The Puzzle Pieces -- How do the pieces of
your life fit together?
graphics chosen for this site have been painstakingly
and meticulously detailed. It has been particularly
important to us to visually connect with the
life of traumatized folks as accurately as
possibly without triggering upsetting material.
The graphics used have layers of meaning and
show depth of understanding of the effects
of trauma and abuse.
puzzle metaphor is very much like the therapeutic
process. Initially there are so many pieces,
all going every which way, nothing makes sense
anywhere, and nobody knows what the final
picture will look like.
Finding the first match between pieces is
both an exciting and frustrating process.
What goes with what? Who belongs with whom?
What do you do with all the pieces that are
flipped over? What about the pieces whose
beautiful colors are not so obvious at first?
With so many pieces to choose from, where
on earth do you start? There is SO much trial
and error in the connecting of different pieces
of the puzzle. It’s all so very overwhelming.
Did you drop or lose any of the pieces?
you make a few connections between the various
pieces. Slowly but surely, as you work on
the puzzle, the picture starts to take shape.
One piece fits with another. Two pieces fit
together over there. Four pieces form a small
grouping over the other way. Be cautious about
making hasty judgments. Big chunks of the
puzzle can easily be put mistakenly on the
wrong side of the picture. Only as big groupings
fit together does it start to make sense.
is a process much like the assembling of a
puzzle, especially for a traumatized person.
The complexity is enormous. The pieces seem
unending. It seems like the pieces of your
life will never make sense, or that the working
on it will never be a completed task. Yet,
with consistency and determination, it does
come all together. Eventually everything makes
sense and fits into a whole. The truth in
the picture can be seen, and the healing tasks
can be accomplished.
dissociative folks, the metaphor of the puzzle
pieces has another level by representing the
different parts of their internal systems
– their internal alters, their internal
dissociated parts. Some parts may be brighter,
colorful, and more obvious than others. Some
will be dark and hidden. Some may be connected
closely with this group of parts but totally
separate from that group of parts. Some of
the internal parts are teeny tiny fragments
while some parts loom so big that they can’t
be seen in their entirety.
However, even though dissociative folks have
so many parts and pieces in their puzzle,
every single one of those pieces will play
an extremely important role in the completion
of the whole person. Absolutely all of the
parts are needed to make the picture complete.
None are thrown away or knocked off the table.
The internal system work in therapy is similar
to the working of a puzzle. Each puzzle piece
must find who it is connected to in order
to complete the work of art that its wholeness
provides. Each piece must make peace with
its surroundings in order to fit cohesively
together. Each piece has its unique place
in the puzzle, and a reason for it being there.
Each piece is individual and adds to the beauty
of the whole. Eventually, each piece learns
to truly connect with the other pieces, forming
bonds and relationships with those closest
All the pieces will make sense as the picture
of the life story comes together. Each piece
is there for a reason, adding its own truth
to the life-picture. On its own, the relevance
and importance of each piece may not be obvious,
but once put all together, their value for
the survival of the puzzle is obvious.
This visualization of the puzzle coming together
also represents the integrative and blending
process. The coming together as a whole picture
instead of being separate parts with only
a tiny part of the picture is like the internal
system coming together in co-consciousness,
the lowering of amnesiac barriers, and the
sharing of information.