Parts of Self that Define Us


(Statue in front of St. Francis Basilica in Assisi. Crestfallen and defeated, the young Francis appears shattered when his dreams of knighthood went up in smoke. Yet, out of ashes, the Phoenix of his legacy arose.)

I had the chance to attend a weeklong workshop on Internal Family Systems Therapy conducted by it’s founder Dr. Richard Schwartz. It was one of the most rewarding experiences I had as a therapist. His therapeutic model is inherently worthwhile.

I tried to set up a link to an introductory video of his work on YouTube but was unsuccessful. Unfortunately, I’m not good with some of the most basic technical things with blogging. You can check it out by searching “The Power of Self to Heal our Parts” on YouTube. (All comments are welcome to explain to me how to provide this link on my blog).

Dr. Scwartz’s clininical work focuses on the parts of self trampled on by guilt and shame. He has developed a wholistic view to care for the part or parts of self that have been alienated, disenfranchised, neglected, or even abused. 

I particularly like the part of the interview in the YouTube video when he talks about meeting the Dali Lama. He talked to the spiritual leader about the importance of being kind to self so as to be loving towards others too.

In my blog “True Grit in Self-Care” I talk about a perspective my former supervisor Charlie offered in his retirement seminar. Whereas I had always encountered struggles of self shown by clients with PTSD, he described it so uniquely that it revealed something new to me. “Self as other,” he said. In other words, we can become so overwhelmed with a sense of alienation that we can, and some people do, create an antagonistic relationship with self.

This is precisely Dr. Schwartz point. We need to understand, be kind, and love ourselves first if we are to offer the same understanding, kindness, and love to others. Most importantly, take care of the part or parts of self that have been alienated, disenfranchised, neglected, or even abused so as offer true peace of mind to others.

I would be remiss if I did not mention one more thing. If you ever feel overwhelmed, alienated, or disenfranchised by all the stuff life and others throw at you, seeing a therapist can be one of the most important steps in self-care you can take.

© Gregory Masiello, 2017

3 thoughts on “Parts of Self that Define Us

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