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  • Writer's pictureElizabeth Ellis

Are you the sum of all your parts?

We are all made up of different parts. The part of us that knows exercise is good for us, contrasted with the part of us that sits on the sofa but doesn’t move.

The part of is that wants to go to the party verses the part of us that sits on the bed and doesn’t get ready to go.

Perhaps you’ve found yourself saying things like “there’s part of me that would like to…” or “I want to stop…but part of me just won’t” statements like this are a good indicator in my client sessions to introduce something called parts theory.

This allows us to separate out the “part” of the mind responsible for the problem (e.g. the part that keeps you smoking, the party that keeps you stuck, the part that keeps you anxious) and start to work on it.

So how can you work with your different parts?

I tend to approach this with clients by getting them to almost have a conversation with the part, literally asking it what its role, function or purpose in our lives is and this helps us to figure out what its intentions are. Nearly always the part has a positive intention for us, these are usually one of the so called 3 Ps, Protect, Prioritise and to Punish.


This may be the parts positive intention if you find yourself anxious around a particular object, animal or situation. Your mind might be trying to protect you and keep you safe from what it perceives to be a threat.


This can show up with physical health conditions where the part of your mind has learnt that when you’re unwell (especially for children) you experience kindness, attention and often extra affection think of children with skin conditions they often need special creams applying etc, so the part unconsciously learns that this is a good way to get priority (attention) and additional comfort.


This is challenging and frustrating to experience but often the part can be punishing us when we don’t feel worthy or loveable. So the part keeps us trapped in self sabotaging type behaviours (maybe drinking, over eating, not going for opportunities we really want) we have subconsciously learnt that we don’t think we’re worthy of happiness and success so the part steps in and keeps ensuring we don’t have it.

This can be confronting to realise that an issue in your life is getting its energy from you. But crucially when you do see this you also begin to recognise that you have the power to let it go.

So if you were continuing to have the conversation with the part it might be helpful to acknowledge what it’s been doing for you and that it had good intentions for you but then to tell it that its time to let it go.

Or to give the part a new job that’s more helpful and pushes you towards achieving your goals. Some of my hypnotherapy clients find it helps to visualise the part leaving, walking away while they wave it off. I often suggest they visualise putting it on a stone and throwing it far into the sea. However, you choose to visualise it the important thing is its gone!

I often find that these parts and ways of being have been in my clients lives for a long time so letting it go can be tricky. In that instance I suggest that they transform the part so it is truly doing something positive for them. For example if the part had previously kept a client procrastinating through fear its new positive role might be to be super charged motivation to take action and get things done. If the part kept you anxious and full of fear previously perhaps now its role could be to keep you calm, to soothe and nurture you.

Integrating the part in your life with its new positive role can be very powerful and can help flip a negative scenario into one that’s empowering and positive.

So if you feel there is a part of you that’s holding you back today consider what its good intentions might be. Then call it out, thank it but know it’s job is done and both it and you can be set free.

If you’d like to explore this more with me in hypnotherapy to overcome anxiety, fears or change habits that you feel are holding you back simply drop me a line to find out more.

Liz x

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