IFS is an “Evidence-Based” Practice

I am very excited to announce that IFS is now posted on NREPP as an evidence-based practice.

NREPP is the National Registry for Evidence-based Programs and Practices, a national repository that is maintained by the U.S. government’s Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

Interventions listed in NREPP, now including IFS, have been subject to independent, rigorous scrutiny and are deemed to show significant impact on individual outcomes relating to mental health.

A comprehensive application requesting the inclusion of IFS on NREPP was based on a proof-of-concept study by Nancy Shadick, MD, MPH and Nancy Sowell, MSW, LICSW. The longitudinal randomized clinical study, which involved 70-some patients in an IFS treatment during 36 weeks with periodic follow-ups including 12 months post-intervention, published in August 2013 in the peer-reviewed Journal of Rheumatology.

SAMHSA’s independent scientific review of the study and NREPP application affirmed the following findings:

As a clinical treatment, IFS has been rated EFFECTIVE for improving general functioning and well-being. In addition, it has been rated PROMISING for each of: improving phobia, panic, and generalized anxiety disorders and symptoms; physical health conditions and symptoms; personal resilience/self-concept; and depression and depressive symptoms.

These scientific findings and the ensuing listing of IFS on NREPP affirm the vast potential of IFS Therapy for advancing emotional healing and mental well-being. In particular, they indicate promising effects on mind (depression, anxiety), body (physical health conditions), and spirit (personal resilience and self-concept).

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.