Using the Ideal Parent Figure Protocol for Triggers

The Ideal Parent Figure Protocol was designed to move people into secure attachment.

Basically, in the first years of life, the patterns of how we relate to people are set to a degree. Of course, these patterns can change, especially when any big or traumatic events happen.

This is called the Internal Working Model of how a child interacts and builds relationships.

That Model can be changed. We can use the imagination to give the mind new experiences of connection. We can imagine getting different developmental needs met with the Ideal Parents.

However, we can also use IPF to work with triggers. It’s really best to be working with a professional if you bring up any triggers. It’s also important to ONLY practice this if you’re in a good place, feeling positive.

You might want to remember some positive memories first to get resourced.

Also, it’s important to take time to get used to the Ideal Parents. With clients, I like to do at least five or six sessions with just the protocol. Just taking time to get comfortable with the Ideal Parents, and get a steady connection and atttunement to them. Also getting used to just being with them, to having a relationship with them. It’s good to become familiar with feeling soothed and supported by the Ideal Parents, learning to trust them. Getting comfortable with being delighted in, feeling their love and stability.

Once that is firmly established we might Strat working on triggers.

It’s better to start with smaller triggers that don’t cause much disregulation.

How does this work ?

Basically, you identify a recent trigger. Say, you had some anxiety around your boss recently.

We can then go into the IPF protocol. We can take some time in the meditative posture, so some deep breathing, start settling in.

Next we imagine a safe place, making sure to get really detailed about it, imagining how it feels there, how it smells, if it’s outside or inside, and allowing time to get settled into a sense of safety.

At that point, I might invite the client to get in touch with those anxious feeling he or she experienced around the boss.

We haven’t regressed to childhood, so this is still as an adult.

Perhaps thoughts and feelings might come up, but for now we just slow down, and feel the sensations.

If the feelings get too big or become too intense, we stop right there. Perhaps we invoke the Ideal Parents to provide feelings of safety.

If the feelings are manageable, we can focus on the sensations, notice where they are in the body, and simply dwell with them.

Next we can notice what emotions and feeling come up. Then we can notice what thoughts or beliefs can up.

Now that we’re in touch with that state of being in that memory, we can just float back to childhood and see of any memories show up.

Often the mind will connect those feelings to an initial event when they became anchored in our minds. This might be when all those beliefs became attached to those feelings.

Perhaps you have a memory of being yelled by your father at 8 yrs old now.

We can freeze that scene and call in the Ideal Parents. We can then have the Ideal Parents go over to the child. The child can give voice to what’s happening. The Ideal Parents can provide support, safety, and soothing.

We can also first take that angry father and put him in a bubble, or shrink him down to 1 inch tall to make the scene even more safe.

I might remind the client they are really in a room now, perfectly safe, and this is all in the imagination.

I myself might include parts work or resource therapy, but you can have the child express what they need to to the father, or have the Ideal Parents express it for the child.

Make sure you constantly check your body for any activations. If things get too intense immediately go back to your safe place.

If hit feels finished, the child can go off with the Ideal Parents. They can go to the safe place, or any place the child wants to go.

Basically, you are causing an activation, and then giving the mind a new experience, a mismatch. You are giving the mind a new expectation, that when that specific feeling of anxiety comes up the mind will associate it with being nourished and understood.

You may have to repeat it a few times, and it’s good to make a deep impression of this feelings of safety and soothing so they become deeply anchored in your body.

There’s plenty more, but I hope that helps !

Any comments I’d love to hear, thank you.

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