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Parts Therapy Mailing List for Parts Therapy & TMS

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by Forest, Oct 15, 2013.

  1. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi All,

    I'm happy to announce that we have a new mailing list, designed for discussing the parts therapy approach in TMS healing. Njoy has shared with us here on the forum and during both the drop-in chat and the call-in discussion group her success using Internal Family Systems (IFS), a form of parts-based therapy. She started a great thread on it here. Becca is a big fan of IFS as well. We've also had others comment that this sort of an approach to TMS healing has been helpful to them. So, I've created a new, specialized mailing list for all things parts therapy. At some point, I hope to have multiple lists for other areas relevant to TMS healing (an Eckhart Tolle mailing list, for instance).

    Since this mailing list is brand-new, though, we don't have that many members! So, if anyone is interested in adding their email address to the list, please let me know here by private message, by email (forest@tmswiki.org), or by using the box below. Email addresses will be kept private and are not visible to other members. Also, emails from non-members sent to the mailing list are moderated and must be approved before they are sent out to the entire group (whereas emails from members are sent automatically) so make sure you give me the email you most frequently use, or even include all your active email addresses if you have multiples, to avoid this.

    I'm looking forward to some great discussions! If you have any questions, feel free to post below or send me a message.


    To join the mailing list, just enter your email address into the following box and press Submit.
  2. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    What's the parts therapy approach to TMS healing?
  3. njoy

    njoy aka Bugsy

    I'm so excited about this new mailing list! I can't help spouting off about "parts" work whenever I talk about my own tms journey so it will be wonderful to have a place where people can easily learn more.

    Walt, I'm no expert on parts but have been working away on the idea that we all have them since the 1970s so I sure have lots of opinions. Here's my experience:

    Long ago, when the earth was green, I ran into a strange, new "science" called Neuro-Linguistic Programming. I bought a ton of books and devoured them but, to tell the truth, most of what they contained went over my head. One NLP pattern made sense, however, and I used it for many years both for my own inner work and to help other people. Here it is (in my words):

    If you have a problem, that suggests you are "of two minds" (or more) about something. For example, part of you wants to quit smoking (a big issue in the 70s and 80s) but another part very much wants to keep on smoking. Willpower is one way to approach this dilemma but does it really work? For a short time, I'd quit smoking but suddenly I'd think, "I WANT A CIGARETTE!!" and my good intentions (and two weeks of hard work and misery) flew out the window. I was a smoker again.

    NLP reframing (as I think it was called) suggested an alternative. The following example assumes your conscious mind really, really wants to quit the "cancer sticks" but you just can't seem to do it. Here's the method I used (adapted to my own situation) with examples:

    Step One: State the problem (usually, I write it down).

    Example: My problem is I want to quit smoking but I just can't make myself do it. A part of me hates the idea of quitting.

    Step Two: Get in touch with the part that hates the idea of quitting. Ask "What is your positive intent for me?" Listen to the answer.

    Example: Smoking is an available friend. It makes me feel better. It gives me a way to take a break when I'm pushing myself too hard. Instead of getting mad and fighting with someone I just take a soothing smoke break. Besides Aunt Susan would gloat if I quit. She'd think I quit because of all her nagging! Besides, I'd rather be one of the smokers out on the back porch than the stuck ups inside!

    Step Three: Negotiate a possible solution.

    Example: How about if I take a break and walk around the block when I feel stressed? How about if I take that assertiveness training course at the Y so I can feel okay about standing up for myself? How about if I tell Aunt Susan her nagging has held meback for years but now I'm quitting for my own reasons? How about if I still hang out with the smokers!

    Step Four: Try out your new solutions. If they work, great. If not, access another dissenting parts, find a new solution and try it.

    OFTEN, though, a new problem arises. So, back to Step One.

    Example: My problem is that I'm smoking less but eating more.

    Then, get in touch with the part that wants to overeat and ask about its positive intent for you!

    Some important points about this method are:
    - it takes practice and patience
    - there is ALWAYS a "positive intent" -- no part is your enemy
    - parts are often suspicious at first and have to be won over. Sometimes the part has been repressed for so long that it is unable to talk to you right away Be polite. Thank it for all attempts to help you even if other parts disagree. Let ideas surface slowly. I often ask if the answer might come clear to me over the next week or two. Usually, it does.

    NLP was the beginning of talking to my "parts". I even adapted the method to a counselling group I worked with. Some people in the group just didn't get it but others told me, "I use it every day and it's changing my life!" Wow.

    Much later I learned about Jungian psychology (especially the archetypes) and began doing dream work. Dreams are always messages from your parts and learning to interpret them is unbelievably life changing.

    Then I read Dr. Sarno's books (starting in the early 90s) and immediately recognized that parts were involved here, too:

    One part wants you to know/remember/feel something and another part wants to repress that knowledge. The result is pain or tms equivalents.

    Most recently, I came across Internal Family Systems (IFS). There are lots of videos on youtube.com to learn about IFS. Dick Schwartz was the founder but my favorite author in IFS is Jay Earley. His books are cheap and easy to understand.

    IFS posits that all of us have a "family" of parts within us that most people don't know about. This is completely natural and not the least bit "crazy". Our parts may disagree with each other but they are all, in their own way, trying to be helpful. If we contact them and show them we are not trying to overpower them or get rid of them they are happy to tell us what they think and let us work with them.

    IFS talks about "protector parts" who help "exiles" (often parts of us that split of at age two or six or any time when something traumatic happened that we couldn't cope). These parts are anxious to tell their story to someone who is interested and will listen with respect (that'd be you!).

    Later, they may be able to "unburden" and come out into the world to play and be happy. Perhaps for the first time in years you feel free and problems that have plagued you disappear. It's really can be quite magical.

    On the other hand, we can insist on repressing these minority voices within us. Then they may come back to haunt us when we least expect it. They are the reason we sabotage relationships, fail where we ought to succeed, can't make changes we desperately want to make, and so on. The parts are not being vengeful. They just need our attention. They have a message.

    So, there it is. There quite a few other types of "parts work". One is Voice Dialogue (lots on youtube about that, too) but my favorite is IFS because it is intended and designed as a way to help people help themselves. An IFS therapist could be helpful to get you started, or unstuck, but their main goal should be to teach you to do your own work.

    IFS encourages people to get together and help each other, too. I belong to a group that meets weekly and we use the simple IFS method to facilitate each other. One member is a lawyer, another a teacher, a third is a family therapist. I'm a retired foster parent, journalist, teacher and counsellor -- jack of all trades, master of none! We are not qualified in IFS but we have all read several books and we practice on each other as an adjunct to doing our own work. So far, it's been very, very useful for me.

    I hope this helps, Walt. Please feel free to ask if you want more information. I may not have the answers but can probably point you in the right direction. Also, I'll post this to the mailing list as soon as it's up and running.

    Thank you, Forest. Such a great idea to have a mailing list. May it prosper!

    Post edited: later (mostly just cleaning up).
    Becca likes this.
  4. njoy

    njoy aka Bugsy

    There are so many good resources available to learn more about Internal Family Systems and its application to our TMS work.

    A great place to start might be youtube.com . I typed in the search term "Internal Family Systems" and the very first offering was About Family Systems by IFS founder Richard Schwartz.

    If you don't have anorexia or bulimia you might ask, "What has this got to do with me?" but please hang in there. Turns out, the message is for all of us.

    From there, you might want to explore the dozens of other youtubes by people who use IFS. Some just talk about the process and others demonstrate how a session might go.

    REMINDER: IFS is intended both as self-help and professional therapy. Many people can read and learn to do it themselves. Others need, or are helped by, a few sessions with a therapist or someone who is using IFS to help themselves and others.

    Here is the book I started with and still keep handy:

    Self-Therapy by Jay Earley (Kindle version, but also available as "real" book

    I love Jay Earley's writing, find him easy to understand and have bought several sequels to this first book. They are all inexpensive and useful if you want more help applying IFS to specific problems like anger issues, that nagging inner critic voice, the bully who stops your inner child from having fun, that feeling "I'll never have a happy relationship" and so on . We are all unique individuals but turns out we are also very much alike -- we all have parts!

    As you practice, you'll get to know your inner family of parts and they will learn to trust you to help them. That's the gist of IFS.

    The IFS process is pretty simple but, like anything else, it takes a bit of time and patience to "get it".

    Finally, there are many web sites about IFS. Here's a link to Jay Earley's Personal Growth Programs site. He offers lots of information, training at every level and, as I've said before, I like the way he does it.

    If you don't like Jay's work, no problem. There are other IFS writers and web sites to explore.
  5. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

    Oooh, I'm so excited, after our Facebook and forum reachout, we got a total of 9 signups to start with. This should be a great little group. Many people know a lot about it already, but many are just along to hear what it is all about.
  6. Liz

    Liz New Member

    Njoy what a great explanation of parts therapy. Like you I first learned is as part of NLP and you are so right when you say there is always a positive intent behind any part. I first came across IFS when a TMS client recommended the Jay Earley book to me and it all makes so much sense. I have since recommended the book to other clients and once people get the idea they add in their own ideas too. One client drew his parts and gave them amusing names. As you say the good thing about it is there is a lot of work that you can do on your own with it and if the going gets a bit tough you can always get a helper. I am looking forward to the new mailing list too :)
  7. Becca

    Becca Well known member

    I am in love with the parts therapy mailing list already...

    My first exposure to parts therapy was Internal Family Systems (IFS). My mother is an IFS therapist. No, I'm not biased (although I do love my mother…) -- this is truly a spectacular and really effective approach. What really resonates for me is the focus on developing compassion towards your part, and ultimately yourself. For TMS, this may sound a bit crazy. The last thing we may want to do is send compassion towards the part of ourselves causing us pain. But as njoy noted, in IFS, no part of yourself is malicious. There's no intent to harm. Often, the intent is good - it's protective, for instance. Its efforts are just misplaced. Reaching compassion means you can redirect this part, so it can continue helping you, but in a way that benefits you.

    It's an incredible healing process, but it can be a difficult one. Developing compassion for a part that is causing any sort of suffering is not easy. Simply talking to that part is not easy either. Other parts emerge -- the part that's furious, the part that's terrified, the part that's overwhelmed, etc. They can interfere with the dialogue between the Self and the part, and asking them to step aside so you can talk doesn't always work.

    When it finally does work, though...well, njoy said it best. It's simply magical.
  8. Becca

    Becca Well known member

    Also - if anyone is interested in IFS specifically, the video Njoy linked to in her second post is a great introduction to it. I'm embedding it below for easy access.

  9. njoy

    njoy aka Bugsy

    Wow, this is great, Liz. It is going to be so much fun to hear other people's understanding of parts and learn from them.

    Becca, I haven't run into any parts of my own that truly refuse to cooperate but I'm pretty new to this. When I used NLP reframing to talk to parts, I was quite comfortable with taking time for the part to get used to what we were doing. After all, new ideas are always a bit worrisome. Also, psychological pain, like tms pain, can be very motivating and a few days (or years!) later parts can become more open to trying something new.

    As you know there are many ways to help a part trust the process and be willing to participate. On another thread I just talked about accessing a part that was surrounded by protectors. I knew about her but never expected her to talk to me because she was so very young. Nevertheless, we communicated and I was able to help her unburden as she very much wanted to do. Then the protectors were no longer reluctant to let go of their concerns. They made it clear that didn't have quite the faith in the process that I had but if the exile (I usually call him or her, the "little one") is happy they are less worried.

    Now that I am really getting comfortable with my "internal family" I can see why it's not advisable for people with schizophrenia (and perhaps other major mental illnesses) to fool around with "parts" on their own. But for the vast majority of us "garden-variety neurotics" it's great.

    Thanks for embedding the vid. So handy, now.
  10. yb44

    yb44 Beloved Grand Eagle

    I heard about IFS through another forum poster about a year ago. I haven't read any books on the topic but I have read some articles and listened to a podcast interview with Jay Earley a short while ago. I like the sound of IFS (or part of me does ;)). My question is about whether now is the right time. I started weekly sessions with a TMS psychoanalytic psychotherapist a few months ago. Would investigating my "parts" be a useful adjunct to my therapy or would it potentially confuse and overwhelm me? I know you guys can't answer that question exactly but what are your thoughts on this?
  11. njoy

    njoy aka Bugsy

    Interesting question, yb44, and I agree that no one here can answer your question exactly. My guess, though, is that doing some parts work would help. To me, one of the joys of self-therapy is that I only do it when I feel the need so becoming confused or overwhelmed has never been an issue. Believe me, I get that way fairly often in ordinary life -- the fact that parts work doesn't do it is a good sign. Still, your psychotherapist should be aware of what you are doing.
  12. njoy

    njoy aka Bugsy

    Just wanted to report that the new TMS Parts Therapy Mailing list is going strong and there are people joining daily. Good conversations, too, with people asking questions, talking about their experiences with Internal Family Systems self-led therapy and sharing links to web sites, youtubes, etc.
  13. njoy

    njoy aka Bugsy

    Me, again. We are talking about parts on the Tuesday discussion so BUMP.
  14. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle

    “These fragments I have shored against my ruins..."

    Simply to say thank you njoy and forest for creating this. Tis good to shuck off the roles (cook, cleaner, carer, candlestick maker), and explore oneself in the timeless realm of never old, never young. I also like how the list is private and deeper for being in the shadows of this site. Early days for me as I am new to Parts Therapy but there is nothing to lose and much to gain.
  15. njoy

    njoy aka Bugsy

    Glad to hear the list is helping you shuck your roles, Plum. Me, too. I also love the privacy and have felt able to share stuff I would not have dared on the forums. Pretty much a first foray into mailing lists for me and enjoying it tremendously.
  16. Becca

    Becca Well known member

    Njoy I just have to say, I LOVE your new signature :D

    Also -- if anyone wants easy access to the part of the discussion group on Tuesday October 29th, where Njoy & co talked about IFS and TMS, I've posted just that section of the recording in this thread .
  17. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Becca, Parts Therapy Mailing List sure is a winner.
    I'm going to suggest Pilot in Pain sign up.

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