Beginning Work in an Interactive-IFS Group

This is an excerpt from a longer article, The Interactive Group Experience.

At some point I may encourage you to initiate some interactive work—to pick someone in the group and tell them your initial impressions of them or your reactions to them. After even a short time in the group, you will have initial reactions to every person in the group, so it’s just a matter of picking someone to start with, probably someone that you feel safe talking to. The reactions you express can be positive or negative, big or little. Many people start out with positive reactions because they find these less threatening. This also helps to build initial trust and safety.

For example, you say,

“Mary, I really like the way you come across. You seem really honest, and not afraid to say exactly what you are feeling. And you say it in a way that doesn’t offend people.”

Then I ask you to tell her how that makes you feel toward her. You say,

“I feel warmly toward you, and I feel like I can trust you.”

Mary then responds with her reaction to what you said. For example,

“Thank you. That makes me feel really good. I’ve been working on that for a long time. It’s nice to be recognized. I like you, too.”

Your first interaction might begin with someone in the group giving you their initial impressions of you. For example, John says,

“It seems like you’re a nice person, but a part of me wonders if you would ever say anything negative even if you were feeling it. So far it seems like you’re mainly trying to please people.”

It is then your turn to respond. You might feel embarrassed (or hurt or angry) in response to what he said. If so, you say,

“A part of me feels embarrassed by what you said.”

Or you might respond to the content of John’s perception of you, by saying whether you think you have been trying to please people in group. The dialogue between you and John continues until it came to a conclusion that is satisfactory for both of you.

One of your first interactions might involve receiving positive feedback. For example, Betty says, “I really like what I’ve seen of you so far. You seem warm and caring and really perceptive, especially for someone so new to the group. A part of me feels happy that you’ve been so understanding and supportive with me, you know, especially last week.” You might take in her feedback, allowing it to make you feel good about yourself, and respond to Betty in a warm way.

Or you might get embarrassed or deflect the compliment. In that case, I would encourage you to examine why it was hard for you to take in her positive feedback. For example, a part of you might not feel worthy, or a part of you might feel afraid of the contact with Betty. You might then experiment with taking in Betty’s feelings and respond with your feelings toward her. A short dialogue would ensue.



New Interactive/IFS Group for Professionals

An Interactive/IFS Group can help you . . .

  • Develop your capacity for intimacy and learn how to make a love relationship work
  • Become more assertive
  • Become more outgoing and socially comfortable
  • Learn what you may be doing to keep your relationships from being satisfying
  • Understand and trust people of the opposite sex . . . or of the same sex
  • Learn how to deal with anger and conflict constructively
  • Become part of a loving community of people
  • Raise your self-esteem
  • Get in touch with your personal power

You can learn these relationship skills:

  • Being in touch with your feelings and expressing them
  • Speaking for your parts, not acting them out
  • Reaching out to others confidently
  • Saying ”No” firmly
  • Allowing yourself to be open and vulnerable
  • Expressing yourself forcefully and spontaneously
  • Being comfortable relating to a group of people
  • Asking for what you really want
  • Having the courage to bring up difficult issues
  • Empathizing with others

What Happens

  • You work directly on how you are relating to the other group members . . . in the moment. Instead of just talking about how you relate in your life, you practice interacting with others right in the group and get help as you do.
  • You get direct and honest feedback on how people are reacting to you.
  • The group provides a safe place for you to try out new, healthy ways of relating to people.
  • You learn how to feel your emotional responses and identify the parts that are activated while interacting with people
  • You learn how communicate openly, clearly, and assertively.
  • You learn how to access and work with the parts of you that get triggered in interactions with people, using IFS.
  • You discover your ways of relating that aren’t working for you , so you can experiment with changing them in the group.
  • You can share your life issues and struggles with the group.
  • You see other people struggling with problems similar to yours, and through this you learn about yourself and others.
  • There is a strong sense of support for each person and a warm feeling of community in the group.


The group meets by videoconference, so we all can see each other, which enhances the group connection.

The ongoing group meets twice a month, and you meet with me for an individual consultation on the group every 3 months.

Each meeting is recorded, so if you miss one, you can watch the recording.

Cost: $120/month, including consultations
The groups are limited to 8 people.

First and third Wednesdays of each month
10am- 12 noon pacific time (1-3 pm eastern, 6-8 pm UK)

This group will start on Feb. 21, 2018

For more information, click

Getting Started

You meet with me for a free pre-group interview to see if the group is a good fit for you.

For a free pre-group interview, email me at