IFS Intro Webinar and IFS Basic Course

Webinar: Introduction to IFSBasic IFS Course

Tuesday June 9, 2020
Bonnie Weiss, LCSW
10:00 a.m. – 12;00 p.m.  pacific time (1:00-3:00 pm eastern, 6-8 pm UK)
Click here to enroll.

IFS understands that the psyche is made up of sub-personalities, called parts, which make up a kind of inner system. Parts often get into conflicts with each other and act in dysfunctional ways in an attempt to protect us from pain. All of this happens largely outside our awareness, and when we do see what is happening, we frequently try to banish the parts that are causing the difficulties. Yet this rarely works. IFS, on the other hand, teaches us to relate to our parts with openness, curiosity, and compassion, not judgment, which allows each part to reveal its hidden agenda and the pain it defends against. This paves the way for healing and transformation, which can be accomplished by following the detailed IFS procedure.

The psyche is largely organized to protect itself from pain, which is why IFS makes a distinction between parts that are in pain and parts that protect us from it. Protectors are parts that handle the external world and protect against vulnerability and pain. Exiles are young child parts that are in pain from the past. Protectors try to arrange our lives so that people can’t hurt our exiles, and when this does happen, protectors shut us down emotionally to keep us from feeling the pain. This noble effort doesn’t really work; the suffering still leaks through at odd moments. Furthermore, the defenses instituted by protectors make us relate to the world in problematic ways, or they blunt our aliveness or rob us of important capacities. IFS is able to transform these parts by relying on the healing power of our true Self or spiritual center, which is connected, curious, compassionate, and calm.

This free introductory webinar will introduce IFS and give you a taste of working on yourself with this approach. You can ask me questions about the model and about the upcoming Basic IFS Class.

The seminar will be recorded, so once you are enrolled, you will receive an email afterwards with a link to the recording

Tuesday June 9, 2020
10:00 a.m. – 12;00 p.m.  pacific time (1:00-3:00 pm eastern, 6-8 pm UK)
Click here to enroll.

If you can’t attend, you can still enroll, and afterwards you will receive a link to a recording of the webinar.

The Basic IFS Course will follow this, starting June 16 at the same time and run for 6 weeks. See below.

Basic IFS Course

Bonnie Weiss, MA LCSW

This course will teach you how to use Internal Family Systems Therapy (IFS) to resolve psychological issues and heal underlying pain from the past, to enhance your self-confidence and well-being. IFS is a powerful, user friendly method of psychotherapy and personal growth work. IFS is a recognized, proven method for individual psychotherapy with a robust training program and thousands of certified therapists. It will help transform stuck parts of yourself into inner resources of strength, love, and freedom.

This course teaches you how to access Self (that core aspect of you that can heal your parts) and work with protectors (parts that defend us from pain and danger). It is the most basic course on IFS. It teaches you how to work on yourself using IFS and how to do peer IFS counseling with other people in the class. Therapists and coaches also take the class to learn about IFS, though it is not professional training in IFS.

The course is experiential; it includes practicing IFS sessions for homework in pairs, group exercises, and demonstration IFS sessions with volunteers from the class.

The text for the course is Self-Therapy, by Jay Earley, PhD

The course will be taught by videoconference, so we can see each other, which enhances the group connection, making it safe for you to be open and vulnerable in class. Each class is recorded, so you can watch the recording of any class you miss.

June 16 – July 21 (6 meetings)
10:00 am – 12:00 pm pacific time (1:00 – 3:00 pm eastern, 6-8 pm UK)
Cost: $300, $250 if enrolled by June 10, 2020
Click here to enroll

Australia IFS Class

Bonnie Weiss LCSWIn this four session video-conference class you will learn about the Internal Family Systems Therapy (IFS) model of psychotherapy.

We will discuss the IFS understanding of parts, the structure of the psyche, how to access the Self, working with protectors, and healing exiles. It features lecture and discussion, demonstration IFS sessions, and pairing up for practice IFS sessions.

There will be lecture and discussion, live demonstrations, case consultation, and (optional) practice IFS sessions in pairs for homework.

Small learning group/s will be limited to 8-10 persons maximum (a wait-list will run for next class).

These classes have been scheduled to be compatible with the Australian timezone. However participants from all over are invited to join us.

Click http://sensemaking.com.au/ifs-training2016 for more information or to enroll.

The sessions are running Saturdays 0900-1100
6th and 20th February
5th and 19th March

(Australian EST = UTC/GMT+11 hours)

Equivalent times in US timezones – all welcome!
Fridays 5th and 19th February and 4th March – 2-4pm (PST) – 5-7pm (EST)

Note! the 18th March will be effected by the DLS time change – 3-5pm (PDT) – 6-8pm (EDT)

Check other timezone differences here

The class is open to people everywhere.

Click http://sensemaking.com.au/ifs-training2016 for more information or to enroll.


Witnessed IFS Sessions with Bonnie Weiss

Witnessed IFS SessionsI am excited to be offering Witnessed IFS Sessions on alternate Thursday’s this Fall.

These free teleconference sessions give people an opportunity to be present during a live session with a volunteer client. The group serves as a compassionate-support container for the client’s process.

I will incorporate some teaching to illuminate the IFS process, wherever appropriate during the session.

Participants report that they are touched by the universality of the issues that people work on, and have some movement in their own process as a result of listening.

Our “parts” are always listening and looking for validation.

There will be opportunities to give feedback to the client and ask questions of me at the end of the session.


September 24
5-6:30 pm Pacific (8-9:30pm Eastern)

October 8
5-6:30 pm Pacific (8-9:30 pm Eastern)

October 22
5-6:30 pm Pacific (8-9:30 pm Eastern)

To join any of the Witnessed IFS Sessions, click here to register.

Balloons for Unblending

Balloons for UnblendingOn a recent trip to Israel, I was fortunate to visit a wonderful trauma center called Natal. Our gift package included some unique materials for helping children who have been the victims of war, including a blow up plastic ball.

Having the children breathe deeply enough to blow up the toy was a quick way to deal with anxiety.

Upon my return, I was looking for something to help a client who had difficulty unblending from paralyzing anxiety (separating from the anxious part and accessing Self). I brought in the ball and we found that blowing his anxiety into it and then being able to hold it separately was helpful to his process.

Since then I have found that working with balloons is the best way to do this.

The client is able to keep and stash of them with him for when he finds himself blended with his anxiety in a situation in his life.

I am now including balloons in my therapeutic bag of tricks. I find them useful in situations where a client has trouble unblending from a part.

I used it with a recent client, who has had great difficulty unblending from his rage. He choose a pink balloon to put his rage in, and was able to work much more effectively with the rage when he held the balloon his hands.

The elements at work here:

  1. Taking deep breaths and blowing.
  2. Putting something of yourself into the balloon.
  3. Putting a part outside of yourself in a contained way
  4. The kinesthetic experience of being able to manipulate and manage the part in the physical world.

Once you have a part unblended and in the form of a balloon, the playful possibilities are endless.

Witnessed IFS Sessions

What is a Witnessed IFS Session?Witnessed IFS Sessions

Bonnie Weiss, LCSW & Everett Considine, IFSCP, will be hosting Witnessed IFS Sessions.

Each session involves one person being facilitated through an IFS session, with the rest of the group witnessing, lending your compassionate presence, and giving feedback afterward. We also discuss the IFS process both during and after the session.

Witnessing an IFS session can be very powerful for both the people witnessing and the person who is doing the session. If you want a chance to have a free IFS session or just want to witness, please join us!

Many times the “parts” that the person is working with will resonate with you as you are witnessing. This leads to deep levels of healing for everyone in the group. Also the high level of Self (healing) energy in the group is palpable.

Thursdays 5:00 – 6:30 pm pacific (8:00 – 9:30 pm eastern)

9/10, 9/24, 10/8, 10/22/15: Bonnie leads

9/17, 10/1, 10/15, 10/29/15: Everett leads

Attend any sessions you like

Click and Register for the Self-Therapy Journey Webinar


Click here to register.

If you want to volunteer for a session, email
Everett at everettconsidine@gmail.com
or Bonnie at bonnieweiss@gmail.com

Self-Nurturing Meditation

hearts-154741_1280Self-nurturing helps you create a positive state of mind.

One of the practical benefits of the brain research information from the neuropsychology labs is letting us know that there are significant health benefits from having a positive state of mind.

When we feel good about ourselves, hopeful about our lives, and deserving of love and support, this resets our cardiac system, helps regulate our emotional state, and creates increasingly satisfying experiences.  

I have recorded this meditation as a delicious breath of fresh air for relaxing your mind and enlivening your soul and its innate possibilities. I invite you to receive these loving and nurturing affirmations before bed as a splendid evening treat.

The meditation takes you to an open, accessible place where positive statements can be absorbed into your consciousness.  It helps you to…

  • Love yourself and sense your preciousness
  • Feel deserving of the good things in life
  • Have permission to be spontaneous, playful, and joyous


Click here for more information or to purchase.


Beyond Eating Audio Course

Beyond Eating Audio CourseI am very excited to announce the Beyond Eating Audio Course.

It lays out a three-pronged model for helping people with food-related issues. The course will help you with food addiction, weight-related anxiety, and the hopelessness that comes from managing one’s relationship with food.

The program focuses on:

  • Understanding hunger
  • Identifying the parts of you that arise around food and developing a healing relationship with them
  • Developing self-nurturing practices

The package consists of:

  • 2 introductory tracks
  • 8 lecture tracks
  • 11 meditation tracks
  • 4 therapy session demonstration tracks
  • 1 Word document with homework, articles, graphics and forms.

It is linked with our on-line community of other journeyers where you can find support and homework partners.

It is geared toward deepening your understanding of your relationship with food and eating, and in addition, it has the potential to affect your sense of yourself in profound ways.

My wish is that you come away with more compassion for yourself, the ability to stand more separately from your parts, a greater capacity for making healthy choices, and a deeper sense of your own preciousness.

Bonnie Weiss, LCSW ♥

C05-Beyond-Eating-Audio-Course-1Click here for more information or to purchase it.

New IFS Demonstration Sessions on Eating Issues

I am excited to add 4 new eating demonstrations on eating issues to the store this week. Click on any title to learn more about it or purchase it.


Working with Exiles DemonstrationWorking with Eating Exiles

This is a particularly touching piece of work. The client has maintained normal weight throughout her life, though she constantly struggles with food and eating. She finds that she has an Inner Controller stemming from for a teenager who experienced ridicule about her body, and a protector with a trunk of memories from early childhood. The two most prominent memories were of a baby who got too much milk and not enough love from a rushed mother; and a little girl who stuffed her face to escape from family dinner table arguments. As we work with these two exiles she is amazed at the clarity she is able to achieve and the depth of understanding and compassion that emerges.


The Hijacker Indulger DemonstrationThe Hijacker Indulger

This client has been a yo-yo dieter for years, and now in midlife finds that she cannot lose the weight as easily as in the past. We work on the polarity between a controlling part and an unconscious out-of-control indulger. The exile that we find goes back to a broken relationship in her mid-20s. Its protector never wants to be intimate and vulnerable to that depth of hurt again.


Getting to know a food controller demonstrationGetting to Know a Food Controller

This university professor client has explored IFS intellectually, and was eager to experience it. She begins by exploring three parts of the cluster: the Food Controller, the Indulger, and the Inner Defender. As we get to know the Food Controller in the form of a Head Mistress, it spontaneously begins to soften and change. We are able to get a glimpse of the exile that she is protecting, but the client is not ready for work with her at this time. The Head Mistress wants to maintain her role, but in a softer way. The system nicely re-organizes itself and comes to a new, more peaceful status quo. This session is an excellent introduction to the IFS process.


B26-Working-with-a-Foggy-Part-NEWA Foggy Part that Protects Shame

This is an interesting demo with a client who has a lot of eating disorder treatment experience. She is still struggling with a dissociative foggy part. The turning point in the work is my helping her to take a stand with a Shaming Part that arises as the exiles are telling their stores. She arrives at an important clarification about the difference between facing internal struggles and feeling incapacitated. As she feels stronger and clearer, she is able to stand up for her exiles for the first time, and her credibility in the system is solidified. We see the dramatic changes that occur when she is present with courage and vitality in her internal system.


Eating Behaviors: Two Parts That Fight the Food Controller

The Food Controller is an inner critic part that tries to regulate your eating behaviors and other health-related behaviors. It believes that without its efforts, you would be out of control and ruin your life.

It can be hard, cruel, and demeaning—often resulting in depression and low self-esteem. It can lead to…

  • Being obsessed with what you eat or don’t eat
  • Constant worrying about your weight and your body image
  • Feeling bad about your eating habits
  • Going on fad diets
  • Making behavioral resolutions
  • Feeling shame about lapses in meeting your eating goals.

When we have an Inner Critic part operating to make us feel bad about ourselves, it is natural to also develop parts that try to fight off its impact. Generally these parts are not coming from a grounded place of self-care and nurturing (the IFS Self). They are usually more immature–mimicking a child or adolescent’s reactions to a controlling parent. They function as protectors; trying to keep wounded inner child parts (exiles) from being reinjured.

Clients have often found it helpful for me to identify these parts so they can channel their energy in a positive, self-supportive ways to promote healing.

The RebelThe Rebel is the part that behaves in direct opposition to the Food Controller. Naming it always helps people clarify previously mysterious eating behavior. The Rebel bristles at the commands of the critic and refuses to be bullied or bossed around (overtly or covertly). Because of its knee jerk reaction to being controlled, its actions may not be in our best interest. In trying to deflect the impact of the critic, it often behaves in direct opposition to the Controller’s demands. It fights the rigid controls with an attitude of, “Oh yeah, you can’t tell me what to do.” or “Oh, you say I can’t eat that cookie, watch me eat the whole box!”

Inner-DefenderThe Inner Defender reacts to the criticism of the food controller by coming to your defense. It can’t tolerate the injustice of the criticism and tries to plead your case. It enumerates all the good things that you have done and how hard you’re trying. The Defender wants you to get credit for your efforts and be appreciated for what you are trying to do.

Sometimes your Inner Defender tries to argue with the Food Controller. If the Food Controller says that you are worthless, the Defender tries to prove that you are a good person. If the Critic says you are fat and lazy, it will give evidence of how you were able to stay on a diet yesterday. The Defender may the critic to “Leave me alone,” but it often doesn’t feel powerful.

Hunger and Eating Issues

We can’t begin to Women overcoming eating issuestalk about eating issues unless we talk about hunger.

Hunger is one of our most primary needs. It is one of the earliest ways that we interact with our environment. It is what brings us back to our caretakers and how we learned about the nature of the world we were born into. Through our hunger we learn if we are safe, if our needs will be recognized, if our caretakers will respond to us appropriately and in a timely manner, if our satisfaction will be respected, and what love is.

In my years of working with people, the hallmark of the psychological issues behind problematic eating is the conflict people have regarding their needs. Something is awry in the cycle of need recognition and satisfaction.

Most people with a food addiction don’t recognize when they are really hungry, what they are hungry for, when they are full, and what other needs they have that are masked by a desire for food. When people explore themselves, they often find that their constant thinking about food serves only to distract them from other unmet needs.

Exploring food issues unearths more extensive conflicts about how we care for ourselves. This may be related to feelings of low self-esteem and habitual selfless behavior, such as taking care of others instead of yourself, being a martyr, and denying yourself in favor of others. You may develop an elaborate belief system that says you don’t have the time, resources, or permission to adequately pay attention to what you need.

This is just one of the eating-related issues that I explore in my Beyond Eating teleseminar, webinar, and course and that Self-Therapy Journey will help you with.