DIY Parts Work Therapy: Try this at Home!

By October 5, 2022July 31st, 2023Therapy
woman exploring parts work therapy with journal outside

Parts Work Works!

Women recovering from addiction, and especially women who recognize that trauma is at play in their lives, benefit from a modality called Parts Work. Parts Work is also known as Internal Family Systems Therapy, or IFS. 

Parts Work is an approach to psychotherapy built on the understanding that we have many sides to us, which the method refers to as Parts. 

For example, we may have a Part of us who wants to be a good girl and please everyone. We may also have a quite different Part of us, who wants to rebel. We might not be conscious of it, but when we pay attention, we will notice that all human beings have many Parts within them.

Parts Work is effective in working with trauma and addiction. In short – Parts Work Works! That’s why Villa Kali Ma offers it in our programs.

The Road to Recovery is Paved With Good Intentions

One tenet of Parts Work is the idea that all Parts of us have good intentions, no matter how destructive they seem on the surface. Because of this essential goodness, all Parts can be redeemed and transformed into higher octaves of their original nature. Nothing inside of us or anyone else ever has to be thrown away, marginalized, or rejected.  

With time, Parts Work teaches us to recognize the positive intentions behind all human behavior. When we see how our Parts have positive, life-affirming intentions, we are freed from the trap of fighting them. When we stop all the fighting of Parts, internally and externally, we naturally have inner peace. 

The Part that Turns to Substances

The Addict within is also a Part. The Addict intends to help us modulate overwhelming experiences and get a break from inner pain. 

Although the Addict’s behavior is extremely problematic, the original intention is positive. When we can understand the (often not immediately visible) higher positive intention of this difficult Part, we can work together with it to find a better way to get the same job done. 

Once we realize and validate to our own Selves that there is a perfectly legitimate need for help managing our emotional pain, for finding a way to have pleasure and joy and life, to have a break from feeling bad all the time, we can look for other ways that don’t extract such a high cost of us. 

The Higher Octave of Addiction

If we have the intention of helping a Part become its best nature, it can. With this attitude, the Addict Part is gradually transformed into a Part that looks more like a Self-Soother, a Part who works well to help us tolerate the pressures and potential pains of living our human lives.  

In short, we can make allies out of any aspect of our own nature, and as we do, we move from a state of inner conflict and into harmony. 

The key to the shift from conflict to peace is to first recognize, then befriend, the many facets of our nature, the characters inside of us. This way, we reach the higher octave of the same aspect of us.

The following exercise may be a nice introduction to try Parts Work at home.

DIY Parts Work Exploration

  1. Identify any sensation in you that you are curious to get to know (such as a feeling of pressure above your heart, or a pain in your ankle). It doesn’t need to be something big and dramatic, maybe it’s just the first thing you notice when you check in with your body.
  2. Whichever sensation you choose, stay with that sensation, and place your focus there. Pay attention to what that Part feels like in your body. Stop and write down anything you notice about how the Part feels when you pay closer attention to it. 
  3. See if you can make the sensation even bigger, give it a little more space. You may want to place your hands on the place where you are feeling this sensation, and imagine sending it your love and friendliness.
  4. In this way and also in your intentions, befriend your Part. Invite it to speak about its job in your life. What is it doing for you and why is that necessary?
  5. Frame that job as a positive intention. Recognize your own Protector energies already inside you – your allies! Through recognition, you help free your Part to take on its higher, nobler form. 

Write for as long as you like about what this exploration brings up for you. 

May it be helpful!

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