Husband Material

Outgrowing Porn Through Parts Work (with Dr. Gerry Crete)

January 22, 2024 Drew Boa
Husband Material
Outgrowing Porn Through Parts Work (with Dr. Gerry Crete)
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

How can parts work help us outgrow porn? Dr. Gerry Crete combines Christian faith, internal family systems, attachment theory, and EMDR into a powerful approach to outgrowing porn. Learn why we need to work with parts pre-emptively, how to "break the spell" when you're in a trance state, and practical ways Jesus can meet our attachment needs.

Dr. Gerry Crete is a marriage and family therapist and professional counselor who specializes in the treatment of trauma, addictions, and anxiety disorders. He is a former president of the Catholic Psychotherapy Association, founder of Transfiguration Counseling, and co-founder of Souls and Hearts. Dr. Gerry has long been passionate about integrating principles of the Christian faith with effective mental health treatment. 

Buy Gerry's new book (this is a paid link):

Litanies of the Heart: Relieving Post-Traumatic Stress and Calming Anxiety Through Healing Our Parts

Speaker 1:

Welcome to the Husband Material podcast, where we help Christian men outgrow porn. Why? So you can change your brain, heal your heart and save your relationship. My name is Drew Boa and I'm here to show you how let's go. Today, we are talking about parts work with Dr Jerry Crete, who is an amazing man. He's a therapist who specializes in working with sex addiction survivors of sexual abuse, and he comes at this from a combination of clinical psychology and Christian faith, specializing in IFS, internal family systems, emdr and a host of other approaches that he combines into a really wonderful wealth of wisdom that you are going to get. In this episode. You're going to learn what parts work is all about, how it can help you outgrow porn and how it can be part of your Christian faith, informing a secure attachment with God, and we go through a couple of different exercises. You can do prayers and meditations in order to receive the love of Jesus where you need it the most. Where your heart may be closed, it can open up and allow you to experience the intimacy that you were created for. Welcome to Husband Material. Today, I'm hanging out with Dr Jerry Crete, founder of Transfiguration Counseling and author of a brand new book on Christ-centered internal family systems and EMDR Healing Trauma. It's called Littenies of the Heart relieving post-traumatic stress and calming anxiety through healing our parts. This is an awesome book. I got a chance to read it and endorse it, so I'm excited. Thanks for coming, jerry.

Speaker 2:

Hey, great to be here.

Speaker 1:

Awesome. Today we're talking about working with our parts, something that we've discussed many times on the show before. If you could summarize it, what is parts work?

Speaker 2:

Parts. Work really is about looking inside oneself and realizing that we're not an inner monolith or our personality is not just one thing, but in fact there is a rich diversity or there's a complexity to our inner world. Within that inner world we have what we call parts. Some people understand it as subpersonalities or maybe an aspect of self. When I explain it often I'm like well, when you meet me as, say, a therapist, you're getting a part of me, a version of me. It's truly me, but you're getting a whole set of skills, maybe feelings, thoughts and everything. You'll encounter me, this part of me. If you met me on the weekend with friends over and we're having a beer or something like that, you're going to get a different version of me. It's still me, but you're going to get different aspects of who I am. We have all these different parts within us that are actually resources. They're actually useful Internal family systems, which is one of the major parts. Work approaches. They categorize them like some parts, like managers. That therapist part of me is like a manager part, probably. Or we may have other parts that are serving some protective role of some kind. We also have parts that may have been exiled a little bit outside of our system that we're not really in touch with. That maybe are carrying wounds from the past or carrying strong emotions. We kind of manage those away. Just in the nutshell, that's just a little sense of parts.

Speaker 1:

We also have parts of us that want to use porn. How can that possibly be a resource?

Speaker 2:

When we have an exiled, wounded part and these parts are like you can think about it, like an inner child or something, because usually they're children. These are parts that have been hurt in the past with some kind of trauma or something they're carrying usually of strong feelings of fear or shame or pain, maybe sadness, those strong, heavy emotions. We keep those at bay. We keep those in our inner system that sometimes so far as to say they're in our more unconscious mind. We're not even aware of them. Most of the time we have protect and our managers are really good at being busy and doing things and keeping those wounded parts away. Sometimes things happen where we get overwhelmed, maybe we're burnt out, maybe there's something going on in our lives. Whatever the strong emotions usually, or memories sometimes of those wounded parts start to appear and start to overwhelm the system and the manager parts can't handle it. We have another kind of part in IFS. They call it a firefighter part, another kind of part that comes in to kind of manage and cope. They tend to be their whole goal is to make sure the system's not overwhelmed by the fear, by the shame, by the pain, whatever it is. They'll do whatever they can. They don't care so much about what other people think. Usually they're just about taking care of the job. So they call the firefighter. If your house is on fire, the firemen come and they don't care about your carpet, your drapes, your front door, they're just going to take out the fire. So when you think about porn then or anything, that is, whether it's pornography, alcohol use, any kind of behavior that may seem maybe problematic in some way in reality for the parts, for the firefighter part, it's doing its job to take away or numb out whatever that motion is. So its intention is to help the system. But it's doing it in a way that is could then have side effects later. Right. First of all, the act itself could be moral, it could be problematic or go against one's values. Other parts get very upset afterwards and so there's a sort of cycle of shame, all kinds of things go on. But if you look at it deeply and I know you've talked about porn a lot in your show right and overcoming that and everything, but it's essentially an effort. I've found looking at porn or any kind of sexual acting out behavior is an effort by the system, by a part of the system, to get some kind of intimacy need met and stop some kind of pain or shame from happening. And so when you realize that the parts work approach is about not pushing away that part of you which is the natural tendency, right, and our manager parts are going to be like, can we please make that go away? You know, our more moral parts, make it go away like put it in a dungeon.

Speaker 1:

And that's purity culture.

Speaker 2:

Yes, yes, very much. So that part gets shamed, that part gets pushed away. But you can't ever actually get rid of a part that way, and so it will show up again when the system's overwhelmed. And so what we want to do instead is we actually want to draw that part closer, in fact, and we want to actually acknowledge it and say okay, I see you. So you have to have a little space between you and the part, first of all, so the part can't be taken over. It can't be like running the system. If you're in full blown addiction mode, your part is running the show and it's very difficult to get access. So you have to be able to separate yourself a little bit from that part, to actually get it in your line of sight, so to speak, or at least sense it in some way, to be able to communicate which is amazing that we can communicate to our parts. We want to make sure we're not actually communicating one of our upset judging moral parts, manager parts to engage with this part. That's not what we're interested in doing. We're interested in coming from our core, in most self, and having from that place of self that is compassionate, that is Christ-like, that is able to meet this other part with curiosity and be able to say, hey, I see you and I realize you're trying to stop the pain and or you're trying to have our needs, get our needs met. And so in a way, this is going to sound strange Thank you for your effort, because your intention is actually good. And I find when you say thank you to your part like this kind of part there's never been thanked, because it's only been judged and it's in, it probably lives with a lot of shame itself and it's in hiding right everything else the part is like suddenly like softens and suddenly like something is happening to this part that it didn't expect it's being related to. And then you can go a little deeper too with that and be like but would you be open to trying a different way to manage bad and difficult emotions? Would you be open to trying a different way to get our intimacy needs met? And so what you're really trying to do is you're trying to have that part work with you and when, especially when you discover, yeah, when you discover that the part is actually not your enemy, just sort of seems that way.

Speaker 1:

Absolutely so. Instead of fighting a battle against this part, I'm befriending this part, exactly. Yeah, very different approach, and sometimes guys wonder like Is this really in line with my Christian faith?

Speaker 2:

Well, yeah, and I would say absolutely. And the truth is Christ himself, which really I see Christ as the model for our inmost self. Right, and so he went and met with people who were, you know, as they say, prostitutes, tax collectors, what have you? He met with all the firefighters. He met with the people who were in most trouble, that were being judged and shunned and exiled by the society. So he goes there and he befriends them, and he doesn't befriend them to leave them in their, you know, dysregulation or their immorality or whatever it is they're in. He doesn't. He wants to draw them out right, and so befriending has to happen First. Think about, like, even evangelizing, like how effective is evangelizing our neighbor if we don't befriend them right? You gotta get to know them, you gotta know where their heart is at and you discover, even if their lives are messed up, they're doing their best or they're trying in some way. They just need help.

Speaker 1:

That's so true In the Gospels. Consistently, we always see Jesus as moving toward those who are hurting or trapped or in a cycle of sin.

Speaker 2:

Another piece. That's sort of interesting right. Like I don't want to characterize our manager parts as just Pharisees, right, but sometimes they can take on that role. Some of the manager parts end up taking a role of just judging and all that and shunning and everything. But we also need to be aware of that that we have parts that don't want to be friend, a part that is actively trying to use porn or whatnot, and so we also need to get those parts on board. So we need to not ignore our manager parts, because they will react later if we don't include them also in the process. So we're actually going to. We also want to address the inner conflicts that exist between the parts that are wanting to be good and morally upright and the parts that are struggling and feel defeated or feeling overwhelmed and are coping in negative ways. We want those parts to work together ultimately too.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, At husband and material. We often talk about doing inner child work and relating to those exiles, those wounded young parts of us. How do you relate to the managers and the protectors?

Speaker 2:

In terms of those managers, you got to get their permission as well. And so, in other words, before you talk to the wounded part, you have to get permission from all the protectors and the firefighters yes, but also these managers and you have to get permission from the managers to talk to the firefighters. So what we'll often do, especially in the IFS model, is to say what I would like to do right now is try something kind of different. I know this manager part also, this manager part also good intention. You intend you're trying to protect me. You intend good things. You want to uphold our values, our integrity. You want to uphold what we believe. Thank you, awesome, you're amazing. But what I need from you right now is to be more of a wingman, or I need you to be like take a step back, just not out of the room necessarily, but like just to my left and slightly behind me. Let's say I want you to observe, I want you to observe what's going on and I want to hear from you afterward your thoughts. So that's your job right now. And it sounds funny to talk to your inner self this way, but it's amazing how it works. And then you say is that okay? And the part has to agree. If they don't agree, then you want to find out why and everything else, and maybe you have trust issues with you and that part and that you need to work through. But if the part agrees, then they kind of take on that role of stepping back and then you work with the firefighter and what you're wanting to have happen is, as you're empathizing and relating and befriending to the firefighter, and that happens, then you check back with the manager and you're like what do you think of that? Do you believe that? Is that BS? Or is that like? Is that happening? And usually the manager part would be like I can't even believe I would never have. Okay, that's cool. But usually they're like they've never seen that side of the firefighter. So they're like and then you're like okay, awesome. So if the firefighters new role now would be to protect the Exxon in a new way and the manager's role is to support it, we now have a new way of working together. So now our inner system is now working together cooperatively toward healing and the person running it, so to speak I won't say part, because it's not a part is your core in most self, and in IFS terms they would call that self leadership. So you're actually, you know, leading your own self and there you're having access to grace, you're having access, obviously, to Holy Spirit, you're having access to Christ Himself to help you in that project. So it's transformative.

Speaker 1:

It really is, and you have to experience it to fully get it. In this podcast, we want to give you guys a taste of what it's like to connect with Jesus from your inmost self and receive His love in all of our parts, and Jerry has created some wonderful prayers for us to be able to do. That called Litany's of the Heart, which is the title of his book, and today we thought it would be cool to pray one. Yes, we are going to do the Litany of the Closed Heart. Jerry, can you say more about this?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yeah. So originally wrote these prayers because I wanted to have a way to actually experience and process in a real, not just a cognitive way, but actually a prayerful way to connect with Christ. And since I discovered that Christ really is our model of our inmost self. Christ is the model of a secure attachment and that's what his goal is. Christ's goal is to have secure attachment with us. Christ's goal is to bring us into secure attachment with the Father, and so the inmost self, the self, has a goal in our internal system to have secure attachment with all of these parts, so that all of these parts are working together in harmony and the system just feels joyful and peaceful and functional and all that. So what I thought of here is I was using attachment theory, which is psychological theory many people might be familiar with. That's really grounded in this idea that we come at it because of our life traumas and various things that happen to us. We typically attach to people in insecure ways, so we might be avoidant, we might we void intimacy or we avoid. We react to negative things by withdrawing and closing up, or some people react to negative things by being super anxious and very reactive, and so on. And so each of these, the three litanies that are in the book, are based on three insecure attachment styles. And the closed heart one is based on that avoidant one, which a lot of guys do. I would say this is the one guys use the most. There's variety and sometimes we use more than one, but this is the one that is most common. And so because that's guys we and I know, myself included if I am in a conflict with my wife or something like that, my instinct is to just go away like go hide in the basement, just nobody talked to me. I'm just going to go like a turtle on my shell or whatever, and I think a lot of guys relate to that, and so, and if somebody tries to poke me with emotions, I'm just like I don't want to hear it right. And so what the litany does is it starts from that place of closeness, right and avoidance and invites Christ into that. And, as you'll see when we pray it, the idea is we grow into recognizing that Christ can support us and help us into a place of secure attachment, and once we get to that place with Him and within ourselves, suddenly we're able to relate to if it's our wife or whoever we're able to relate to them in a different way, not insecurely.

Speaker 1:

Wonderful. Before we go into the prayer, I just want to acknowledge that this might be a new and unfamiliar experience for you, so I encourage you to open your mind and try it out, and if it's not for you, that's okay too. Let's do it.

Speaker 2:

Awesome. In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, amen. Lord Jesus, you created me in love and for love. Bring me to a place of vulnerability within the safety of your loving arms. Help me today by transforming my closed heart into a heart that can love you, myself and my neighbor as you intend. Jesus, I offer you my heart with all its suffering. Jesus, I offer you my heart with all its hurts. Jesus, I offer you my heart with all its burdens. Jesus, I offer you my heart with all its joy and all its lack of joy.

Speaker 1:

Jesus, I offer you my heart with all its love and all its lack of love.

Speaker 2:

Jesus, son of God, have mercy on me when I'm withdrawn.

Speaker 1:

Lord have mercy.

Speaker 2:

When I'm consumed with worry.

Speaker 1:

Lord have mercy.

Speaker 2:

When I numb out.

Speaker 1:

Lord have mercy.

Speaker 2:

When I feel cynical.

Speaker 1:

Lord have mercy.

Speaker 2:

When I lose trust.

Speaker 1:

Lord have mercy.

Speaker 2:

When I'm distracted.

Speaker 1:

Lord have mercy.

Speaker 2:

When I try to escape my feelings.

Speaker 1:

Lord have mercy.

Speaker 2:

When my body holds my stress.

Speaker 1:

Lord have mercy.

Speaker 2:

When I'm under pressure.

Speaker 1:

Lord have mercy.

Speaker 2:

When I'm filled with anger.

Speaker 1:

Lord have mercy.

Speaker 2:

When I become obsessed with tasks.

Speaker 1:

Lord have mercy.

Speaker 2:

When I feel the urge to act out.

Speaker 1:

Lord have mercy.

Speaker 2:

When I feel ashamed.

Speaker 1:

Lord have mercy.

Speaker 2:

When I feel unforgiven.

Speaker 1:

Lord have mercy.

Speaker 2:

Jesus, I know you love me in all my wounds.

Speaker 1:

Lord have mercy.

Speaker 2:

Jesus, my helper open my heart. Jesus, light of my mind open my heart. Jesus, my guide open my heart. Jesus, my teacher open my heart. Jesus, bread of life open my heart. Jesus face of mercy open my heart. Jesus, my redeemer open my heart. Jesus, my life open my heart. Jesus, my desire open my heart. Jesus, my comforter open my heart. Jesus, my trust open my heart. Jesus, my safe haven open my heart. Jesus, you created me in love.

Speaker 1:

Hold me in your arms.

Speaker 2:

Jesus, you created me for love.

Speaker 1:

Hold me in your arms.

Speaker 2:

Jesus, you created me to be loved.

Speaker 1:

Hold me in your arms.

Speaker 2:

Jesus, you created my heart.

Speaker 1:

Hold me in your arms.

Speaker 2:

Jesus, you see my heart.

Speaker 1:

Hold me in your arms.

Speaker 2:

Jesus, you know my true heart.

Speaker 1:

Hold me in your arms.

Speaker 2:

Jesus, you comfort my heart.

Speaker 1:

Hold me in your arms.

Speaker 2:

Jesus, you treasure my heart.

Speaker 1:

Hold me in your arms.

Speaker 2:

Jesus, you encourage my heart.

Speaker 1:

Hold me in your arms.

Speaker 2:

Jesus, you created me as your beloved.

Speaker 1:

Hold me in your arms.

Speaker 2:

Jesus, awaken and restore my stony heart.

Speaker 1:

I trust in you.

Speaker 2:

Jesus receive my new heart.

Speaker 1:

I trust in you.

Speaker 2:

Jesus draw close to me in my struggles.

Speaker 1:

I trust in you.

Speaker 2:

Jesus, forgive me.

Speaker 1:

I trust in you.

Speaker 2:

Jesus, give me new life.

Speaker 1:

I trust in you.

Speaker 2:

Jesus, hold me.

Speaker 1:

I trust in you.

Speaker 2:

Jesus, contain my stress.

Speaker 1:

I trust in you.

Speaker 2:

Jesus relieve the pressure.

Speaker 1:

I trust in you.

Speaker 2:

Jesus, comfort my pain.

Speaker 1:

I trust in you.

Speaker 2:

Jesus, help me see that I'm not defined by what I do.

Speaker 1:

I trust in you.

Speaker 2:

Jesus, let all my actions flow from your love for me.

Speaker 1:

I trust in you.

Speaker 2:

Jesus, you give meaning to my life.

Speaker 1:

I trust in you.

Speaker 2:

Jesus, help me love and forgive others.

Speaker 1:

I trust in you.

Speaker 2:

Jesus, help me embrace my vulnerability.

Speaker 1:

I trust in you.

Speaker 2:

Lord, you are the healer of my soul and my heart. I ask that through this prayer, you will transform me more and more into the likeness of your precious and sacred heart. Let your kindness and compassion transform my heart and bring me always into the security of your loving embrace. And the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, amen.

Speaker 1:

Amen.

Speaker 2:

Awesome. How was that for you?

Speaker 1:

It was good. It was so different from the harshness that we often feel toward ourselves in these moments, mm-hmm. It was like some warmth and and light shining in on our darkness and melting our hard hearts and our cold loneliness when we're in those places of pain and temptation. And it might seem repetitive, but to me it also felt very simple and doable and for that reason it was resonating.

Speaker 2:

Mm-hmm. Yeah, there's something in the, in the repetitiveness, that is sort of a soothing like, if you're open to it, like a kind of a soothing, and I'm not gonna remember off the top of my head, but there's certain Psalms that have that repetitive quality to it that we would call those the earliest litanies that we know of, or in the Psalms, and so the idea here is is just to allow it to wash over you, like kind of like waves of the ocean is just like a you know, and, and in this prayer in particular, you start off by just saying Lord of Mercy, like that's the you know what the publicans prayer, like that's the guy in the temple basically saying Lord of Mercy, I'm a sinner, and so you're just coming to him like, yeah, I'm a mess, have mercy. And then it's like you're asking him, you know, to be present. You know, open my heart, and then hold me. So you're moving from a place of like, just, I'm a mess right now to a place of like, come here, jesus, to a place of open my heart and then holding me, being held, which is what we need, right, we just need to be held in all of this and then eventually getting to that place of being able to say I trust in you, right, and as you go through the prayer. The idea is that you walk through that little emotional or spiritual path and you know what, at different times, in different places. You may only get so far. It's okay. And I would say to people too like adapt the prayer. If there's a line you don't like, don't say it.

Speaker 1:

Absolutely, and this is just one example of integrating our Christian faith with the best of clinical research and psychology. That's what I really appreciated about your book, most of all, because there's not a lot of thoughtful resources that integrate those two things.

Speaker 2:

That's my passion really is to integrate Christian faith with psychological approaches that are really sound. I mean, the main one in there is parts work, you know, which is internal family systems and Ecosytherapy are the main well-known parts work approaches and it's just so useful and powerful those approaches clinically. So as a therapist I was using those and I was like, oh my gosh, people are like changing quickly and they're coming back just after one week, two weeks, saying I'm relating to people better and I'm feeling more peace inside. I'm like, wow, I've never seen that kind of change that quickly in other methods. The closest is the MDR, but that's usually because you're dealing with some major trauma and processing and so you'll see some results fairly quickly. But just in terms of like everyday relating, people were just being transformed and I was like, okay, this is working. But why is it working and how does it fit with my beliefs? Because what is this part stuff Like it's effective, but is it true, you know like, and is it biblical? And is it, you know, is it found within the tradition of Christianity anywhere? And that led me into wanting to explore. And in the book there's a section in each chapter is this little scripture study where I didn't want to just do proof texts Like I didn't want to just because I can. There's some great ones where St Paul talks about doing what he doesn't want to do, and there's times where St Paul mentions the most self. So you can just name those and you sometimes have to. But I want to go deeper and you know what is? What is Ephesians all about? And like how does the whole letter to the Ephesians actually reflect a deeper understanding of the body of Christ and understanding our parts and how that applies to the person? And so so I really went into that. So like there's a psychological section in each chapter where I explain the psychology of it. Then there's a scripture study of each section and then there's a meditation like the litanies. But there's other types of meditations in the book that are meant to make it real, so that you don't just talk about it and hear about it and think that's interesting, but you actually kind of experience it too.

Speaker 1:

Absolutely, and some of those exercises in the book are things that you can do on your own. So it's not just information, it's experience and transformation, and it's also not just something you would do in a session with a professional coach or counselor or therapist. These tools and skills empower you for your everyday life and for those moments when you're really struggling. Jerry, can you give an example of how parts work can help someone in the moment of struggling with porn?

Speaker 2:

So, of course, it's always going to be good to be as preemptive as you can, and so having self-awareness and gaining an understanding of your internal system is so important and to be practicing this I would almost say that this is a practice that you can include in your prayer life. So if every morning, you get up and whatever prayers or devotions you do, you could include a check-in with your parts, like just looking see, is there any part of me activated, is there any part of me that needs attention? And just checking it I think is a great activity to do to be preemptive, because whenever I work with guys because I've done a lot of work, I used to run a group for guys with sexual addictions for over 10 years and multiple groups and I love doing that work and it is so funny a guy would show up and be like I had a relapse or I looked at porn again. It's been six months and I haven't, you know, and you're like and I don't know why I did the guy's like I don't have no idea why, right. And then you ask a few questions and you're like, yeah, but your dog died Monday, you got to fight with your wife and you know you have this project of work that's failing and you didn't connect the dots of these stressors in your life to maybe why you acted out with porn the other day and so, and they're like, oh yeah. And so you know if we can gain that self-awareness to connect those dots and recognize our own vulnerabilities and where we're going to be weak. And so we have to know where our vulnerabilities are and then be a little preemptive. And so then we think ahead and reflect on OK, how am I going to take care of that part when I'm in the hotel, or how am I going to take care of that part now that I know I've got all these stressors going on? And so we actively work with our parts in advance. That's always preferable and that's what we got to get to, because it's very difficult in the moment. So I would compare it to like being under a spell, because it's like a trance state in an ecosystem therapy, which is a type of parts work. You have to be training clinical hypnosis in order to get certified in the state therapy, which is it's like IFS, but it's works a little bit more with dissociative disorders, works a little bit more going at a deeper level, possibly into the unconscious mind and all that. And so when you, when you go into a trance state, in a clinical hypnosis situation, all you it's nothing magical or anything, it's just you're you're going to a deeper state of consciousness, right, where you're accessing the unconscious mind more so, and you're able to work with parts that that aren't always available to you, and you're able to do a lot of healing work. You're able to do a lot of emotionally corrective stuff, and so that's what you would do in that kind of therapy at a deep level. But what's happening when you start looking important like even if you just start like you go online, maybe you just go on, I know sports illustrated site, or you're looking at TikTok videos or something, and you enter into a trance state. You're in a hypnotic state, you just doing it to yourself and you're not even realizing it. And so you enter into that mild hypnotic trance where you're suggestible. And so now, all of a sudden, you're seeing these images. Maybe it's if it's sports illustrated, it may be nothing technically pornographic, right, you're being drawn in, that part of you is being activated, right. And now you're suggestible. And so then you start looking at more things. So you're basically hypnotizing yourself into repeating a behavior. You're reinforcing a behavior that is meeting some need not in a healthy way, but in an illusory way but you're meeting some kind of intimacy need and so you're really reinforcing a behavior at a deep, unconscious level. And this is happening across, not just pornography. This is why people are addicted to their phones, this is why people are in video games, everything else. We're entering into these trance states and we're not realizing it, where all these things are being reinforced. So if you're in that state by yourself the minute you get there, it's a very difficult thing to suddenly get out of it on your own. It's quite hard. That's why I'm preaching the preemptive stuff. But it's not impossible and what it means is, in IFS terms, it would be a question of unblending. So that means you're separating, you're accessing the inmost yourself in order to push that part a little bit away, enough to have access to it to work with it. So in the same way, you're having to almost exit the trance state. When you're in a trance, you don't have the self-awareness usually to do that. Sometimes something can wake you out of it, like somebody knocks at your door or you get a phone call or something, and so you're like oh yeah, so very, very difficult to do by yourself. So, once the train has left the station, it's a real challenge to suddenly stop it on your own, and that's why it leads into problems, because you're no longer having access to the will, your core, inmost self, having access to the will in order to make a free moral choice at that point.

Speaker 1:

I hear you saying that parts work certainly can help in the moment, but ideally it's part of preemptively setting ourselves up for those situations.

Speaker 2:

And if you do what I'm saying, which is, you practice every day, you're touched with your parts, if you still fall into that state where you're under that spell, as I call it, you have a way better chance of awakening the core self to be able to say whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, stop, stop. And then, doing something like I would say if you go for a run or you throw water on your face or if you smell something that's strong or pungent, you have a chance of breaking out of that spell. Basically, You're disrupting that system to some extent. And then you get a little moment, there's a little space in there to be able to say, hey, stop. If you can do that, that would be fantastic. And then, moreover, then, with that little tiny space and that little break, with that little distance, you can connect with the part that's acting out in order to be able to say okay, I'm not gonna shove you into the dungeon right now. I want to actually understand what's going on for you, and that that's that befriending we were talking about. Now, if you've never befriended that part ever before, it's gonna be almost impossible to do it in that moment. But if you have befriended that part before, you may actually be able to reach it. So all the preemptive work is so helpful.

Speaker 1:

Hey, man, and that's where going through a process like husband material academy or working with an IFS therapist can give you a foundation to be able to do that.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, exactly, exactly.

Speaker 1:

And also we can practice inviting Jesus into those moments and connecting our parts with him.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I really like, like the litanies kind of, is an effort to do that and it's a little bit intentional because it's written out and it's based, hopefully, on sound theology in terms of who Christ is, and it's based on, you know, that a lot of the thoughts are being named that most of us have and so that you don't have to do any work with that. So I'm always gonna be an advocate, of course, doing that. But also, you know, in general one can ask Christ right at any point in time to be president, and if you can do that you know, wonderful. I would say it would be worth exploring also what you believe about Christ normally, If anybody was to ask you what you would say, and also exploring what you might not always realize you believe about Christ in your heart that may not actually be true.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, in the book you talk about the difference between our God concept and our God image.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yeah. So we go to Sunday school, we learn about Jesus, we know all the right answers, typically In our heart of hearts, though we may help be holding something else and that may be at a very unconscious level. So it's, you know, we're not aware of it. So what can happen is at times, like we may have a let's say, it's a manager part that believes that maybe, deep down, if God really saw me in my shame, he would hate me. Right, he's supposed to love me because he's God, but deep down he hates me or something, or I'm bad. And usually that's coming from experience of others, right, maybe it's caregivers from our childhood or something, or some experience where we felt that way and that's sort of transposed onto God. And so I think it's important, if you do any kind of deeper work where you're inviting Christ, in that you really wanna be sure that you have looked at the parts of you that are holding those false beliefs, and it's not a question of just correcting them like okay, that's wrong, and you know, just like we were talking about the part that was wanting to look at porn and you don't just like you're wrong, you're bad, go away. It's more like okay, where did that come from and what is it? And you're approaching the part that is believes deep down that God hates me. Let's say, or I'm unworthy. I mean on some level, yeah, we're all unworthy of God's love, of course, but that he loves me anyway might not be what the part actually believes. And so approaching that again, without befriending and being able to not just intellectually correct it but actually say what kind of experience can we have here to help you actually see how God truly does love you? And in that I like to do experiential things. So the litany is an example, but the things I like to do would be to like enter into the gospel stories. I learned this from type of spirituality called Ignatian spirituality, but it's basically where you take a scene right, so it's a trustworthy thing, it's from the Bible, and the ones I typically pick would be the baptism of Jesus and the washing of the feet of the disciples before the last supper. So if you were to imagine what it would be like for it to be sitting in that upper room with all the disciples there and they're all sitting there and Christ comes into the room and then Christ decides he's gonna wash their feet, and so you see literally, if you can in your mind's eye, picture it, smell it, smell, see the scene, feel the scene, hear all the noises and you picture yourself in that scene and literally watching Christ like he's going over to each apostle and he's washing his feet, like think about that, you know. When we know in the story he goes to Peter and Peter says you can't wash my feet. And Jesus says you know, if I don't, you won't inherit the kingdom. And he said okay, then wash all of me. So you literally sit there and like experience what it would be like to be sitting there and seeing all this play out. But then what would it be like to imagine Christ literally coming over to you and then washing your feet, what it would be like for him to actually touch your feet with his hands, what it would be like to feel the water flowing over your hand, over your feet, and that Christ, who's God, right Christ himself is on his hands and knees, loving me enough with that kind of humility to like care for my feet. And if we can experience that, then maybe on that heart level it will teach that heart that may not believe that God really does love me, that no, experientially, like, truly he does, to the extent he wants me to feel him washing my feet, that's how much he loves me. If we can sit with that, like that kind of meditation, and we can sit with that kind of feeling of being so loved. And again you could use the prodigal son story like what is it like to be that son and literally see the father run to, like, literally run. You know, it has to not just be a cognitive thing like, of course the prodigal son is a good story. No, no, no, he literally ran. He wants to do that for you. He wants to run and he sees you and he's like then he runs. And he holds you, embraces you, he's so happy Like to feel it in your heart is so different than to know it in your head.

Speaker 1:

Amen.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, and I use the baptism of Jesus too, because I think it's another one where Jesus himself was baptized, which again is another act of humility by Jesus, because he doesn't technically need it, but he wants to show us the way, and so he's baptized by John, right, and he hears the words you are my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Well, if we know the the chronology of events in the gospel, jesus hasn't done anything yet, he's just showing up on the scene now. He hasn't started his ministry, he's about to, and God is, loves him and is basically proud of him and affirms him before he's done a thing. And so that's how he loves us. He loves us prior to our actions. If you can imagine what it would be like to join Christ and John in the in the waters, feel what it's like to have the waters of, feel the smells and see the crowd and everyone's there, and John is baptizing, or Jesus perhaps is baptizing you, you know, remember your own baptism. Perhaps in that moment and just take it in that God, the Father, wants to say to you as well you are my beloved Son and whom I'm well pleased. It's like that's what he wants you to know a priori. He wants you to know that before anything else. And now, with that love in your heart, with that affirmation now go do stuff right, you don't have to do anything to earn my love. That's the biggest one I hear all the time with people I work with, when I try to get at that heart level, is I find out that they really believe they have to earn God's love, no matter what you believe theologically and you've been told and everything else. Deep down I really do think I have to believe, I have to earn it. So how do you like get that out? You know, I feel like you have to experience those moments in the Gospels and if you do at a heart level, you'll get it.

Speaker 1:

That's actually perfect for this show, because I end every episode saying always remember you are Gospel of the Son and you he's well pleased.

Speaker 2:

Love it Love it.

Speaker 1:

You didn't even know that.

Speaker 2:

I didn't know that.

Speaker 1:

So, guys, if you hear the same thing coming at you from multiple sources, you know that we are onto something here, and oftentimes people can embrace the beloved son part, but the well pleased part that is a little more difficult to internalize.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, well, it's funny because in attachment theory, right, which is what I use, right, right, these litanies in part, they talk about our attachment needs and the way that when we feel securely attached, we are. This is based on research like Harvard study, research like the Brown and Elliott were the two researchers and they were studying attachment and they've discovered it was to be seen, to be known, to be encouraged and to be delighted in, delighted in, and I think that gets to the well pleased, right, because it's one thing, obviously he sees us, he knows us and of course, he's encouraging us to be holy or something, right? But does he actually delight in us? Do we allow ourselves to be delighted in? Right? And so, yeah, so that's being his beloved, and I really think, when I think of that, what my mind goes to is David, right, david dancing in front of the Ark, like I just think he was able to delight in the Lord, but he was delighted in. That's part of the joy of his dance, I think, because he knew he was beloved.

Speaker 1:

Which is why we also dance at every husband material. Oh, that right Nice.

Speaker 2:

Nice.

Speaker 1:

So I love that response of allowing ourselves to be delighted in even just a little bit more than before. This is the way to healing, this is the way to outgrowing porn and to meet our deeper attachment needs.

Speaker 2:

Amen.

Speaker 1:

So, guys, if you want to hear more about this Christ-centered, clinical, powerful approach, I would strongly recommend Litneys of the Heart. It's just coming out this week so you can find a link to it in the show notes, and then we've also got some links for you to be able to connect with Jerry and his team at Transfiguration Counseling. Jerry, what is your favorite thing about freedom from porn?

Speaker 2:

My favorite thing about freedom from porn. I mean it's the freedom part, isn't it? I mean it's an enslavement and, like I was saying before, it's a spell or you're being under some kind of trance, so you think you're getting what you need and you're not. So freedom is about living a life with joy and integrity and peace and connection and true intimacy.

Speaker 1:

Yes, and breaking the spell of the trance, yeah, so that we can wake up and live in alignment with our true identity. Because, my friend, you are God's beloved Son and in you he is well placed.

Parts Work in Healing From Addiction
Praying the Closed Heart Litany
Seeking Mercy and Comfort From Jesus
Integrating Christian Faith With Psychological Approaches
Understanding Hypnotic Trances and Preemptive Measures
Freedom From Porn

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