The best introduction to partswork

You don’t need a coach or a therapist to start getting to know your own internal family. If you’re curious about the different parts of yourself, you can start exploring your inner world using this easy-to-read book. That’s what I did myself.

The best introduction to partswork
A copy of the book Self-Therapy is sitting on a green velvet cushion next to a sleeping orange cat.

I first encountered my own internal family in the summer of 2020 by reading this book, by Jay Earley. If you’re curious about your own inner world, there’s no better book to learn partswork from.

The grandiose subtitle of this book nearly kept me from reading it — “Creating Wholeness and Healing Your Inner Child Using IFS, A New, Cutting-Edge Psychotherapy,” yeesh — but at the time I was so very unhappy that I was willing to take a chance. What I discovered in this book changed my life. Dr. Earley explains the Internal Family Systems model simply and clearly, with vivid anecdotes and sweet hand-drawn illustrations. But the real magic of this book is the simple, practical exercises he provides throughout:

You can learn much about yourself just by reading the book, even if you don’t choose to do the exercises. … However, if you do the exercises as you read the book, this will ground the concepts in your direct experience of your inner family. (15)

That’s exactly what happened for me. Once I started trying to identify the various parts of my inner world, they turned out to have a lot to say to me — so much, in fact, that I later decided to seek out an IFS practitioner to help me sort through all of it. My therapist guided me in very much the way I guide my coaching clients now. Without reading Self-Therapy, I would never have started the journey that’s led me here.

Places to get Self-Therapy

You can find Self-Therapy on paper, as an ebook, or as an audiobook wherever you usually get books. (There’s also a companion workbook you can get, which I didn’t use myself.)

If you decide to work with the book, I’d love to hear how it goes for you! Just get in touch.