What is Parts Work

Parts Work is the framework of the Internal Family Systems (IFS) approach to psychotherapy and coaching, developed 30 years ago by LMFT, Richard Schwartz. Simply put, it is a way of understanding the mind and how it works.


Through the IFS lens, the psyche is comprised of Parts and Self. The Self is the healthy, undamaged core of our being. It is in all of us, and is the source of confidence, creativity, courage and other positive characteristics like calmness and compassion. Our parts protect against negative feelings such as pain, shame, grief, fear and guilt. Parts develop in youth but often follow us into adulthood where they block access to our confidence and other aspects of the Self.

Parts in Action​

Examples of some common protector parts:

  • JUDGEMENT – Criticizing others to boost your self-view

  • WORRY – Anticipating what can go wrong in all situations

  • CARETAKING – Putting the needs of others over your own

  • PERFECTIONISM – Relentlessly striving for flawlessness

  • INDULGENCE – Over-eating, drinking, or binge-watch TV to quiet persistent thoughts or unpleasant feelings

  • INNER-CRITICISM – Telling yourself you are not good enough, smart enough, thin enough, etc. no matter how hard you try to improve

These are just a few of the many parts that block confidence.

Who is this Work for?

Parts Work increases access to our natural abilities and positive characteristics including confidence, creativity, compassion, courage, clarity, calmness, curiosity and connectedness. Anyone who desires greater access to these characteristics would benefit from this work. 

How it Works

We begin with relaxation, visualization and deep-listening techniques to guide you to learn about your protector parts. Then we discover the wounded part they're protecting, known as the exile, and reintegrate back it into your system through a process called unburdening. This enables you to feel whole again, and for the protector parts to ease up. Balance and harmony are restored, giving you greater access to your Self.