I’ve been talking a lot about our resistance to change lately and how breaking behavioral patterns is the toughest of work—but worth every ounce of effort. What waits on the other side of change is a multiplier effect.
When teams are open to change, collaboration comes easily, we feel supported to fail and refine, and we enjoy psychological safety even when the stakes are high. When individuals are open to change, they can heal, address addictions, process trauma, manage depression, and live life more authentically.
Every once in a while, a book comes along that changes the way I do my own inner work. This is one of those times. No Bad Parts by Richard Schwartz is a transformative read that helps us discover a new way of understanding that we’re made up of many parts—each with voices that need to be heard and honored.
Richard Schwartz is the creator of the Internal Family Systems (IFS) therapy model, which introduces the “No Bad Parts” concept. In this paradigm, individuals are seen as having a multiplicity of inner parts or subpersonalities, each with its own emotions, beliefs, and desires.
The “No Bad Parts” concept emphasizes that every part, regardless of its nature or seeming negativity, has a positive intention and value within the individual’s psyche. This approach encourages self-compassion and understanding as individuals who are guided to explore and engage with these parts without judgment. By recognizing the positive intentions behind seemingly challenging or conflicting inner thoughts, we can experience emotional healing and greater wellness by bringing our various parts into harmony. But it requires work to bring about the changes we typically resist.
Schwartz has been practicing IFS work for decades. Here are two podcasts I highly recommend:
- Rich Roll podcast with Dr. Richard Schwartz: A Systems Approach to Healing the Self: https://www.richroll.com/podcast/richard-schwartz-761/
- The Multiplicity of the Mind: Dr. Richard Schwartz on a Systems Approach to Healing the Self: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-multiplicity-of-the-mind-dr-richard-schwartz/id582272991?i=1000616617654
Here’s an excerpt from the book description:
Is there just one “you”? We’ve been taught to believe we have a single identity and to feel fear or shame when we can’t control the inner voices that don’t match the ideal of who we think we should be. Yet Dr. Richard Schwartz’s research now challenges this “mono-mind” theory. “All of us are born with many sub-minds—or parts,” says Dr. Schwartz. “These parts are not imaginary or symbolic. They are individuals who exist as an internal family within us—and the key to health and happiness is to honor, understand, and love every part.”
Dr. Schwartz’s Internal Family Systems (IFS) model has been transforming psychology for decades. With No Bad Parts, you’ll learn why IFS has been so effective in areas such as trauma recovery, addiction therapy, and depression treatment—and how this new understanding of consciousness has the potential to radically change our lives.
Before transforming workplaces, engaging people, and inspiring others to follow us, we must get our inner “workings” in order. In other words, how are we dealing with our inner critic and other parts of our identity that impact our external communication tendencies, behaviors, and patterns as leaders?