I have been contemplating what it is to be human and how we show up in the world wearing different “masks” (parts), depending on the situation and how the past has impacted us either directly or indirectly. Through my own personal journey, trainings and working with clients I know that we are made up of many parts, and that it is possible to find some resolve and peace as we start to get to know the different parts of ourselves. This is not an easy process and at times and can be challenging, painful and uncomfortable. The gift of knowing ourselves a little more intimately is like a precious jewel that is definitely worth wearing.
Understanding The Sum of Our Parts
Some of these parts are familiar, some likable some even lovable, some we don’t want to acknowledge and some we fully deny to the point where they are completely unfamiliar and foreign to us. There can be a very young infant who has no words, there can be a child like part, a teenager, adolescent, adult part. There may be a hurt part, a sad part, angry, fearful, anxious part, a happy joyful part, an industrious part, a perfectionist, a pleaser, caretaker, fixer, critic….and so the list goes on and on. Unless we are able to move towards these parts with compassion, curiosity and mindfulness, the different parts can unknowingly highjack us and hold us hostage. This can be confusing at times particularly if two parts have opposing needs. However if we are able to move towards these parts slowly, mindfully and with a lot of tenderness and honouring, we can start to enquire what message does this particular part have for me, what does this particular part need? What is it scared of? What are its hopes and desires? How does it show up in the world? What is this part doing for me? How can I hold this part of me? The list is limitless.
Working With Parts in Therapy
As we travel into our inner landscape, we begin to discover so much about the way we have organised ourselves to “survive” life and rather than criticising ourselves and being harsh with ourselves, at some point we might be able to celebrate and thank these parts for their protective loving intentions. This is where Hakomi therapy is so profound. Being a somatic based psychotherapy, it allows for the client to really embody and experience these different parts. It draws on the knowledge of Voice Dialogue, IFS (internal family systems), Sensorimotor skills, loving presence, compassion, ACT (Acceptance and Commitment therapy) and mindfulness (just to anme some) to hold these parts with so much honouring. All the parts are welcome and no one part is un-invited or unwelcome.
The beauty of working with parts, is that it is possible get some separation and distance from the primary (loud) part and begin to recognise for example, the angry part is just that….a part of us that is angry/hurt but it is not the whole of us. It is merely a part of us. Hakomi encourages the unblending/separation of the individual part so that there is more space for the witness (observer) to be present and thus more comassion for this particular part that has shown up. And that is why Hakomi is so compelling. It guides us towards a playful curiosity that allows and encourages us to gently discover who we are, to really unpack the nuances of our imperfections, to sit with the polarities and honour the vulnerability of the beautiful being that we are in all our glory.
Here is a poem I wrote that I felt to share about my own journey discovering some of my parts.
All of Her
She can feel the ground, the earth, her centre
The grief has relinquished its hold over her and she can breathe again.
The pain slowly subsides and she is left with some relief
Sadness, regret and disappointment a lingering flavour,
Funny how she was so gripped in the depth of it all,
Unable to find herself within this turmoil.
It feels like she climbed a mountain, reached its peak and slowly descended,
With new found awareness and insights
She is privileged to know a little more of herself
She has travelled to the edge of her boundaries and survived.
She is able to reconfigure her heart, which she believed to be broken into many pieces,
Golden threads of acceptance and compassion sew it back together,
Understanding that this was merely a part of her that she needed to meet
A new relationship with an unfamiliar part of herself
A part that had been calling for her attention,
Now she can bow down to it, listen to its fears,
meet it with warmth and hold it tenderly,
Gently, until it softens its grip, she feels the grief receding
And in its place she is left with awe and wonder,
She now understands a little more about the grace of being human.
Deb is a somatic based psychotherapist with an advanced training in Hakomi and Masters in Gestalt therapy. She is also trauma informed and works with both individuals and couples at Thrive Clinic. You can contact Deb by mob 0400811155 or HERE