Identifying Parts

Originally Published in  Coaching for Transformation

Once you realize that a part is calling for attention or blocking your progress, you need to find the right one so that you can talk to it. It is crowded in your psyche; just calling for any part is like shouting “Hey, you!” at a party. You’ll probably get a response, but not necessarily from the one you want. So, how do you identify and call the part you’re looking for?


The simplest way to invite a part into a dialogue is to ask for it by name:

“I want to talk to my Protector (or Critic, Perfectionist, Pleaser, Skeptic, etc.)”… Read more

Honoring all Parts

Originally published in  Coaching for Transformation

The beauty of Embracing the Shadow is that we create opportunities for inclusion. As a result, people develop a loving relationship with themselves and others. This radical approach to coaching includes deep listening and gratitude for the role each part plays.

The human psyche has many parts, which are natural and healthy. All parts of the psyche have a positive intent, even parts that are stuck in contentious roles. As coaches, we listen for the noble purpose of all parts, regardless of their role. We listen to parts the same way we listen to people, picking up on their longing for transformation.… Read more

The Internal Community

Originally published in Coaching for Transformation

Similar to the way we interact with our community or family, friends and the world, we also interact with an internal community. The internal community is that group of internal parts of the psyche that direct our lives. Each part has an important purpose, without exception. Our role as coaches is to help clients learn to embrace their parts, exactly as they are. Even when a part behaves harshly, we look beneath the words or vicious behavior to understand its positive intent. If we appreciate each part’s attempt to contribute, honor the important role the part is playing and thank it for its years of service, the part feels seen, heard and understood.… Read more

Embracing the Shadow

Originally published in  Coaching for Transformation

Last night, as I was sleeping I dreamt-marvelous error! That I had a beehive here in my heart. And the golden bees Were making white combs And sweet honey From my old failures. —Antonio Machado

The shadow is the unconscious or hidden parts of the personality. Jung believed, “in spite of its function as a reservoir for human darkness— or perhaps because of this—the shadow is the seat of creativity.”1 The shadow personifies everything we refuse to acknowledge about ourselves, yet project on others. Robert Bly talks about the shadow as “the long bag we drag behind us.”… Read more

Working with a Wounded Child

Originally published in Coaching for Transformation

Almost everyone has been wounded, physically or emotionally. Our original wounding—the first time we found out that we are not okay—often becomes a driving force in our lives. The first time an innocent child hears, “No!” can be traumatic. Bewildered, the child starts to believe it is flawed or not good enough. Core beliefs become embedded in the psyche, such as, “I don’t matter. I am bad. If I don’t do what people ask, I won’t be loved.” Even people who have had extraordinary parenting and idyllic childhoods usually have a wounded child within.

When a wounded child begins to re-emerge, this is a vulnerable moment.… Read more