by C. Roy Hunter
How often do clients experience inner conflicts that inhibit successful attainment of important goals?
Hypnotists often use proven techniques to help clients change undesired habits and/or to achieve desired personal and professional goals. Yet, in spite of the best efforts of both client and hypnotist, unresolved inner conflicts often inhibit clients from attaining their ideal empowerment. Parts work may provide the answer!
When is the last time you worked with a client who resisted positive suggestions and imagery? Even some clients who initially respond favorably to a good script may eventually backslide. Hypnosis helps millions of people to achieve goals; yet, in spite of the best efforts of both client and hypnotist, unresolved inner conflicts often prevent successful long term results.
When other techniques fail, parts work often provides the key to success!
Parts work is based on the concept that our personality is composed of a number of various parts. Our personality parts are aspects of the subconscious, each with their respective jobs or functions of the inner mind. In other words, we wear many hats as we walk through the path of life.
The Hats We Wear
We are often aware of the various hats we wear from day to day. I wear my professional hat at work; but my inner child can’t wait to come out and play when the workday ends.
Let’s take this one step further. People wishing to overcome an undesired habit often seek professional help because a part of the mind blocks success. For example, a smoker might make a New Years resolution to quit, only to find that resolution literally going up in smoke.
The dieter who avoids junk food at a social event goes out of control later at home, even after investing hundreds (or thousands) of dollars for a professional weight control program. It’s as if another part of the personality takes over. These inner conflicts are common, and they occur when we have two different parts of the subconscious pulling us in opposite directions.
What Is Parts Work?
Parts work is the process of calling out and communicating directly with the parts of the subconscious that are involved with the client’s presenting problem. The facilitator acts as a mediator, helping to facilitate inner dialogue between the parts in conflict. A client-centered approach empowers the client to discover the resolution that is best.
Charles Tebbettspioneered and taught parts work because of its value in helping people resolve inner conflicts. I learned this excellent technique directly from Tebbetts in 1983, and I started teaching it in 1987. Originally borrowing the concept from Paul Federn, Tebbetts evolved parts work into a client-centered approach to help people resolve inner conflicts. He called the aspects of the personality ego parts. Most sessions involve calling out only the two parts in conflict, but other parts do exist.
A deep state of hypnosis improves the results by reducing the risk of analytical resistance from the conscious mind. Analytical clients experiencing parts work without sufficient hypnotic depth might not have lasting results.
Increasing numbers of hypnotists around the world are discovering the benefits of parts work and/or its variations to help clients get past personal barriers. (Variations are called: ego state work, submodalities, subpersonalities, voice dialogue, conference room work, etc.) Regardless of the label, I believe this complex technique is the most beneficial hypnotic technique available for helping clients resolve inner conflicts.
Can We Use Parts Work with All Clients?
A better question than the above one is: Should we use parts work with all clients?
While experts believe that we all have various aspects of our personality (or ego parts), my approach is to fit the technique to the client rather than vice versa. A client with an obvious inner conflict is an ideal candidate for parts work; but a person seeing me to overcome a fear of flying will experience a regression to the initial sensitizing event that caused the fear (rather than parts work).
My approach is to fit the technique to the client rather than vice versa. Many hypnotists invest in script books, but there isn’t a script book written that will help all the people all the time. Others learn a modality, and then try to fit all clients to a particular modality.
My work is based on the premise that we must accomplish four hypnosis objectives: discover the cause, facilitate release, facilitate subconscious relearning (or reprogramming), and enhance the process with suggestion and imagery. Often a particular technique or modality might be employed to help a client release a problem; but if the cause remains buried in the subconscious, the problem might easily return (or a worse one in its place). If you love using a particular modality, consider which of the four objectives are accomplished; then include another technique to insure that you complete all four objectives.
Although I do not use parts work with all the clients all the time, a session that includes parts work will normally accomplish all four hypnosis objectives.
The Value of Parts Work
Let me repeat the second paragraph of this article:When other techniques fail, parts work often provides the key to success!
Many hypnotists through the years have asked me to facilitate parts work sessions with them to resolve inner conflicts. Most of them experienced previous hypnosis sessions with only partial or temporary results because their inner conflicts remained unresolved until experiencing parts work.
A hypnotist practicing without mastering parts work will be missing a valuable tool. Clients with unresolved inner conflicts might leave with an initial success, and then backslide without ever returning to the same practitioner…choosing another hypnotist instead.
If you want to help most of the people most of the time, learn and use parts work. Although the concept seems simple, it is currently the most complex hypnotic technique used. With over 20 years of experience teaching parts work, I have organized the work of the late Charles Tebbetts into a logical discipline that works. By following the discipline properly when you walk the path of parts work, you should be able to help most of the people most of the time. Some common detours often appear, which we can normally get past with resourcefulness and patience.
Learning Parts Work
Although hands-on training is best, my book on parts work is a comprehensive step by step presentation. It is entitled, Hypnosis for Inner Conflict Resolution: Introducing Parts Work
Whether you learn parts work from me or from someone else, you owe it to your clients to master parts work or one of its variations.
Roy Hunter, M.S., FAPHP, CHI,
practices hypnosis near Seattle, in the Pacific Northwest region of the USA, and trains parts work to professionals around the world. He also works part time for the Franciscan Hospice facilitating hypnosis for terminal patients, and teaches a 9-month professional hypnosis training course based on the teachings of Charles Tebbetts. Roy is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Order of Braid (NGH) for lifetime achievement in the hypnosis profession. Roy also was awarded an honorary PhD from St. John’s University for lifetime achievement in hypnosis.