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  • Karen Sussan, LMHC

Some Good News About Parts Work for EMDR and Trauma-Informed Psychotherapy

Have you thought of parts work as a component of your trauma-informed therapy?



When something is good, I want to shout about it, as the song goes.


Parts Work for Trauma is a Time that has Come.


Richard Schwartz, PhD, the founder of Internal Family Systems (IFS), is a significant force for this trend. He has been spreading the word about IFS for about 40 years now. Dr. Daphne Fatter, a certified IFS and EMDR therapist, summarized the IFS research in her EMDRIA blog.[1] While IFS research is still in its infancy, the initial findings look favorable for its use in treating PTSD, depression, and some other health conditions. Dr Fatter's blog mentions how IFS work integrates well with other therapeutic modalities, and she is writing a book on EMDR-IFS integration.


Parts work seems to complement EMDR. I learned about parts work while pursuing my EMDR certification. For those new to this area of trauma-informed therapy, the two most prominent models for parts work are Richard Schwartz's IFS and Robin Shapiro's Ego States.

I marvel at what appears to be a coincidental timeline with the development of these models.


Isn't it Impressive When Great Minds Think Alike?


Alongside them, I have discovered another psychotherapist was also developing her own version of a parts work.


I am talking about Julie Dubovoy Aguggia and her Basic Six Part System (BSPS).


Julie is a Long Island parts maven. Even though I practice in Rockland County, NY, on the other side of the NYC Metro area, I now consider myself a fan of Julie and her work.


Julie's Basic Six Part System model was born out of her clinical practice with parts work. Her discoveries coincide serendipitously with the development of IFS and Ego state models. Julie repeatedly saw her clients gravitate towards a personal discovery of six internal parts. So, she began introducing these six common identifiers and their tendencies at the start of treatment. Over time, the ease of access and application of the BSPS was inevitable. Further, the inclusion of these parts during some EMDR phases brought some impressive results. As her understanding deepened, she developed a structured workshop she teaches nationally and with other practitioners.


I took this course about her Basic Six Part System through EMDRIA recently and was blown away by it. Julie's Basic Six Part System simplified parts work for my clients and me. Those feeling "stuck" found that an increased awareness of their Basic Six Parts System helped them improve daily functioning. And when we included their basic six parts in EMDR memory processing, the impact was remarkably profound.


Now, Here's More Good News:


  • Julie has a book forthcoming on her Basic Six Part System!

  • Julie says the focus is on helping us get "unstuck."

  • It is designed for both clients and therapists.

  • It is coming out in the next couple of years.


So, be on the Lookout for Julie Dubovoy Aguggia's Upcoming Book!


If you are interested in learning more about parts work and the possibility of integrating it with EMDR for trauma-focused treatment, especially using Julie's Basic Six Part System, please give me a "shout."


[1] Dr. Daphne Fatter, EMDRIA Guest Blog Post, EMDR Therapist and Internal Family Systems (IFS), January 5, 2024, EMDRIA, https://www.emdria.org/blog/emdr-therapy-and-internal-family-systems-ifs/. Dr. Fatter mentioned these IFS research sources and their mounting evidence of the effectiveness of IFS (as cited by Fatter, Hodgdon, et al., 2021), depression (as cited by Fatter, Haddock, et al., 2017), and some health conditions (as cited by Fatter, Shadick et al., 2013).


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