• Parts work – compassion

    As previously posted, these are the 5 C’s that guide my work with parts: curiosity, compassion, communication, consent and cooperation.

    Today I want to talk about the element of compassion.

    Self-compassion is a key to healing trauma. And it applies to those with and without dissociative parts because all trauma survivors have parts of self that they dislike or hate, that they are ashamed of or embarrassed about, that they want to get rid of. And these are the parts that are in most need of that compassion.

    Compassion can be hard to come by when parts are engaging in maladaptive coping mechanisms (think substances, gambling, impulsive sex, self-injury) or making choices that you do not agree with or that lead to negative consequences.

    But this is the time when compassion is most important. And compassion is not the same as simply accepting or allowing harmful behavior to continue. It’s about understanding why parts feel the need to engage in that harmful behavior.

    When we can cultivate a perspective of curiosity, it’s easier to get to the underlying reason or motivation for the problematic behavior.

    Just as with people, parts learn how to survive the best that they can when we are young, and then continue to use those strategies into adulthood when they may make less sense and cause more problems.

    The better we can understand how and why those behaviors or patterns develop, the more likely we will be able to find other, healthier, more adaptive ways to meet those needs.

    Because I know that at the end of the day those parts are trying to keep my client safe the only way they know how, and I trust that if I am compassionate in my exploration we can find out how the parts are trying to serve the person’s best interest.