Dr Fritz Perls coined the phrase topdog vs. underdog. The topdog describes the part of an individual that makes demands based on the idea that the individual should adhere to certain inner or societal norms and standards, often characterised by "shoulds" and "oughts."
The underdog describes the part of an individual that makes excuses explaining why these demands should not or could not be met. It is often the case that these excuses act as internal sabotage to ensure that the demands are never met.
In the flow towards a resolution of this inner conflict empathy is in itself a healing agent because it confirms that both parts are recognised, accepted and they belong.