New Date: Transforming Your Inner Critic using IFS Course

I have pushed back the starting date for the Inner Critic Course in order to allow more people to enroll. It will now start on Oct. 16.

In the Inner Critic Course you will:

  • Develop the grounding and strength to separate from your Critic’s message so you have room to breathe and find your center again.
  • Learn about the seven types of Inner Critic parts and which ones are problematic for you.
  • Discover that your Inner Critic is actually trying to help and protect you (even though it actually causes trouble).
  • Use IFS to transform your Critic and heal your Criticized Child to support your self-esteem and confidence.
  • Develop your Inner Champion to support you to be yourself and feel good about yourself.

Freedom from you Inner CriticFor more information on the Inner Critic, click here, or read the book Freedom from Your Inner Critic.


This Inner Critic Course consists of live sessions by videoconference where you get to interact with Jay and a small number of other participants. Since we can see each other, it allows us to really create connection and trust in the group. We will teach you how to do this powerful inner work and demonstrate it using live IFS sessions with volunteers from the class.

You will also be paired up each week with someone from the class to practice doing an IFS session on yourself with your partner witnessing and helping you.

2017 Course Dates

Mondays 4:30-6:30 pm pacific time (7:30-9:30 eastern)
Oct. 16, 23, 30, Nov. 13, 20, Dec. 4
Cost: $300, $250 if you enroll by October 9
Click here for more information or to enroll


The Perfectionist and the Pattern System

In the last blog, I showed how the Inner Critic is in the Self-esteem dimension of the Pattern System. Each of the seven types of Inner Critics also resides in a dimension of the Pattern System. Let’s look at the Perfectionist:

The two polarized protectors are the Perfectionist and the Sloppy Part, which just does tasks in a cavalier way, not caring about how well they are done or the consequences. The healthy version of the Perfectionist is the Inner Mentor who helps you to do things in an excellent way without judgment or extremes. It is caring and supportive and knows when something is good enough. The healthy version of the Sloppy Part is the Inner Champion who supports you working in an easy flowing way without sacrificing quality. And it also supports your feeling good about yourself. [Read more…]

The Inner Critic and the Pattern System

The Pattern System is a way of understanding different types of parts and capacities in the human psyche and how they are related to each other. (See  for more details.) There are various dimensions in the Pattern System such as self-esteem, power, intimacy, and accomplishment. Each dimension involves two polarized IFS protectors and two related healthy capacities. (There is also an exile involved, but I will leave that out of this blog.)

In the Self-esteem Dimension, the two polarized protectors are the Inner Critic, which tears down your self-esteem, and the Prideful Part, which tries to build it up by impressing other people or having grandiose ideas of how special you are. The healthy capacities are the Inner Champion and the Inner Mentor. The Inner Champion is the healthy version of Pride because it supports your self-esteem as your birthright. It reminds you that you are valuable just for being yourself and you don’t have to achieve anything or be anything in order to feel good about yourself. Your Inner Mentor is the healthy version of the Inner Critic because it helps you improve yourself in areas where you need that, but it does this with complete self-acceptance, kindly support, and encouragement. Your Inner Champion and your Inner Mentor naturally go together. They are integrated instead of fighting each other the way Pride and the Critic are.


Your goal in Inner Critic work is to develop your Inner Champion to support your feelings of self-worth, and to transform your Inner Critic into an Inner Mentor that functions like a good parent in helping you to grow.

The Inner Mentor

In our continuing study of the Inner Critic, we have coined a new phrase and concept. Your Inner Mentor is the healthy version of the Critic. It performs a necessary function in your psyche that the Critic does in a destructive way. It looks at any shortcomings you might have, mistakes you’ve made, or ways that you need to grow. However, it does this with complete self-acceptance, without any harshness or self-judgment. It is kind and caring toward you in seeing where you need self-improvement. It is open to any criticisms from others but doesn’t automatically believe them. It encourages you to look at yourself with humility to see the ways that you need to change how you operate in the world, and it helps you to make these changes in a supportive, encouraging way, just like a kindly mentor. When you have worked on one of your Inner Critic parts and it is transformed, it becomes an Inner Mentor for you.

Let’s see how this might work externally by looking at an example of dealing with a child. Suppose you are a parent, and your child doesn’t clean up his room the way you asked him to. If you act like an Inner Critic, you might say in a harsh, loud voice, “You lazy slob. You’re no good. Can’t you do anything right!” However, if you instead act like an Inner Mentor, you might say in a kindly supportive voice, “Oh, honey, that’s not quite what I was looking for. Let me show you how to clean up a room. Would you like me to do it with you?”

The Inner Mentor and the Inner Champion (see previous blogs) are integrated with each other, not polarized. They naturally support each other. The Inner Champion helps you to feel confident and valuable, and the Inner Mentor helps you to improve while still feeling good about yourself.

Birth of the Inner Champion

Inner Critic Workshops for Women
Over the years I have worked with hundred’s of women on deeply personal issues related to self-esteem. These women sought counseling in an effort to have a coherent, meaningful life and to fulfill their potential for satisfaction and happiness. Four years ago, I went through a period of time when I was seeing a number of impressive women. They were gifted with a variety of capacities—intellectual acuity, musical talent, personality, inner and outer beauty. Despite that, the common thread that kept jumping out at me was their self-doubt and self-hate. 

I imagined that if I could put them in the same room—to see and reflect each other—they would sense their similar conundrum and be able to gain some perspective on it. As a therapist I had helped people work with their “superegos” for many years. But for this group,  the concept of the “Inner Critic” seemed more appropriate. They were constantly being harassed by a demeaning critical voice. If they had a great job that sucked up all their time and energy, they were criticized for not having a fabulous boyfriend. If they decided to stay home with their children, they were overcome with feelings of deficiency when their sisters had careers.  If they were radiantly beautiful, they were never satisfied with their bodies. If they were bright and articulate, they were worried about their looks or professional competition.

I wanted to help them find an antidote to these nattering voices. The image that surfaced was an exuberant chorus of women’s voices standing around them, saying words that took away the power of the critic. I set out to design a process the allowed each women to separate from her critic and find her own personal mantra of love, assurance. and support. With that, I decided to bring them together in the first Inner Critic Workshop for women in 2006. [Read more…]

Two Kinds of Inner Controller Critics

Bonnie and I recently realized that we needed to rewrite our report on the Inner Controller, which is one of the seven types of Inner Critics. It isn’t that our understanding of the Inner Controller changed. What’s new is our view of the Inner Champion needed for the Inner Controller. To understand this, we can think of there being two kinds of Inner Controllers. Here is the second half of the new Inner Controller report.

(1) Sometimes the Inner Controller has an unrealistic view of who you are and the danger of your impulses. It attacks you for having needs or taking actions that are just taking care of yourself. Or you may have some degree of impulsiveness, but your Inner Controller reacts in a way that is much too harsh, punitive, and rigid, given the reality of your behavior. Your culture may have an unreasonable ideal of thinness or prohibitions against emotional or sexual expression. This can result in your feeling that you have to control your normal impulses. In this case the Inner Controller may be working against what may be natural and healthy for you.

(2) In other cases the Inner Controller is really reacting to an out-of-control Indulger Part that does need to be attended to. When this is true, there is a polarization between these two parts and both sides need to be understood and worked with to get relief. [Read more…]