FINDING OR CREATING A TRANSITIONAL OBJECT
It’s time for you to get your own transitional object. You can create one for yourself or explain the concept to your therapist, other professional, or someone else you respect, listen to, and find supportive. Look for an object or something that has meaning for you. Once you have chosen your transitional object, write about it below, describing why this particular object has meaning for you and how you think it might help you.
USING MY TRANSITIONAL OBJECT
As the week goes by, write down times and situations where you either used your transitional object or could have, but didn’t. After the situation occurs, write about what happened when you tried using your new tool, or why you didn’t use it or you used it and it didn’t help. If possible, add whatever changes you can so your transitional object works better for you. Remember, progress means any change in the right direction. If having the transitional object made you more present with yourself or altered your patterns or behaviors in anyway even if it didn’t stop your behavior completely, do not get discouraged. Change takes time, and even very subtle changes add up and make a difference.
What I could do differently:
What I could do differently:
Take some time to reflect on what you have learned or your experience using a transitional object. You might find that having a friend who also wants to try using a transitional object to stay connected can be helpful.
Personal Reflection: CAROLYN
At some point in my private practice many years ago, I realized that my clients needed something in between sessions to remind them of the work we were doing together. I could not be there with them, but was there something I could give them that they could hold or look at that would soothe or calm them down and help them remember my words in session? It was easy to come up with rocks because I collect them and had a bowl of pretty rocks in my office. One day in session a client was having a particularly hard time and expressed that she was not sure what she would do until the next session. I asked her if she wanted to take one of my rocks home with her as a kind of reminder of our work together. She had seen this bowl of rocks for several months, as it was right on the coffee table during our sessions. She seemed very interested and intrigued and I asked her to pick out one and take it home and maybe put it somewhere she could see or pick it up and hold it when she wanted to get in better touch with the work we were doing together, or the goals she had made, or anything else that helped. The following session she came in so excited. She told me she had used the rock in a few ways. She had taken it to a dinner with her father and kept it in her pocket and thought of me when she had an urge to leave the table and purge. She had left it by her nightstand and when she woke up at night she saw it there and it was comforting. A few times it had even helped her not see the comfort of food in the late-night hours. We were both a bit astonished at how well this worked, and from then on I have been using transitional objects.
My favorite story is the client who came back after taking a rock home and told me, I put it on the back of the toilet seat and sure enough when I went in there to purge, there you were! And I couldn’t do it.
The above stories are really good ones, but do not be disappointed if you try this and the results are not so dramatic. Anything you do will take time, but for transitional objects to be effective you also need to be in a place in your recovery where you want to be reminded of your desire to get better.
6. Choose a reward or consequence to help you changefor the behavior: (This last tip for change is described in the following section.)
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