Internalized other interviews are a powerful Narrative Therapy practice. The therapist invites the client to speak from the imagined perspective of a significant person in their lives, living or dead. Often, this exercise elicits deep emotions and insights into relationships and values. People live inside of us.
At a narrative practice group on the subject of grief, my colleagues and I try a twist on the internalized other interview. None of us in the room are strangers to loss. There have been some very recent family deaths amongst the group. We decide that rather than interviewing a colleague who would connect with and speak as a particular internalized person, we will conduct the session as if she were the personification of Grief itself. My colleague plays the part impeccably. It feels as though she channels our collective experience. We are blown away, moved, and more deeply connected by the dialogue that ensues.
Welcome. Grief seems surprised. I’m not always welcome, she explains, sinking deeper into her chair. Ah, I nod. What is it like, to not feel welcome when you come to call? I ask. Grief answers from the heart. It is hard, she replies. She describes how out of sync she feels. The party guest who nobody knows what to say to. Hurt, alone, avoided, unwanted and cast aside. Trapped, but unable to leave. I understand though, I get it. I’m not easy to be with. Her tone is empathetic, compassionate.
My other colleagues listen intently, silent witnesses to her eloquence. Continue reading
*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA