Home » Blogs » The Therapist Within » Learning To Sit Beside Yourself

Learning To Sit Beside Yourself

Have you ever felt “beside yourself”?

Sort of in two places at once? Maybe shocked or surprised or even beside yourself with joy?

The Australian cartoonist and philosopher Michael Leunig, puts the experience this way:

“Come sit down beside me I said to myself,
And although it doesn’t makes sense,

I held my own hand
As a small sign of trust
And together I sat on the fence.”

So is there a way of inviting this “beside yourself” kind of experience?Intentionally invoking it? Where you deliberately sort of take a seat and then sit with yourself in consultation. Or maybe sit and wait for other parts of you to come along and ask them for their input?

Where you accompany yourself.
Mentor yourself.
Really be with you through the hard times. (And the good.)

Transactional Analysis has a particular approach to this business of being with the different parts of yourself. It sort of splits the self into three larger parts: “parent,” “adult” and “child.” And it asks you to be clear about which part you’re acting or responding from.

But what if you could find your own way, and your own myriad “selves” or parts?

Which other “self” would you like to be with right now? Which part could help you in the challenge(s) you currently face?

Maybe it’s a future self – an older, possibly wiser self that’s a decade or two ahead of you on the road. What insights might that self have to share? And what encouragement might it offer you?

Or maybe it’s a younger self that could inspire you; remind you how to play, perhaps. How to sing

What age is the “self” you might want to connect with?

Or maybe it’s a part that can deliberate or weigh things up.
Or advise or remind you about the lessons you’ve already learned (so you’re not stuck repeating them).
Or the bit that can really cut loose and relax.

Or maybe it’s the part that can just be there with you.
And listen.
And accept the rest of you just as you happen to be right now.
In all of your parts.

Take a seat…


Photo and text copyright: Gabrielle Gawne-Kelnar
Gabrielle Gawne-Kelnar (Grad Dip Counselling & Psychotherapy) is a writer, blogger and Sydney psychotherapist in private practice at One Life Counselling & Psychotherapy. Gabrielle also facilitates telephone support groups for people who are living with cancer, for their carers, and for people who have been bereaved through a cancer experience. She was the former editor of a journal on counselling and psychotherapy and she provides regular therapeutic updates on facebook and Twitter @OneLifeTherapy.
Learning To Sit Beside Yourself

Gabrielle Gawne-Kelnar

No comments yet... View Comments / Leave a Comment



APA Reference
Gawne-Kelnar, G. (2019). Learning To Sit Beside Yourself. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 10, 2019, from


Last updated: 29 Mar 2019
Statement of review: Psych Central does not review the content that appears in our blog network ( prior to publication. All opinions expressed herein are exclusively those of the author alone, and do not reflect the views of the editorial staff or management of Psych Central. Published on All rights reserved.