When difficult feelings come up, we tend to ‘blend’ with them. This means the feeling takes us over and we and the feeling become one. We are ‘fused’. In order to be able to manage the feeling better we must defuse or unblend with it.

How do we do this?

Well, one way that can be helpful is to try to imagine it as a separate character. While we think of ourselves as just one person, in reality we have lots of different subpersonalities or parts inside of us. Some of these parts are angry, some are sad, and some are frightened. Others are strong, loving, kind, wise, creative, or playful.

So, let’s say a frightened part comes up. What is the first thing we do? Well, what is the first thing you do when you meet a friend or someone you know? You say hello!

“Good to see you, how are you today?”

Then just listen and see if the part says anything back. Begin to notice what this part looks like. It might look like a character from a film, a book, or a mythical creature of some kind. What age is it? How is it dressed? Where is it? It could be an animal or an object or a landscape. See if a picture comes to mind of this part. If it does try to be curious about it and get to know it. If there is no clear picture that’s okay too!

Try to be curious about this presence. How does it show up in your body? Where do you feel it? What are the sensations like? Does it have a shape? A size? A colour? A texture?

If it feels like this part is a bit too close, ask it to step back and separate from you. Parts often want to cling to you so you might need to keep asking. But say it kindly and with respect. Sometimes it can help to imagine this part is an object outside of you. Look around, what object would you like to represent this part? A tree, a cup, a cushion, or a toy?

Then ask it if it has a message for you. Is there anything it would like to tell you? What does it need? Try to listen to it. If it feels afraid could you offer it reassurance? If it feels sad can you give it comfort? Is there an action it would like you to take? Would it like to held in some way? Try talking to it like you would to a friend who feels bad. What would you say to make it feel better?

When you feel like you have talked enough then see if you can thank it for its visit. You might say it is welcome to come back when it needs help again in the future. While you go about the rest of your day ask it if there is anything it would like to do, or a place it would like to go, or a person it would like to be with. Then, using your imagination you can put that part into that situation: lying in a cloud, relaxing in a protective bubble, sitting in a forest, playing with a friend. Anything that might make this part feel a little bit better.

Check in with it again later on, asking it how it feels. Keep coming back to connect with it.