How To Become A Story Buster

When I discovered The Adult Chair podcast by Michelle Chalfant, I knew I wanted to share it with you. I’m not sure about you, but I find podcasts a fun way to learn, grow as a person, and keep me entertained.

Michelle is a therapist and holistic life coach who uses a model called The Adult Chair. It’s a psychological understanding of our three primary selves: the inner child, the adolescent, and the adult.

In her practice, she uses actual chairs to help her clients understand how they come from different parts of themselves.

The inner child (aka the child chair) holds our true feelings and true needs. Our vulnerability is found in our inner child. Most of us have not been taught how to stay connected with this part of ourselves.

Our adolescence (aka adolescent chair) is where our ego was born and resides. The ego does not allow us to live in the present moment but keeps us in the past or looking forward to the future. Based on this, it is constantly making up stories about the past and assumptions about the future.

The job of the ego is to keep us mentally safe. While being safe is a good thing, most of the “dangers” of the adolescent chair are mostly imagined.

The adult chair represents our healthy adult, and it is our highest human form. This part of us is able to connect to the needs and feelings of the inner child and can be an objective observer of our adolescent self.

Very few of us had role models that showed us how to live in our adult chairs. When we are seated in our adult chairs, we are living in the present moment.

When seated in the adult chair, we are able to observe what the ego is trying to tell us and determine what’s fact and truth vs. stories and assumptions.

Knowing all of this, who wouldn’t want to spend most of their days being in their adult chair? The only way this will work is to have more awareness about what chair you are currently in.

Feeling challenged with processing your emotions? Most likely you’re in your child chair where you were not taught how to process your emotions.

Constantly telling yourself stories? You know the ones…someone is judging you, you’re not good enough, etc. If this sounds like you, you’re sitting in your adolescent chair and allowing your ego to take control of your thoughts.

You know you’re in your adult chair if you’re expressing your emotions, questioning your stories and assumptions, and consciously living your life.

Sign me up for the adult chair!

So, how do we take a seat in our adult chairs? One way is to become a story buster (you know, similar to a ghost buster!) You become a “story buster” when you begin to question the ego, look for the facts, and find out what is true.

I think this concept of becoming a story buster is brilliant.

Let me share how it recently played out in my life. A few weeks ago my husband had to stay at work late to finish up what he was working on. Although he didn’t say how long it would take, I assumed (assumption #1) that it wouldn’t be much later than usual.

That assumption did not end up being the case, and when I reached out to him to check status, he did not answer his phone. So before I knew it my ego/mind/adolescent self was racing, and I was assuming he was in an accident on the way home and was unable to contact me (assumption #2).

Something quickly shifted in me when I remembered The Adult Chair, and I asked myself what I knew to be true. The only thing I knew to be true was that he was coming home late. That’s it!

My whole body relaxed by this simple questioning of what I knew to be true. It allowed me to speak to him without panic when he arrived home which felt really good.

As much as I love this simple concept, I know it’s not always going to be easy to do. It may take lots of practice before this becomes your new way of “being.”

Do you find yourself living in the world of stories and assumptions? It’s so draining living in this place, but with some effort you may become a “facts and truth” detective before you know it.

As always, should you have any questions or want to connect, you can reach me at hello@anneeppley.com.

2 replies
  1. Cassandra Adams
    Cassandra Adams says:

    This is WONDERFUL! I am a LMFT who relies a lot on Narrative interventions. I LOVE your website & philosophy. It is exactly what I believe. I talk about people reclaiming who they were meant to be. One of my favorite questions to ask a client is, “What if you are okay just the way you are?” It has led to all kinds of nearly effortless change. One client, believing he was okay, lost the weight he longed to lose without dieting. I am thrilled to find your page & entries. I have forwarded this piece to all clinicians at the clinic where I work. Thank you so much for your wonderful insights & perspective!

  2. Anne
    Anne says:

    Thanks Cassandra for your heartfelt feedback! I love hearing how you’re using a similar approach in working with your clients. I can only imagine the joy your client was feeling when he began to know that he was okay, and the weight began to fall away. Great example for how powerful this work can be. I appreciate you sharing this with the clinicians at your clinic. Keep up the good work! 🙂

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