Thursday, January 12, 2017

Looping in order to lower Splitting: Not just with BPD Clients

     I have been a licensed psychotherapist for over 23 years. Communication and openness can be an issue. When working with families, I go over the no secrets policy but there are areas that clients need to know what they have shared is only between myself and them. I also explain Looping with clients. This is primarily for those that have some type of splitting behavior. Splitting is very much what you see whenever 3 school girls get together, they always find one to be odd man out and then miscommunicating what has been said. As this is done "in confidence" it makes it very hard to get the full truth or story. There are developmental factors and insecurities that lead to this. It can also create a false sense of us against whoever or whatever is seen as threatening.
     Looping is letting others know that if what I have said or done is taken out of context I will share and or clarify with all family or social members the exact idea or thoughts that I had. I will also share what I have heard was assigned to me. In my personal life, I always use the phrase, just keeping you in the loop. In my professional life, this becomes so important, as Splitting can be used to discredit the progress or growth that I may be working on with one member of a family that is seen as changing the status quo. It can also be used (as in triangulation with young girls) to keep the other person close.
     In families, this happens a lot with teenagers, I get calls from parents saying, my teen said you said this.. I will many times call the parents and explain in general details the heart of the motivation for a comment and the correct context. Couples do this, I will hear from one or the other that you told my spouse I was crazy or other comments. Again, I will clarify my general thoughts and reply then to all.
     Texting and emails are the primary way that clients will communicate. When the text that has been forwarded is extremely undermining and clearly an attempt to split, I will reply to all. There are times that I will include the text sent to me.
     This is a very common technique when I work with my BPD clients, but not only them. It is very common in our society to have to tear someone or something down to feel better about ourselves. Looping allows everyone to keep the dialogue open and talking thru the miscommunications that may have triggered the splitting behavior.  ALL my BPD clients are aware that I use Looping and clarifying conversations to move forward. This allows me to mirror open safe dialogue and correct misunderstandings in a way that many have never experienced.
     Looping helps clients learn they are likable no matter what, I (as therapist) can handle discourse and we can all move forward. Finally it allows clients to experience my apology if I misunderstood what they were trying to say or my reply was said without fully appreciating where they were coming from. Looping must be done in a neutral, open clarifying way. This gives everyone a chance to learn and experience safe open communication of all feelings and thoughts.

Kendall Wagner, LMFT Clinical Director
email or call (760) 434-9694
www.CarlsbadCounselingCenter.com 
if you would like more information.