Discussion of the Interrupted Reaching Out Movement (IROM)
Interrupted Reaching Out Movement (IROM) is a simple label for a complex dynamic. IROM stems from a disruption in the flow of love in the relationship between parent and child and can lead to a reduced capacity for being present and feeling primary emotions. With IROM clients, connection to others, the world and to themselves can be difficult, and in crucial situations personal power may prove elusive.
IROM clients are often outwardly very active, independent and functional people with highly developed skills, coping strategies and knowledge. While they may be successful professionally and financially, they may recognize something crucial is missing – that despite their efforts, skills and successes, their thirst for wholeness isn’t satisfied.
A child’s basic personality structures, learning to be and how to relate arise in the context of parental relations. A split develops between the true self and the coping strategies when a child’s emotional approaches toward the parent are met with either indifference, disdain or aggression. If the child is forced to fend for themselves too early in their development and learns to cope with the outer world on their own, they lose touch with their innate capacity to simply be.
If the child’s needs are not met, there are no options, the focus is on survival. In the sensitive onset of basic personality structures, the child learns behaviors which are non-functional, or non-sustainable in the long term. As an adult, the client may feel unable to find alternatives accessible.
Without mirroring of presence from the parents, the child has difficulty perceiving their own simple sense of beingness. The client often searches for this inner authenticity throughout their life, trying many routes for self-discovery and learning techniques for tension reduction. They often have long therapeutic histories and are still searching.
The inner divisions that bring an IROM client to therapy may present in a wide range of changing issues. They may have relationship issues, unwanted physical reactions, difficult personality structures, ineffective behaviors or other symptoms that despite their extensive efforts resist solution.
Understanding the IROM dynamic is helpful. But, sustainable change comes through a new encounter with the emotions of childhood. With the options and resources of adulthood that were not available in childhood, different choices can be made. Through the relationship to the therapist, the proper will to change and the controlled exposure to the emotions, there can be experienced for a first time a different, more adequate ending to the story.
To insure a good outcome from the client’s courageous attempt to confront themselves and their deepest emotions, it is critical to work slowly and carefully, respecting the deep seated ambivalence that is a hallmark of IROM. In the framework of Family Constellations, a trance encounter with the representatives of the parents has great impact – the client comes back to feeling primary emotions and re-learns primary movements. When the client bridges their inner split and connects to their deeper self, their efforts in life can lead to deeper personal satisfaction.