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All Parts are Welcome…

September 24, 2019

Perhaps the single most important thing I’ve ever come to understand about the neurobiology of humans, connection, and behaviors is the neurobiology of parts of self.

We ALL have parts of self.  This is not pathological or weird or eyebrow raising!  I have a mom part, a therapist part, a writer part, my speaking-on-stage part, my friend part.  These different parts aren’t more or less authentic than the other.  I bring my authentic self to the stage, but believe me, that part doesn’t show up in the world exactly the same way as my ‘hanging on the back porch at the pool in the summer time with best friends’ part.  Neither are more or less authentic 🙂  Just different!!

But we all also have protective parts.  Parts that have been developed to protect our inner world from pain.  Or at least protect our inner world from FEELING pain.  Shame.  Loneliness.  Not-good-enough.  These parts might have behaviors that SEEM useful out in the real world.  People pleasing, a focus on ‘being the best,’ being successful at work…may all be protecting from feelings of abandonment or shame.  Some parts seem a little less…let’s say socially acceptable or even safe…out in the real world.  Raging.  Addiction.  Dangerous compulsive behavior.  THESE ARE STILL PROTECTIVE PARTS OF SELF.  All parts believe they are needed and that they are doing an important job.  These parts aren’t maladaptive!  They are simply overworked and confused- blending the past with the present.  But in the moment the part emerges- that part believes it is needed.  It is trying it’s best to keep us safe.

If we can come to understand this about our children, our clients, OURSELVES…what would change????!!!!!  (For me, it was everything).




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Robyn Gobbel, LCSW, RPT-S  is a blogger, teacher, trainer, and consultant for therapists and professionals working with children with a history of complex trauma.  

2 Comments leave one →
  1. jenislove permalink
    September 24, 2019 9:34 am

    Hi I love this. We have seen an ifs therapist. Do you suggest getting a ifs therapist for our child who who rad adhd ptsd odd?



    • September 24, 2019 1:50 pm

      Hi Jennifer! IFS is a lovely approach! There are many ways to approach Parts in therapy. I have studied the most Bonnie Badenoch’s Inner Community. Regardless of specific modality, I think it is crucial that a therapist understand the different parts of self- otherwise we are at very high risk of judgment, losing compassion, etc. Parts work is what allows me to stay curious, compassionate, and boundaried- even in the face of very difficult or dangerous behavior. I’m so glad this resonated with you!!!

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