This interview is with a nineteen year old girl who has “persistent genital arousal disorder.” She has been checked out medically and has no observable medical condition. She does not want to have sex and associates the condition with feelings of embarrassment and shame. She has a boyfriend and her experience is that sex makes the disorder worse.
Which issue brings up the strongest feelings for you?
If those feelings had a color (or colors), what would it be?
Imagine that color filling the space in front of you so that it has depth, height, width, and aliveness.
Now watch that color swirl, congeal, and condense into a shape. Don’t make it take a shape, just watch it and say the first thing that you see or that comes to your mind: An animal? Object? Plant? What?
Now remember how as a child you liked to pretend you were a teacher or a doctor? It’s easy and fun for you to imagine that you are the shape that took form from your color and answer some questions I ask, saying the first thing that comes to your mind. If you wait too long to answer, that’s not the character answering – that’s YOU trying to figure out the right thing to say!
Dog, would you please tell me about yourself and what you are doing?
I’m a black German Shepherd. I’m inside Laurie. I’m in her sexual organs. I’m running around down here, exciting the sexual energy in her.
What do you like most about yourself? What are your strengths?
I don’t care that I get her sexually excited. I like myself. I’m must doing what I want to do. No one can tell me what I should do.
Are you doing any damage down there to keep her awake?
I think that’s fun!
She hasn’t been sleeping very much because you have been keeping her awake?
What do you dislike most about yourself? Do you have weaknesses? What are they?
She created you, right? What aspect of Laurie do you represent or most closely personify?
Dog, if you could be anywhere you wanted to be and take any form you desired, would you change? If so, how?
I would stay the same.
(Continue, answering as the transformed object, if it chose to change.)
(Character), how would you score yourself 0-10, in each of the following six qualities: confidence, compassion, wisdom, acceptance, inner peace, and witnessing? Why?
Inner Peace: 8
Dog, if you scored tens in all six of these qualities, would you be different? If so, how?
I wouldn’t do the things I’m doing right now because I would feel compassion. I wouldn’t want her to be like that.
How would Laurie’s life be different if she naturally scored like you do in all six of these qualities all the time?
Maybe if she were more accepting she would accept what was happening to her. She would accept the condition she’s living with. She would try to live her life normally. But she would have a zero in compassion. She wouldn’t care about other people. It would be bad for her. If she didn’t really care about people who were close to her they would stop talking to her. I don’t care if anyone talks to me or not. I like running around!
If you could live Laurie’s life for her, how would you live it differently?
I would try to live with her problem and make the best out of it. It wouldn’t bother you. If it didn’t bother Laurie she would be able to sleep better and she would go on with her life.
Dog, do you have any problems with horniness yourself?
If you could live Laurie’s waking life for her today, would you handle Laurie’s three life issues differently? If so, how?
I don’t know. I don’t care.
Are you male or female?
Would it be OK for Laurie to stroke you?
No. I wouldn’t like that. I don’t want anyone to touch me. I like being alone and doing what I want to do.
Do you eat? Do you get enough food?
What do you eat?
What if Laurie were to toss you a juicy steak. Would that be OK?
Yes! I eat it and then I have more energy to do whatever I want to do!
Give him another! What does he do!
He eats it and goes back to running.
Who’s in charge? Isn’t he a part of yourself?
Yes, but I don’t want to run with him because I don’t like him.
Whether you like him or not is irrelevant. He’s not going away because you don’t like him or ignore him, is he? How has that worked for you?
Dog, you sound to me like an undisciplined child that has been allowed to do whatever it wants. But you are a part of Laurie. She needs to listen to you, but you’re not listening to her. She needs to teach you to listen to her!
I just want to run around and do whatever I want.
Dog, I don’t blame you. I do too. But you aren’t listening to Laurie and your lack of cooperation is causing her to lose sleep, miss school, and have suicidal thoughts. She needs your cooperation. Are you willing to cooperate by listening to her?
I just want to run around and do whatever I want!
OK, that’s fine. So you’re telling us that you need Laurie to teach you to cooperate and to listen, because you aren’t willing or able to do these things.
Laurie, I want you to imagine that you are walking over to this dog, putting a leash on him, looking him in the eye and saying to him, “ I am not going to ignore you any more. I am going to feed you and walk you and pat you and run you. I am going to keep you on this leash and you are going to learn to listen to me and obey me. Neither one of us have to like this or want to do it, but I realize that I have a job to do and you have a job to do too.”
Laurie does the above….
The next time we meet I will ask your dog if you have remembered to do these things. We will see what happens. A parent does not teach a child to listen and obey in a day or two and this is going to be a process that will take some time. But we know the results from you ignoring your dog or hoping that it will go away: your problem has only gotten worse.
This is an excellent example of an interview with a prepersonal self-aspect that does not want to grow up or change. Such self-aspects are needing nurturing structure because they are not mature enough to be empathetic and consider the needs of other aspects of self.
In subsequent weeks Laurie’s problems with uncontrollable sexual arousal diminished. It did not go away, but she found that as she stopped focusing on her symptoms – the dog running around inside her genitals – and instead focused on school, voice and dance lessons, she could cope better with the condition .