Integrative letter writing

Integrative letter writing can help you integrate a defense mechanism related to past wounds, cultural, and family influences.

How to write a letter to a defense mechanism

One of the more complex aspects of healing work is dealing with defenses.

One simple way to soften or integrate a defense mechanism is to write a letter to it. The subconscious does not necessarily respond to words alone, but this is a way to activate the imagery and emotion of a dialogue between your mature adult self and the defense, which you can picture as a part of you or a younger version of you. Essentially, this is personifying an emotional habit or script so you can resolve it.

While the language of the subconscious is imagery and emotion, it is often helpful to generate a detailed script for you to follow conceptually to guide your imagery experience.

Here is an example:

Dear performer,

Thank you for helping me to get positive attention from others.

I think I learned you in sports growing up. I felt overlooked by my parents who tended to give more attention to my siblings who were loud and showy. I finally got some sort of attention when I did well in sports. You have carried into other areas of my life, however. In ministry I secretly compete with other missionaries to see who has the bigger following, try to give impressive talks, etc. Your approach to relationship is to achieve and impress for attention. While this does seem to pay off in giving me a high when someone compliments the long run I still feel empty and unnoticed, and in a worse way because I am not seen for me, and my mission is not flowing from a deeper place.

Moving forward, I'm going to initiate projects from a place of already knowing that I am loved. I can use my showiness to attract others but will then focus more on what they need rather than how I can impress them. I will gain much more peace and satisfaction in my ministry if I am faithful to my role rather than outwardly successful. You've carried this burden of helping me be good enough for a long time. It's time I take charge in this area.



P.S. Feel free to contact me for more information on how integrative letter writing works.

Image link to bio for Marcel Lanahan, LMHC

Dr. Marcel Lanahan

Founder, Lead Clinician

Marcel is a Catholic therapist, husband, and father of five. He is dedicated to supporting fellow Catholics with guidance on their healing journeys.

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