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  • Writer's pictureAdam Jogen Salzberg

Parts Work As a Practice of Radical Empathy

Updated: May 10, 2022

I have the great privilege of being a voice dialogue parts work facilitator. I’m invited into the breadth and depth of people's inner community of peoples. The peoples come forth in dreams and waking, they speak out in particular relationships, they sing when in the forest or sometimes in the dark or whisper only when alone at home.

From my seat, I see more and more how everyone inside is doing its best in helping. All the voices are allies, looking out for us, believing their perspective on things is the right one. And most of them have something very helpful to say, a gift of some kind to impart. Usually life doesn’t give them space to share their wisdom and experience. How often do you get to fully express the thoughts and feelings of your Child, your Sage, your Inner Critic? Mostly they say what they say and think what they think tightly cramped inside our heads or through brief blurts when other people stop long enough to give them a chance.

There is magic in this practice of voice dialogue. When we really listen together to what the various parts of us say, feel, think and know, we don’t fix anything. We don’t need to fix anything. We are simply called to empathize, wholeheartedly seeing and feeling each iteration of our being, holding space for it to come forward and be the exact expression of soul that it is, nothing out of place. They love it when we listen and our listening is to be loved.

It is not healing, but wholing, to borrow a term from Bill Plotkin. Isn’t it only a belief that some part of us is broken, that we are disjointed and need repair? We may have wounded parts, benefactors of sensitivity, asking for warm inclusion. We may have confused parts that we might not put in charge of our finances but whose uncertainty is a vital quality, vital to being free.

In this work, a discovery emerges and continues to emerge that somehow compassion is on our side. Something works in the underneath rivers of heart and soul to carry us along. We discover we’re carried by what we carry. Empathy with our inner (and outer!) peoples undams the river. There are so many ways to do this. Remember making time for wandering conversation within friendship?

Yet facilitations of voice dialogue create a temenos charged with intention and deep listening. They are empowered by decades now of subtle understandings and curiosity passed along about the cosmos and logos of our inner lives. Reach out if this sounds like something you’d like a taste of and I’d be happy to offer a short complimentary session. It’s a delight.

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