Workshop: Your many parts

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The workshop

Do you sometimes have one side of you telling you one thing and another side of you telling you another:  the good "angel" on one shoulder and the troublemaker "devil" on the other shoulder?  Family therapist Virginia Satir noticed them, too, and came up with the Parts' Party.

This workshop outlines the methods and philosophy of Virginia Satir and then demonstrates, in depth, her powerful and playful Parts' Party.  The Parts' Party is a way of deeply understanding and dealing with internal conflict and relationship conflict.

Many of us are aware that we have parts of us of which we are proud and other parts that make us feel guilty or ashamed—our angry or jealous or shy or selfish parts. Repressing these parts or denying them can be exhausting, and we don't realize that the solution is to accept them and then transform their energy into something that helps rather than hinders us. In a hierarchical (top dog over bottom dog) world, we learn to protect low self-worth by blaming or placating or computing or distracting instead of being honest and considerate ("congruent").

In relationships, conflict with the parts in the other person that we don't like (often our mirror) can be playfully resolved with a Couple's Parts' Party.  Once we have fully embraced ourselves, warts and all, and learnt to communicate congruently, the frequency of conflict will markedly decrease.  During the weekend, we will look at both a single person's parts' party and a couple's joint parts' party.

Preparation for the workshop

Think of three famous people, alive or dead, mythical or real, whom you admire, and 3 whom you dislike.  They can be historical figures, politicians, athletes, artists, comic strip characters, actors or roles in movies or books, etc.  Write them down on a piece of paper with three words describing each, and bring this to the workshop.

For whom is it?

People come to SLCO workshops from all of life's circumstances.  Whether you are prepared for a little change or a lot, you will find yourself among friends in a safe and supportive environment.  If you are at personal crossroads in terms of your job, at odds with a family member, recovering from an illness, experiencing grief or simply looking for new solutions in your life, this workshop will start you on or enhance your journey of self-discovery and change.

If you're a parent, you can learn different ways to be with your children.  If you're a therapist, you can learn new ways of working with your clients.  Learn how to see your parents on an equal footing with you.  Teachers use these techniques to communicate with their students more effectively.  And as a person, as each of is, you can use these lessons to change how you are in the world.

You'll find a mix of new people and people who've been to our workshops before, people who are part of our community.  As people gain a better understanding of themselves, many find it useful to return and view these concepts from their new place of understanding. 

Virginia saw humans as good at core (often despite appearances) and with a desire to grow and learn and discover a deep source of high self-esteem, which can be tapped when you know where to look. With humour, respect for humans of any walk of life or circumstance, and a sense of safety and confidentiality, she created workshops for personal growth and transformation, which have continued in 34 countries since her death.

Our workshops are designed for both therapists and non-therapists.  Virginia was one of very few therapists to explicitly teach that the therapist-client relationship should not be hierarchical.  In fact, her Growth Model emphasizes that hierarchy is a key source of both low self-esteem and non-congruent communication.  She taught that congruence (honest but considerate communication in which what is conveyed on the outside matches the internal feelings and perceptions) comes from and enhances high self-esteem, and respects the other, oneself and the context.  Thus, her workshops were open to therapists and non-therapists.  She believed that, for therapists to be effective, they must work on themselves and learn congruence.  The Satir Learning Centre follows this model and also has a built-in training programme for therapists.

What's the process?

During the workshop, we'll introduce to you the parts of the Satir Model described above.  You'll have a chance to discuss these both in the whole group and smaller groups during the day.  You'll also experience what it's like to be in a warm, loving, and open community during the weekend, where care and respect for one another is paramount.  The process is designed to cater to both your heart and your mind, your thinking and your feeling.

The process is designed to cater to both your heart and your mind, your feeling and your thinking.

A full lunch will be provided both days.  During the breaks, snacks will be available, including a wide variety of beverages.

If this is your first time at one of our workshops, you may find yourself feeling that, at the beginning of the weekend, there's a lot of information being presented to you.  You're not alone:  many people who have come to these workshops have felt that way.  As the weekend progresses, you'll start to see the threads connecting these concepts.  By the end of the weekend, most people have found that they have begun to see a whole new way of living.

How much do I have to participate?

Don’t worry!  This is not a show and tell.  Unless you want to be one of the volunteers for a demonstration, you will work on your parts in your own head or at times with two other people of your own choosing.  We know that many people are nervous about groups.  Be assured that, as a participant, you need say nothing about yourself in the group—you learn vicariously through learning about the tools.  You can remain an observer.  A key philosophy is that we are each responsible for ourselves, and that includes the right to say yes or no.  Privacy and confidentiality are a part of the comfort and safety our workshops provide.


Please avoid wearing perfume and cologne, as some people are highly allergic.

Dates and times / location

The Satir Learning Centre of Ottawa, on the banks of the Jock RiverWorkshop dates:  Saturday and Sunday, 29 to 30 January 2011
Registration deadline for early bird price: Wednesday, 19 January 2011
Workshop registration and check-in:  Saturday (8:30 AM), Sunday (8:45 AM)
Workshop times:  Saturday and Sunday, 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM both days.  The workshop will start promptly at these times each day.
Reconnect:  A follow-up meeting Monday, 31 January 2011, from 6:30 PM to 9:30 PM is recommended.  There is no cost for this additional session.

Both the weekend workshop and the Wednesday follow-up meeting will be held at the Satir Learning Centre (location) on the banks of the Jock River at the south end of Barrhaven.

Printable flier and poster

We have a flier about the workshop  that you can print.  You might find this useful if you have a friend or family member who you think might be interested in the workshop and who prefers printed material.  Alternatively, if you know of places (such as doctors' offices, beauty salons, community centres, etc.) that would have clients who might be interested, we would be happy to have you place fliers in these locations.

We also have a poster  that can be placed in various venues.  If you will be visiting a place where one of our posters might be useful, we invite you to put it up.