5 Steps for Connecting with Your Younger Self: A Glimpse Into Parts Work From a Trauma Therapist

by | Sep 17, 2023 | Trauma

Do you find yourself surviving instead of thriving, limiting your presence and participation in your life to protect yourself? Does showing up authentically in your relationships feel out of reach?

If you could protect yourself and show up fully in your life, would you?

If so, here’s a glimpse into what connecting with our younger selves can look like, and the 5 step process to help you on your way toward expanding your relationship with yourself.

Dear younger me, I know it seems like connection will run out, so you think you have to hustle after it and settle for whatever you can get. But you deserve more than breadcrumbs. And the truth is, there isn't a scarcity of love or connection. You no longer have to take care of them to get your needs met. You no longer have to shrink or swallow your voice. I won't abandon you when you tell me what you like or need. Your desires are good. I know it's scary to show up fully, but it's so worth it. Belonging is much richer than fitting in, and you've been settling for fitting-in for far too long.

5 Steps for Connecting with Your Younger Self

1. Welcome

Notice which part of you is surfacing. The part of you trying to get your attention may be doing so through narratives that feel familiar, images or memories, emotions, or sensations in your body.

2. Listen

Tune in with a posture of kindness and curiosity. Ask this part what it wants to say or wants you to know.

3. Validate

After hearing them out, how can you validate this part? This could sound like, “I totally get that this feels scary to you” or “I know this feels like before” or even “you make so much sense.”

4. Comfort

How can you care for this part or let it know it’s not alone? Offering care could sound like, “I’m here with you now” or “thank you for trusting me with that.” It may also look like visualizing physically* connecting in a soothing way with this part (e.g., holding their hand, offering a hug, keeping a gentle gaze, etc.).

*It’s important to always check this out with your part and not to proceed without consent, especially if you have a history of physical boundaries being violated.

5. Update

Is there anything you can share to bring this part more into the present? Or to help them trust you more? This could sould like “it’s over now” or “you got out” or “I know how to keep us safe.” This step may also involve showing them images and scenes from your present reality.

Connecting with our inner selves will always include a heaping dose of kindness & care. We can’t shame ourselves into healing.

A Few Reminders As You Begin Exploring Parts Work

Connecting with our inner selves is a unique experience and looks different for each person (though it will always include a heaping dose of kindness and care – we can’t shame ourselves into healing).

This process is more like a conversation than a lecture, so it’s important to check in with your parts and your body as you go. There may be more your parts need to communicate along the way. Or you may feel them questioning or responding with skepticism. It’s crucial to tend to whatever comes up at each step.

You may not get through all the steps. That’s okay! Even just being curious and listening to your internal experience builds trust within you.

Finally, learning to build trust with your parts is a process, and one that is often challenging to engage with outside of the safety and containment of therapy. That doesn’t mean something is wrong with you. That’s why I’m here and can’t wait to join you on your healing journey.

Next Steps: Learn to Love Yourself Through Trauma Therapy in Denver

Ready to explore this framework for building self-trust and self-compassion? Fio Counseling has the specialized trauma therapy you’ve been missing. Get started by:

  1. Scheduling a free 20-minute consult call at a time that’s convenient for you.
  2. Connecting with an IFS therapist in Denver, CO.
  3. Booking your first virtual or in-person therapy appointment right away!

Connecting with our inner selves will always include a heaping dose of kindness & care. We can’t shame ourselves into healing.

About the Author: Ali Arteaga, LPCC

Ali Arteaga (she/her) is a trauma therapist and the founder of Fio Counseling, a mental health therapy practice in Colorado. With a passion for connection, compassion, and curiosity, Ali is dedicated to helping her clients reclaim their lives from trauma and live abundant, authentic lives.

Embracing her own healing journey through complex trauma led Ali to devote her life to helping others feel at home within themselves. She’s been there (personally and professionally) and is a gentle, compassionate guide helping you find your way back to you.

Ali honors the uniqueness of your story and meets you where you’re at. She weaves in evidenced-based modalities such as Internal Family Systems (IFS) therapy and somatic therapy into her work with clients.