IFS Exiles Course Starts March 30 2020

In the IFS Exiles course, you learn how to

  • safely access young wounded parts (exiles),
    how to stay in Self,
  • how to develop a healing relationship with your exiles, and
  • how to unburden the pain and negative beliefs of exiles so they are transformed.

 

This enables you to do a complete IFS session with yourself or a partner. You learn how to facilitate a partner who is working on themselves.

The prerequisite for this course is the IFS Basic Course or equivalent.

If you aren’t sure if you qualify, contact me.

Mondays
March 30 – May 4 (6 meetings)
4:30-6:30 pm pacific time (7:30-9:30 pm eastern)
Cost: $300, $250 if enrolled by March 24
Click here to enroll.

The Origins of the IFS Self

What are The Origins of the IFS Self?

Even though IFS focuses on our parts, human beings are not simply a collection of parts. We are so much more than that. Our true Self is mature and loving and has the capacity to heal and integrate our parts.

In the early days of the development of IFS, Richard Schwartz was learning the model through feedback from his therapy clients. He had learned about parts, and when he worked with a client, he would often ask a protector to step aside so they could go deeper with a piece of work. Then another protector would emerge, and he would help the client to get that one to relax, too.

This would continue until eventually a different kind of presence would emerge. Dick would ask his clients what part that was, and they would say, “Well, it’s not a part exactly. It has a different quality to it. It doesn’t feel like all my other parts.” Then he would say, “Well, if it’s not a part, what is it?” And they would answer, “Well, I don’t know, it’s just me. It’s who I really am.” When the clients expanded on what they meant, they would usually say something like, “When my parts have all stepped aside, what is left is me.” And once this “me” was accessed, the therapy would flow effortlessly because now the person’s energy was freed up. It felt like a surfer who was in “the zone,” catching a wave and riding it smoothly and easily.

And so Dick learned about the Self.  This was wonderfully transformative, and a deeper level of the power of IFS was unleashed.

IFS Basic Course Starts February 17

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 my book, Self-Therapy.

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.

Mondays
Feb. 17 – March 23 (6 meetings)
4:30-6:30 pm pacific time (7:30-9:30 pm eastern)
Cost: $300, $250 if enrolled by Feb. 11
Click here to enroll

IFS Basic Course: Starts February 17

Introduction to IFS

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 my book, Self-Therapy.

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.

Mondays
Feb. 17 – March 23 (6 meetings)
4:30-6:30 pm pacific time (7:30-9:30 pm eastern)
Cost: $300, $250 if enrolled by Feb. 11
Click here to enroll

 

Webinar: Introduction to IFS

Fall 2018 Introduction to IFS

This free introductory webinar, Monday February 10, 2020, will introduce IFS and give you a taste of working on yourself with this approach.

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.

Monday, Feb. 10
4:30-6:30 pacific time (7:30-9:30 pm eastern)
Free
Click here to enroll.

Polarization in IFS

When two parts are polarized, it means they are opposed to each other.Polarization in IFS

They are attempting to act in opposite ways, such as staying versus going or working versus relaxing. They form a polarity. However, polarization is more than just a polarity; polarized parts are also fighting against each other’s goals. For example, a part that wants to eat a lot would be actively fighting against the dieting that comes from another part. Furthermore, each polarized part is convinced that it must take an extreme stand in order to counter the destructive actions of the other part.

Even though polarized parts may be extreme, they often hold an energy or quality that is important for you. For example, one common kind of polarization is between a part that wants to connect with people and a part that wants to be assertive, both of which are valuable qualities. Another widespread polarization is between the energies of safety/order and autonomy/freedom.

You don’t want to erase or diminish the positive energy of either polarized part. You want to have access to each one’s energy in a non-extreme form.

In resolving polarization, you aren’t looking to just find a bland compromise between the parts or a negotiated settlement that is purely intellectual. The goal is to have your parts appreciate each other’s strengths and good intentions, work through their extreme protective roles, and learn to cooperate with each other. This gives you much greater access to your creativity and power and also makes it possible for you to come up with an innovative solution to the inner conflict that is satisfying to both parts. When the Self can hold space for two polarized parts to work together, a dynamic, transformative process results.

For more information, see Self-Therapy, Vol. 2, chapters 4 and 5, or Resolving Inner Conflict.

Self-Therapy-Vol-2

Basic IFS Course Starts October 15

Basic IFS CourseThere is a new start date for the Basic IFS Course: Oct. 15

The Basic IFS Course was originally scheduled to start on September 17. I have put off the start of this course for a few weeks to allow more people to enroll. It will now start on October 8.

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 my book, Self-Therapy.

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.

Tuesdays
4:30-6:30 pm pacific time (7:30-9:30 pm eastern)
Oct. 15 – Nov. 19, 2019 (6 classes)
$300 ($250 if paid by Oct. 9)
Click here to enroll.

September 10: IFS Introductory Seminar

This free introductory seminar will introduce IFS and give you a taste of working on yourself using this approach. It will include experiential exercises and a demonstration IFS session. You can ask me questions about the model and about the upcoming Basic IFS Class.

The IFS Idea

IFS is based on the idea that the psyche consists of sub-personalities, called parts, which make up a Introduction to IFSkind 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 is hardly ever solves the problem.

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 the psyche by relying on the healing power of our true Self or spiritual center, which has these important qualities–connectedness, curiosity, compassion, and calmness.

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

Tuesday, September 10, 2019
4:30-6:30 pacific time (7:30-9:30 pm eastern)
Free
Click here to enroll

The Basic IFS Course will follow this starting Sept. 17 at the same time and run for 6 weeks.

Accessing an Exile Safely in IFS

Working with ExilesWhen working with childhood wounds there are two dangers. One is that you will be flooded with pain; the other is that you will avoid the exile because you are afraid of the pain being too excruciating.   Exiles want to be heard and healed, but unfortunately, they try to be heard by flooding you with their feelings, by blending with you. This is all they know. Blending can be frightening because it draws you into the exile’s vortex of helplessness and you might become increasingly buried in the pain or chaos.

Intensity of Reliving a Trauma

The intensity of reliving a trauma in this way could actually re-injure you, and if this begins to happen, protectors will usually react by stepping in and blocking access to the exile. Keeping you from this suffering has been their job for years so they will react automatically. You will find yourself going numb or spacing out; you might become distracted or angry. These, and other, reactions all come from protectors who are afraid of the pain, and for good reason; it really might be too much for you to cope with.

Explore an Exile’s Pain Safely

IFS has discovered a way to explore an exile’s pain safely. You stay in Self and relate to the exile; you don’t become the exile. If you merged with the exile and lost contact with the Self, the pain really could be overwhelming. However, the Self, when it is differentiated and separate from the exile, can deal with anything. When in Self, you sit in a calm, grounded place, and therefore you aren’t threatened by pain and trauma. If you start to be overpowered by the exile’s emotions, which means that the part is blending with Self, IFS has effective techniques for unblending and returning you to a grounded place.

This approach is workable because, in most cases, it isn’t necessary for you to directly feel the exile’s pain. IFS has discovered that witnessing is usually enough to set the stage for the rest of the healing steps.

Benefits to this Approach

There are a number of benefits to this approach. Besides avoiding being retraumatized, you aren’t confronted with an armory of defenses to keep you from the exile. Since you aren’t threatened by the exile’s pain, protectors don’t feel the need to interrupt the process. This saves time, and sometimes it is the only way to work with an exile because otherwise protectors continually throw up obstacles and may permanently block the process.  Furthermore, by remaining in Self, you can be a compassionate witness to the exile’s pain and the agent of healing and transformation for the exile.

Benefits of Witnessing an Exile in IFS

Witnessing and Exile is one of the steps in healing an exile, where she shows you what harmful situation happened in childhood to cause her to be in such pain.

There are a number of important benefits to be gained from this witnessing process.

(1) It opens up hidden memories so they can be healed. When an exile and her memories are deeply buried in the psyche, healing isn’t possible. A wounded part needs the light of day. If you have a purely intellectual understanding of the memory, that probably won’t lead to healing. The memory must be opened up emotionally and intellectually, so it is both felt and understood.

(2) The memory is metabolized under the guidance and support of the Self, so the experience is completed and integrated and the physiological stress reaction can subside.

(3) The exile gets to be fully understood by the Self. There is a crucial difference between what happened originally and what the exile is experiencing now as she relives and shares the memory. This time the exile is not alone. The original incident was especially difficult because the exile had to deal with it all by herself, with no help or understanding from another living soul. I hear this all the time from exiles; they feel completely alone, having a reaction that they cannot share. Now in the therapy session, the Self is there to witness the experience and provide understanding. This is healing for the exile and creates a greater bond between her and the Self, which sets the stage for the Self being the agent of further healing as we progress in the IFS process.

(4) The exile understands that the burden she is carrying is from the past and not intrinsic to her. For example, a child part who feels worthless learns that she was made to feel that way in her family. In this way, she can see that her feeling of worthlessness isn’t the truth; it is a burden that she took on in childhood that doesn’t really belong to her. Therefore, it can be released, and she can experience her intrinsic worth.

 

Conscious Blending in IFS

What is Conscious Blending

Normally, in IFS you must not be blended with a part when you work with it. There is an exception to the need for unblending with exiles. Sometimes it is all right to feel an exile’s pain. If you don’t feel thrown off by the experience and it doesn’t keep you from being grounded, you can allow yourself to experience it. In fact, sometimes it will feel right to you to sense this pain. And the exile may want you to experience her directly because this helps her to feel fully witnessed by you.

Experiencing the Exile’s Pain

Experiencing the exile’s pain in this way means that you are simultaneously in Self and consciously blended with the exile. The exile is showing you her emotion by having you feel it. That is fine as long as you can tolerate this experience and you remain centered and able to be there for the exile, and as long as this doesn’t trigger any protectors. Often it is all right to experience the exile’s suffering up to a certain limit. Let her know if it gets to be too much and ask her to contain the rest.

In some cases, you may be able to feel the pain fully and even express it. You will know how far you can go in this direction. This approach is similar to some cathartic therapy methods. However, in IFS, we only move in this direction if it is both safe and productive.

I call this conscious blending because you are aware that you are blended and are purposely choosing to allow it. This is very different from being blended without realizing it or being overwhelmed emotionally. By blending consciously, you know that, even while you experience the exile’s emotions, you are grounded in a presence (Self) that is much larger and stronger than she. This gives you the opportunity to titrate how much of her pain you take on.

This an excerpt from my book Self-Therapy.

Self-Therapy