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How “Parts” Awareness Leads to Whole Recovery

January 3, 2023

As human beings, we are multifaceted. Each one of us has a seat of consciousness, our “self,” and a personality, composed of many parts, that make up who we are. At times, our parts (or subpersonalities) work against us, and we behave in ways that are harmful to us.

Once you are able to resolve your internal conflicts, self-destructive behaviors can stop.

Why does this happen? Why can’t we simply stop the behaviors that harm us? This is the core problem that Internal Family Systems (IFS) therapy was created to solve. Developed by Meadows Senior Fellow Dr. Richard Schwartz, IFS is designed to train your inner self to reconcile the issues of your subpersonalities so they can live in harmony within your being. Once you are able to resolve your internal conflicts, self-destructive behaviors can stop.

What Is Internal Family Systems Therapy?

When it comes to addiction, mental health issues, or trauma, families with an affected member respond in predictable ways. In general, each person begins to play a particular role to keep the family system functioning in the wake of the disruption. These roles, like “enabler,” “hero,” “mascot,” and so forth, are well known. Why do families consistently respond this way? The answer is that we all try to adapt in certain ways to cope with the pain that is hindering our livelihood.

Internal Family Systems therapy shows how all the parts of your inner being function in many ways just like a family. When you experience trauma or deep emotional pain, your parts take on predictable roles. Some parts decide to carry this pain like a burden. They react to triggers, often in ways that are hard to control. But they react out of pressure to protect your inner self from feeling the full weight of the burden. This is where addiction, self-harm, and other compulsive behaviors manifest; they are a shield to protect your inner self from the burden.

Internal Family Systems therapy shows how all the parts of your inner being function in many ways just like a family.

However, other parts of your self know that these behaviors are harmful, and they attempt to protect you from the burdened parts that react poorly to everything that happens. They are trying to limit the effects of the burdened parts. This creates deep internal conflict that makes self-destructive behaviors difficult to stop. Internal Family Systems therapy is the process of reconciling all the parts of the self so that pain can be resolved, harmful behaviors can stop, and healthy coping mechanisms can be put into place.

Our Internal Family Systems Workshop

Thanks to Dr. Schwartz‘s help in laying the groundwork, we are now able to offer an Internal Family Systems workshop at Rio Retreat at The Meadows called PARTS. Conducted by an IFS-certified therapist, this workshop will enable you to:

  • human body puzzleLearn the language of the parts of your inner self
  • Assess your internal dialogue
  • Identify and work with the parts of your self
  • Develop direct access to your parts to understand them better
  • Build trust in your internal “family” system of self
  • Learn the relationships between your parts
  • Shift your parts into positive roles
  • Nourish your own well-being, resilience, and self-leadership
  • Create more space for your inner self to lead its parts

While this workshop helps teach you how to reconcile the internal conflicts that tend to keep you stuck, you will develop a greater understanding of your whole self. You will learn to resolve deep-seated issues and function in healthy ways. Those who complete this workshop are better able to listen, respond to feedback, establish healthy boundaries, and build self-competence for any future adverse experiences.

An appreciation for your whole being can foster healthy patterns and help you sustain your recovery. Being in touch with your inner self can be a very powerful tool. As Dr. Schwartz says, “[The self is that] innate presence in each of us. It is the seat of consciousness that brings balance and harmony equipped with qualities such as perspective, presence, patience, playfulness, and persistence.” In recognizing the self, you begin to understand that you are more than just the sum of your parts.

Explore PARTS and More

Our PARTS workshop takes place over the course of a few days with evening activities such as yoga, Tai Chi, auricular acupuncture, and live music included. With the workshop, you will also receive meals, a 12-Step meeting, and access to our gym and Brain Spa. In addition to PARTS, we offer a variety of workshops here at Rio Retreat designed to help you heal and recover: Survivors I, Survivors II, Mending Heartwounds and Family Matters, to name a few. If you need help beyond our workshops, we will work with you to develop a treatment plan that’s customized for just for you. For questions or assistance in finding the best fit for you, contact us today.