Utilization is the idea that therapists should use the culture and the language that their clients already use. If your client has watched Star Trek, they already know how to utilize these great tools.
- Safe place: "Do you know what a containment field is on Star Trek? Great! So imagine your safe place has a containment field around it. No one can see it, no one can get through it, and it will keep you completely safe from harm."
- Sharing between Parts with highly dissociated clients: "We've cleared a lot of the trauma that that part holds. Does the Adult part feel ready to know what happened back then? Good. Then let the child do a Vulcan mind-meld with the adult and share the information about what happened and what it was like for her. Let me know when the transfer of information is complete."
- "So lets bring this to the Holodeck and run through the event so you can control how it turns out this time."
- Practicing: "So lets create this situation on the Holodeck, you can direct the Holodeck to create facsimiles of all the players and you can practice how you want to talk to that person/ those people until you feel that you know exactly how to do it in real life."
- "Now imagine transporting that 5-year-old self out of that bed and out of that time, letting her rematerialize right here and right now. Is she here? Then let her know who you are and where she is and that she's finally safe from that guy."
- Other magic:
- "What would Harry Potter do? What spell would you cast?"
- "Imagine you had Superman's/Wonder Woman's strength? What would you do then?"
- "So could you go back in time with Doctor Who and rescue that child?" (For Brits)
My clients are delighted when I speak their language and use what's already in their brains. If they've spent years with Star Trek or Doctor Who or the mutants in Heroes, their mirror neurons have already had them doing the magical activities, and are ready to take them into a different reality.
Years ago, a cult-abused DID client cured her insomnia by imagining a Star Trek containment field around her bed, which she turned on before sleep. Later, after years of trauma-clearing and Vulcan mind-melds between related parts, she did a mind-meld between all remaining parts and integrated (mostly) in my office.
What a great example of culturally competent practice, Robin. Metaphors and images are always so much more powerful as resources when they come from the client’s lived experience.
Your post really emphasizes the need for therapists to stay up on the current pop culture. While you can rely on your client to tell you what some of these things mean to him or her, it’s hard to be truly creative in drawing on this content if you don’t understand it.