No Bad Parts Book Summary - No Bad Parts Book explained in key points
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No Bad Parts summary

Richard C. Schwartz

Healing Trauma and Restoring Wholeness with the Internal Family Systems Model

4.6 (350 ratings)
22 mins
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    No Bad Parts
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    We’re all made up of multiple parts – different, sometimes contradictory personalities.

    Think of the last time you struggled to make up your mind about something. Perhaps you wanted to quit your job and went back and forth about whether it was a good idea. Or you tried to force yourself to give a speech at a wedding, despite being terrified of public speaking.

    These internal debates are conversations between different parts of you: different personalities that together form who you are.

    If the idea of having different parts sounds strange, it’s because we’ve all grown up absorbing the idea that we have a mono-mind – a mind that sees the world in a single, unified way. But the truth is, any internal dilemma reveals that our minds contain multiple voices and urges.

    The key message here is: We’re all made up of multiple parts – different, sometimes contradictory personalities.

    These different voices aren’t valued in our culture. In fact, according to the mono-mind theory, this multiplicity might be the result of sick, disordered thinking, and we need to eliminate these voices because they don’t represent who we really are.

    Mono-mind theory has become entrenched over centuries of religious and spiritual doctrine. Christian scriptures preach that we must always suppress the sinful urges inside us that will lead us astray. Buddhism talks about the “monkey mind” that needs to be controlled.

    And the field of psychology offers a plethora of diagnoses that pathologize conflicting parts. Patients are given tools to try and control multiple voices through the use of willpower and control, or even mindfulness. Medication muffles painful emotions and stops us from being in tune with our bodies.

    The author, Dr. Richard Schwartz, used to believe in mono-mind theory too. In his family therapy practice, he tried to get clients to deal with disorders like bulimia by suppressing the urges inside them that would lead them to binge and purge. But the more his clients tried to eliminate these urges, the stronger the urges became.

    Then he had a revelation. Instead of trying to eliminate his clients’ destructive urges, he could engage with them. He started encouraging his patients to share the thoughts and sensations occupying their minds. They told him about the critical inner voices inside them that caused so much pain and shame that bingeing and purging felt like the only reprieve.

    When the author and his patients started working with, instead of against, these critical voices, something remarkable happened: they began to heal.

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    What is No Bad Parts about?

    No Bad Parts (2021) argues that we’re all made up of many distinct parts, like inner voices, that add different things to our lives. By engaging these parts directly, we can heal past traumas and transform the way we relate to ourselves and the world.

    Who should read No Bad Parts?

    • Deep thinkers who experience internal conflict
    • Psychology buffs interested in an original approach to the mind
    • People who feel numb and dissociated because of early traumatic experiences

    About the Author

    Richard C. Schwartz, PhD pioneered the therapeutic method called Internal Family Systems and is director of an institute by the same name that shares the work around the world. He’s published five books and over 50 articles on this therapy and is a sought-after public speaker.

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