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.