Mirror Workshop Summary Held On The 9th July 2010

Elia, I., 2010. Mirror Workshop Summary Held On The 9th July 2010. Reformulation, Winter, p.47.


After a short introductory word about mirroring between infants and parents; mirrors and self-discovery with chimps and dolphins; and ‘mirror/copy’ as one reciprocal role (RR) and ‘react to reflection of self in mirror as if to another’ as the other RR, we began to look at our faces in hand mirrors. Any observed internal script, voice/feeling, or element of appearance (expression, muscle tension, action, degree of eye contact with the self) was noted.

We wondered who, reciprocally, is really in the mirror. Are the voices of the self in dialogue? What script or feeling corresponded to appearances such as raised shoulders, chin thrust out, not smiling, frown, lip biting, and touching, picking on, or pulling the skin or hair? No one dared go further and look in the full length mirror.

The Inner Voice Check (IVC - see Reformulation, summer 2007) helped us hear our inner voice(s) more clearly. There were the critical, nitpicking, and stifling comments, usual in our society. And there were poignant descriptions of sorrow, worry, anxiety, anger, and guilt sometimes seen in the reflections, as well as sadness about resembling the parent who triggered or modelled these roles for us. Better to notice these reactions as part of the RR reverberation than to simply assign them to self without any insight about origins in role interactions.

And, encouragingly, there was at least one of the 15 present who could say ‘you’re not so bad’ to the reflection.

The questions for future explorations with the mirror are ‘Can a slight change in the expression be seen if the internal script is tweaked? Will the script alter if the expression or another aspect of appearance is slightly changed, such as the tilt of the head or the gaze? Would certain unhelpful feelings, such as hopelessness, shift when both script and appearance are noted and reframed?’

Observations and experiments in role change using reflections await us and our clients.

Full Reference

Elia, I., 2010. Mirror Workshop Summary Held On The 9th July 2010. Reformulation, Winter, p.47.

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