In this clinical example, Allen demonstrated a rather prototypical SP that he calls “Unknown”. This naming itself showed a mysterious and alienating nature of his SP. Although direct contact with SP on outpatient basis can be risky and problematic, I decided with Allen to try to contact Unknown as it seemed to want to express itself in order to be better settled inside. Otherwise Allen’s physical sense of pressure and urgency was enormous and intolerable. We also agreed that if a couple of trial session does not work, we should stop the process. This Unknown typically exemplifies four conditions mentioned earlier: aggressiveness, inaccessibility, temporary appearance and physical sensation that it elicits in the individual. As far as the types of IWA are involved, Unknown seems to have gone through all of them, as evidenced by various fragments of his utterance. Some of them attack Allen himself and others are obviously directed toward his parents. Some of them sounded like rescuing him. This indicates that possibly all the IWA(1-3) occurred at the same time to a different degree, allowing his SP(Unknown) to possess all of these features. At any rate, Allen and I could proceed with this process due to our sense of security and a good therapeutic relationship.
In this study, I presented some ideas about what I call SP and how it manifests itself, as well as how it can be dealt with in clinical settings. Parts of personality similar or equivalent to SPs have been documented and discussed by various authors. While drawing on them I put together some of their specific features and characteristics: anger/aggressiveness, difficulty being identified, temporary appearance in critical situations and quasi-physical presence felt and experienced by the individual.
Based on Ferenczi’s theory of the IWA, three types of situations leading to the IWA are proposed: where 1. a child identifies with the aggressive aspect of the aggressor (i.e., “becoming” an aggressor), 2. a child identifies with the internal image of oneself in the aggressor’s mind and aggression is directed inward, and 3. a child identifies with a bystander (both in reality, and fantasy) and aggression is used in support of the child.
I proposed that delineation of the notion of SP could be beneficial clinically, as the name SP reflects how (host parts of the) patients’ personalities experience them. As many patients’ life centers around fear and concern about how to avoid or deal with their own SPs, psycho-educational approach to other parts of the personality using this notion can be of help in focusing on the therapeutic goal. Although the clinical example demonstrates the way the patient’s SP was directly contacted, I also underlined that whether or not to deal with SPs directly depends largely on a therapeutic contexts. There could be many cases where SP should be left dormant in order for the patient to stay functional.