Focusing Tip #718 – “I’m confused about how to interact with my Parts”

Focusing Tip #718 – “I’m confused about how to interact with my Parts”
August 26, 2020 Ann Weiser Cornell
If our inner Parts are not like little people inside us, then how should we treat them? Read on...

Focusing Tip #718 – “I’m confused about how to interact with my Parts”

If our inner Parts are not like little people inside us, then how should we treat them? Read on…


Judy writes:

Your Tip #716 on Parts was helpful. I get why Parts aren’t left to deal with one another. But one does ask Parts what they want, whether it’s OK to sit close to them, and so on. These modes of interaction seem to confer a certain personhood or agency to a Part. I’m wondering about the best ways to interact with Parts that won’t confuse me into seeing them too much like little people.

Dear Judy:

I’ve been saying that Parts don’t exist permanently, but they do exist temporarily because they are repetitive reaction states that are partially successful. Like the Part of you that goes for the cookies when life is too stressful. Going for the cookies helps somewhat, but it doesn’t carry life forward to a place where it’s no longer needed.

There is a healing process for Parts (which only exist because something has gone wrong). That healing process is to be present for them. To be in a loving and compassionate relationship with them. To say, “I am here with you now.”

To answer your question, our recommended way to interact with Parts is to downplay their agency and emphasize relationship.

What does that mean? Barbara McGavin and I have created very precise language to enhance the relationship side and not the agency side of parts.

We don’t recommend saying, “What do you need?” or “What do you want?”

Instead we’d suggest: “I am sensing what kind of contact it would like from me right now.”

This is a great thing to say to an anxious Part of you, for example. You might give it a try and let me know how it goes!

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