The story of Pinocchio won't be the first children's parable I'll exploit for it's metaphoric and psychological value at it relates to DP. But this story strikes home with me more than any other. The similarities are so profound that when you recognize them, the story takes on a meaning heartbreakingly poignant. But the metaphors do not end with our hero. And in fact, the hero cannot meet his happy ending without his supporting characters to assist him in his journey. The "Blue Fairy" for me optimizes an allegory all on it's own because every hero on a quest needs a guide or mentor. That mentor is always instrumental in helping them help themselves because they know more and see the potential of the hero's true value. In addition, this person understands the stakes, is devoted to his best interests and committed to journeying with him to places that puts him in the greatest of peril.
So yes, Pinocchio. The wooden boy made from the wishes of his well meaning but narcissistic Father Gepetto who wanted a child because he's lonely and longed for a real boy. But Pinocchio loses his way and finds that it's easier to lie than do the things necessary to become a real boy. The Blue Fairy has the power to help him do that but she cannot help him until he learns to tell the truth.
You don't have to have an acumen for psychology to understand how the Blue Fairy relates to the therapeutic relationship in helping us understand and overcome DP.
It's a beautiful story in it's simplicity. But the search for the Blue Fairy for ourselves is significantly more difficult.
To put it bluntly, there are a lot of weird freakin Fairies out there!
If you chuckled at that statement this is the only and only time, I didn't intend you to.
The study of human psychology is as vast as there all people. Each with a wide array of approaches and therapeutic models. Everything from getting in touch with your inner child to conquering the warrior within. Most valid models are typically the same thing said in a different way but how you want to receive that information is really very personal. Most people do not think this way and end up just getting a therapist and roll with it. At least that's what I did. I was fortunate in that the LCSW I worked with had a Doctrine in Marriage and Family and was completely competent in helping me understand the underlying dynamics of my development. However, I do not believe he was able to help me understand the specific dynamics in helping overcome a Dissociative disorder directly. I had him for 12 years and I literally grieved him when his professional growth called him to do other things. But introspect, I realize that I wasted a lot of time with him and now that I had an opportunity to find a different therapist, I would not make the same mistake twice. So what I did was tried to find a fairy that was very familiar with my kind of story, my kind of stakes. To do this, I had to find someone who worked with complex childhood interpersonal trauma. And for this reason, I felt sure that a social worker could not help me. So I went after the big dogs. I did not think I required medication so a Psychiatrist wouldn't be necessary but a Psychologist with a PHD could have the exact same skill set and are often better interpersonally. So searched I did -and holy crap did that not help matters. To be honest, I did a little speed dating for therapists lol It was a bit of a chore, but well worth it in the end.
My current therapist has done this work for a long time and unlike the rigid Freudian dogma of some of her peers, is willing to try more contemporary therapies. For example EMDR which has had great success in helping people with PSTD. So initially I thought great, trauma + EMDR=cure. Of course, the trouble with that therapy is it is more successful with trauma related incidences that you can readily recall. Moreover, it's success seemed linked to people who (previous to their injury) had a strong sense of safety to begin with. So I am no longer sure if that therapy will be useful to me. But I like the idea that she thinks outside the box.
I get why so many people are quick to dismiss approaching DP from a psychoanalytical standpoint. It's neither efficient, readily effective or expedient. Even if everything we come to learn about healthy human development is validated, the truth is knowledge of ones issues is not the cure. Every Professional Practitioner and committed novice of this discipline, will enviably concede that once the course of a person's childhood development goes wrong, odds are is going to be a difficult fix at best. And it's a fair statement to say that no one who has ever been "cured" of DP started a sentence with: "Psychotherapy cured me."
But that does not mean therapy is without it's merits. This is not a pseudo-science. But after years spent wasted on trying to find a cure for what I have come to learn is my own inability to access and accept parts of myself, it's the only constructive option before me. Understanding how you arrived at the space you're in helps you to understand what should have happened to have made you healthier. Further, it gives you better examples and tools that you are now in complete control of to help you be a more emotionally present and happier human being.
Personally, I think the process of therapy is one of the most thankless jobs in the humanities. You go to school for a Google number of years only to learn that despite your best efforts & knowledge, people ultimately have to assume responsibility for their own circumstance. Sure they can educate us on healthier ways to manage our complexities but the study, commitment and application rests solely on the individual. Any validated therapist knows this. But the individuals seeking therapy are often too entangled in their own dysfunction to understand their burden in that relationship. So most of the time wasted is you and your guide unraveling the mess that has made you BEFORE they can help you to help yourself.
While not a cure or a quick fix, any reasonable person has to submit that the Blue Fairies of the world have a remarkable vigilance to help the suffering of spirit be less sufferable. All while maintaining their own balance. I say that not because it's a point of fact, but with a reverence & admiration for a selfless vocation that far exceeds the faith of any individual religion. Because it is on faith that these people do this work. The faith that, despite the worst of circumstances we can still be happier, healthier & loved for exactly who we are.
When I think of them this way, I cannot afford to measure their service by any hourly rate or co pay.
Though I am not of the mind that therapy should fix me, I am of the mind that therapy is difficult to help me fix myself. I am hoping that I can find a way to reach myself and I hope she's got better ideas than I do. Right now, I am toying with Primal therapy and the work of Alice Miller & Konrad Stettbacher which I think is interesting (which I think maybe some of you will find useful too).
I have struggled with DP for a very long time. I know more than most about it. If that makes me somewhat arrogant I can't apologize. I'll only say that it's not arrogance if it's true. And yet, I know it still stays with me because I do know what it is. When you come to understand that the very thing you want to rid yourself of most in the world has protected you from an even larger problem...well, let's just say you may be even less willing to peek over the wall because you'll know what's there. Only then will you sincerely understand how truly damaged you've been. And no amount of arrogance will allow you to believe that you can do that on your own.
So despite our own maladies we have a choice in choosing which mentors will ride shotgun with us on our journey. Whether you choose to see the mentor of your story as Yoda, OB-Wan, Gandalf the Grey or the Blue Fairy, that choice is yours.