NYC Psychotherapist Blog

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Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Getting to Know the Many Parts of Yourself in Parts Work Therapy

Parts Work therapy assumes that everyone has many different aspects as part of their psychological world (see my article: What You Resist Persists: The More You Resist What You Don't Like About Yourself, the More It Persists).

Getting to Know the Many Parts of Yourself in Parts Work Therapy

This article focuses on how you can understand your internal world and the role of Parts Work in overcoming psychological problems.

What is Parts Work and How Is It Different From Traditional Therapy?
Parts Work is a broad category for different types of therapy including but not limited to:
  • Gestalt therapy
  • Ego States Therapy
  • Internal Family Systems (IFS)
  • Voice Dialogue therapy
  • Jungian archetypes
Each of these modalities has its own unique method for helping you to access your internal world of parts and to heal traumatized parts.

Getting to Know the Many Parts of Yourself in Parts Work Therapy

What each of these modalities has in common is an understanding that psychological healing involves more than developing psychological insight into your unresolved problems. 

Beyond insight, it involves getting to know your psychological landscape and giving a voice to the many different facets of yourself.

Unlike some traditional forms of psychotherapy, which assume certain thoughts and emotions are negative or unwanted, Parts Work is nonjudgmental and fosters a sense of acceptance for all parts of yourself.  

Compassionate self acceptance allows you to have a gentler way of approaching aspects of yourself related to unresolved problems.

Rather than trying to get rid of the parts of yourself you don't like, Parts Work allows you to integrate these parts in a healthy way by:
  • Giving a voice to each part
  • Allowing each part to communicate what it needs and what it fears
  • Understanding how and why each part gets triggered
  • Developing a healthy relationship with each part to foster psychological integration and healing
How I Use Parts Work With Clients
I have many different ways of helping clients to overcome unresolved problems, including problems related to complex trauma.
  • Parts Work (Ego States therapy and Internal Family Systems as described in this article) 
  • EMDR Therapy (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing)
  • AEDP (Accelerated Experiential Dynamic Psychotherapy)
To choose a particular modality, I assess which type of therapy is best for a client's needs in collaboration with the client.  

As a therapist who integrates many different modalities, I often integrate different types of therapy based on the needs of the client.

For instance, as a trauma therapist, I might assess that EMDR therapy is the best way to begin with a particular client. 

Even though I have chosen EMDR to start, I'm aware clients often encounter an obstacle along the way and we will need to overcome this block to continue with EMDR.  This obstacle is referred to as an emotional block.

The metaphor that is often associated with encountering a block in EMDR is one where a moving train is blocked due to fallen tree on the tracks.  The train can't proceed until the tree (or block) is removed, so this is where Parts Work can be integrated with EMDR to overcome an obstacle in the treatment.

By exploring the obstacle through Parts Work, the client and I can discover the nature of this blocking part and what it needs. Often, it's a matter of asking the part to step aside (metaphorically), but it's also possible that the part needs more attention before it will allow the EMDR therapy to proceed.

In traditional therapy, a blocking part would be considered a defense mechanism such as resistance.  Rather than interpreting this obstacle as something negative to be gotten rid of, Parts Work approaches the blocking part with compassion to work with it directly in a kind and gentle way.  

If I'm using Parts Work as the primary modality, I help the client to have a complete experience of the part using the Somatic Experiencing concept called SIBAM:
  • Sensation: What information is the client getting from their body? This could include sensations in any part of the body as well as muscle tension.
  • Image: This refers to sensory impression including sight, sound, taste, taste and touch.
  • Behavior: This refers to observable behavior including gestures, facial expressions and posture as well as an increase in heart rate and other visceral reactions.
  • Affect: This refers to emotion and the client's felt sense experience.
  • Meaning: Using language, the client puts words to the total experience of sensation, image, behavior and affect.
So, Parts Work can be used as a standalone therapy or in combination with other types of Experiential therapy like EMDR, Somatic Experiencing, AEDP and hypnotherapy.

What Are the Benefits of Parts Work?
Whether its used as a standalone therapy or in conjunction with other modalities, Parts Work is a transformational therapy.

The benefits of Parts Work include:
  • Psychological Healing: Parts Work allows you to address unresolved emotional wounds and traumatic memories which are buried deep within your mind. By having a dialogue with parts you might have disavowed, you begin the healing process by integrating split off parts of yourself so that you have a more integrated experience.
Getting to Know Yourself Through Parts Work Therapy

  • Compassionate Self Acceptance: Parts Work encourages a compassionate and collaborative experience with the many parts of yourself. Rather than viewing certain parts as negative or unwanted, you embrace all parts of yourself.
  • Emotional Resilience: Parts Work's integrated approach allows you to enhance your emotional resilience and coping skills because your internal world is more harmonious.
  • Personal Growth: Parts Work fosters personal growth through self integration. As you heal the various parts of you, you can discover new internal resources within yourself for personal growth.
  • Stress Reduction: When your internal world is more integrated and harmonious, you can experience a reduction in internal conflict so you can reduce stress.
  • Heal Trauma: Whether Parts Work is used as a standalone therapy or together with other modalities, it provides a structured and supportive environment to heal trauma, including unresolved childhood trauma of abuse or neglect or more recent trauma.
Getting Help in Therapy
If you're struggling with unresolved problems, you could benefit from working with a licensed mental health professional who uses Parts Work.

Getting Help in Parts Work Therapy

The many benefits of Parts Work can help you to heal from unresolved problems, including traumatic memories and complex trauma.

Rather than struggling on your own, seek help so you can overcome your personal struggles and live a more meaningful life.

About Me
I am a licensed New York City psychotherapist, hypnotherapist, EMDR, AEDP, EFT, Somatic Experiencing and Sex Therapist.

I work with individual adults and couples.

To find out more about me, visit my website: Josephine Ferraro, LCSW - NYC Psychotherapist.

To set up a consultation, call me at (917) 742-2624 during business hours or email me.