak out against injustice.
To break the chains that need breaking.
To stand up for the little ones.

Without her, we agree to things we shouldn’t agree to.
We enter into contracts that rob us.
We put up with behavior that is abhorrent.
We make excuses for twisted patterns in ourselves and others.
We turn our eyes away from things that need to be seen.
We swallow truths that need to be spoken.

Anger is a loving guardian at the table, and she carries a big-ass sword.  We need her there, integrated and listened to.

The problem is, imagine taking any healthy loving human being and locking them up in a cage for 20 or 50 years.  Think how contorted she would get.  How desperate.  How filthy and furious and twisted.

This is what happens when we lock away our anger.

Instead of being a benevolent ally, our anger can feel like this evil force in us that makes us crazy or mean or spiteful.  (Not surprising — anybody would roar out of that cage with an unholy fury.)

And so my kind, loving, evolved, beautiful clients whisper to me that they’re so horrified when they find themselves getting so furiously angry.  Even with ALL THE yoga and meditating, dammit!!!

How they scream at their kids out of nowhere, leaving themselves appalled and shaken.
How they unleash on a rude customer service person.
How they nearly sabotage months of negotiations with a cold cutting comment.
How they take it and take it and take it and then they just explode.

They want to know how they can stop being angry.

But actually the way to feel better isn’t to avoid the anger — it’s to feel it all the way through and LISTEN to what it’s desperately trying to tell you.

The problem isn’t that they lost their temper.

The problem is that it took them SO LONG to lose their temper.

That anger is trying to show them where things have gotten out of alignment.  Our task isn’t to exile our anger even further — it’s to integrate her, to welcome her back to the table.  To give her a bath, and a safe place to sleep for as many days as she needs, and a return to her rightful place among the council.

Because with her benevolent protection, we’re infinitely stronger.  Safer.  Quicker to set boundaries and say no.  Quicker to cut cords that need cutting and keep dangerous people out of our inner circle.

And when we’re protected in this way, you know what happens?

We are kinder.  Clearer.  More loving.  All of our tenderness gets to bloom because we’ve got Anger standing there watching over us.  And the world could use more women blooming like that.

much love,  Anna