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What is Parts Work?

Parts Work is a framework to help us hold space for and integrate our multiplicity; the many layers of our human emotions, desires, wounds, and needs.⁠

I use Parts Work as an umbrella term to capture the various models I integrate into my practice. Each model includes includes the concept of one body and an overarching wise witness, accompanied by various parts.

1️) Internal Family Systems Therapy is a model developed by Dr. Richard C. Schwartz that categorizes parts into Firefighters, Managers, and Exiles.⁠ For IFS the overarching witness is the Self or Self-Energy.

2️) Structural Dissociation is a model that captures what happens to the brain when trauma makes it's impact. Neurobiologically, there is less communication between the left and right brain; this is why survivors of trauma may describe their experience as an oscillation between flooding and dissociation (neurobiologically, physiologically, emotionally)

In particular, Dr. Janina Fisher on the models identification of five autonomic survival responses: attach, fight, flight, freeze, & submit⁠.

3️) Tom Holmes work and book, which is actually called 'Parts Work'. He uses a looser framework and offers a wide variety of potential characters in ones parts world. (Shout out to #Kalamazoo and @kazoobooks who carries the book)⁠

4️) a continuation of the Structural Dissociation model, my friends over at @strengthsofallparts developed a client education tool that expands on the strengths of those survival responses; helping people think through how those parts can help when they feel resourced, capable, or supported. ⁠

and 5️) Inner Child Work which has been tied back to Jung and Freud, expanded on by many therapists but I also find quite spiritual. Art Therapist Lucia Capacchione created a model for re-parenting and wrote a book 'Recovery of Your Inner Child' that I use as a reference often.⁠

I integrate these models based on what organically comes up in session with clients. Each has something to offer and I appreciate the thread between them.


✨There's still time to register for my upcoming workshop with my friend Emma Walz; Parts Work for People in Relationships on October 13, 2021✨⁠


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