A Part of me Thinks I Need Therapy:
We have all had the experience of feeling internally divided about something we need to make a
decision about or have considered changing. Perhaps you have thought:
A part of me thinks I should go to therapy…
But, maybe there is a louder part of you that says:
That’s ridiculous, how could therapy help? They don’t know anything about you or your life!
You have done just fine up to now.
Pull yourself together.
You have more important things to do.
The difficult thing about all of these competing parts of yourself is that, in some way, they are all
right. In the Internal Family Systems (IFS) model of therapy, individuals are viewed as having
multiple parts of self, who are all acting in protective ways with the intention of keeping you safe,
connected, and productive. The problem many of us encounter though, is that these different
parts of us are continuously in conflict. Asking us to be vigilant, and desperately craving
relaxation; Pushing us to do our best, while harshly criticizing our own failures. This internal
conflict can leave us feeling confused, unable to make decisions, exhausted and ultimately
From a “parts informed perspective,” therapy can help you to differentiate between these
different parts of yourself and understand their motivation; how different parts are working to
meet your needs, even if you wish you didn’t act in a particular way. You see, often as children,
a part of us had to develop a coping strategy that worked well to help us navigate our family of
origin, but now this strategy might get in the way of what you are trying to achieve as an adult.
By getting to know your parts, you can begin to heal whatever experience they needed to
protect you from, you can start meeting your needs in a way that aligns more accurately with
who you know you are. Ultimately, you can begin to listen to and lead your parts to work as a
more cohesive system.
The most inspiring gift of seeing yourself as a culmination of different parts is that it gives you
the power to connect with your Self underneath all the parts. Parts informed therapy works
under the premise that each of us has a Self that is compassionate, curious, courageous. It is
who we really are at our core, and, because of all of our other parts, the Self can not be
damaged, does not have to develop, and possesses its own wisdom about how to heal. That
means that the goal in therapy is not to change, get rid of, or judge the parts of you that create
struggle, but to compassionately care for them by building an internal relationship between your
Self and your parts to reduce inner conflict and build personal leadership.
If you would like to find ways to connect to yourself, develop some understanding around some
of your actions, and move towards a sense of inner peace, a parts informed approach to
therapy might be helpful! The therapists at Emmaus Psychology can support you as you begin
the journey back to yourSelf.
Written by: Shelley Petry, Registered Provisional Psychologist