IFS Basic Course Starts April 2

The IFS Basic Course

The Basic IFS Course teaches you how to access Self and work with protectors. 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 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.

For more information, click


April 2 – May 7 (6 classes)
10 am – Noon pacific time
(1-3 pm eastern, 6-8 pm UK)
Cost: $300, $250 if you enroll by March 27, 2019
Click here to enroll


Unblending from the Inner Defender

In working with an Inner Critic part using IFS, you first must unblend from the Critic and the Criticized Child. The next step, involves checking to see how you are feeling toward the Critic to determine whether or nUnblending from Inner Defenderot you are in Self with respect to it. Being genuinely open to your Inner Critic is not easy. It has been causing you pain, so it is natural for you to be angry with it. It is understandable if you judge it and want to be rid of it. However, approaching the Critic (or any part) with these attitudes won’t lead to changing it.

These attitudes aren’t coming from your Self; they are coming from another part of you that I call the Inner Defender because it wants to defend you from the Critic. Often the Inner Defender feels judgmental and angry toward the Critic. It may try to dismiss the Critic or even banish it from your psyche. But you can’t get rid of a part, and the Critic usually fights back against attempts to dismiss it.

Sometimes your Inner Defender argues with the Inner Critic. If the Critic says that you are worthless, the Defender tries to prove that you are a good person. If the Critic says you can’t succeed, the Defender argues that you can. It wants to engage with the Critic and defend your goodness and your right to be yourself. It wants to fight against being controlled by the Critic. For example, Sarah had an Inner Defender that was angry and rebellious toward her Critic and wanted to convince the Critic that she was a valuable person who could make it in the world.

While it makes sense that your Inner Defender wants to champion you, engaging with the Critic in this way usually doesn’t work. The Critic often wins the argument, or, if your Inner Defender wins for the moment, the Critic may redouble its attacks later. In addition, this approach creates inner conflict.

If your Inner Critic tells you how to behave or not behave, then you might also have an Inner Rebel. This is similar to the Inner Defender except that its concern is inner autonomy. It doesn’t want to be pushed around by an Inner Critic, so it defies the Critic. It says, “Don’t tell me what to do.” Even if the Critic’s ideas are good for you, the Inner Rebel may go against them in order to preserve its sense of personal power. This can make it difficult to follow through on disciplines needed for health, exercise, or spiritual growth.

Now let’s discuss how to unblend from the Inner Defender (or Rebel). Just as with any concerned part, you ask it to step aside so you can get to know the Critic from an open place. However, your Inner Defender may be reluctant to do this because it knows how much pain the Critic has been causing you. The way around this is to explain to the Inner Defender that the Critic is trying to help and protect you, even if you don’t yet understand how. Then ask if the Defender would be willing to step aside and allow you to get to know the Critic so you can discover its positive intent. When the Inner Defender has stepped aside, you will be open to getting to know the Critic from its perspective, which will ultimately lead to transforming it.

For more information on the Inner Critic and IFS, click here, or read the book Freedom from Your Inner Critic.


Protectors in IFS: Manager-Firefighter Polarization

Managers and firefighters are the two kinds of protectors in IFS.Protectors in IFS

In IFS, two parts are polarized when they are in conflict with each other about how you will behave or feel in a certain situation.

This article is an excerpt from my new book, Self-Therapy, Vol. 2. I also teach about polarization in my Advanced IFS Classes.

Managers and firefighters are the two kinds of protectors in IFS. They are frequently polarized with each other.

Most firefighters tend to be oriented toward excitement and intensity, fun and thrills.

Most managers tend to be oriented toward control and order, especially if they are trying to stop the destructive activity of firefighters.

In fact, as a result of successful IFS work, you might experience a decrease in the thrills that come from firefighters and begin to feel that your life has become boring. This difference in orientation between managers and firefighters lends itself toward polarization.

Because firefighter activity is often dangerous and self-destructive, managers come forward that are judgmental of firefighters and try to limit their behavior.

In fact, for every harmful firefighter, there is usually a manager that is polarized with it which is trying to stop the firefighter from causing problems in your life.

When a manager doesn’t succeed in stopping a firefighter, it often becomes harshly judgmental toward you for engaging in the firefighter activity. It shames you in an attempt to prevent the firefighter from acting out again. For example, after you binge on food, a manager may arise that shames you for getting out of control.

When your life is being ruined by a firefighter, it is easy to think that you just need to work with this part and get it to change. However, because of the presence of polarization, it usually isn’t enough to only work with the destructive firefighter and the exile it protects. You often must also engage with the controlling manager and work on the polarization directly.