Psychology as Technology
for Self Development
IFS Therapy - one of the youngest and incredibly effective methods of therapy and personal development. Originated from ideas of psychoanalysis and family therapy , it uses cutting-edge approaches. Applicable to any type of psychological difficulty : anxiety, self esteem, confidence issues, communication problems, phobias , trauma etc. Can be used both, as a self-therapy and providing therapy to others. The notable point - This method of self therapy doesn't require you to be inducted into deep trance (self-hypnosis) state, only a small concentration level in the awake state is enough for carrying out the self-therapy session. That is, you can very easily access the subconscious material, achieve cathatic release and find the first memory which is a root of the symptom, without going into deep trance (as in hypnoanalysis) . But sometimes, there are very subtle nuances which need to be abided for carrying out succesful session.
In IFS the psyche of human consists from parts which create inner family . There are different parts of different ages, which have their own beliefs and thoughts, and there is The SELF , which is at the core of personality and our true nature. There are parts which formed during unbearable life events or trauma, these parts became suppressed to subconscious at different period of life, they are stuck in development at a particular age, they are called exiles . There are parts which keep these exiles suppressed, in order for them not to flood the mind with negative emotions , these parts are called Managers or Protectors , these parts are responsible for our behaviour patterns, by choosing a certain strategy of behaviour , it makes sure for us not to relive and experience the situations which are similar to the ones triggered the formation of exiles .
The strategies could be various : people pleasing, procrastination, avoiding behaviour, alcoholism, addictions etc. Managers think these strategies and behaviour are necessary for us to survive. However, if the mission is not complete , and the situation which triggers the exile, has happened, other parts come into action, they are called Firefighters. They try to end the pain, which is coming from the exiles by disconnecting us from thoughts, i.e - foggy thinking, compulsive and sudden behaviour, for example : sudden anger, sudden unexpected actions.
To be more precise, managers and firefighters, are resistance factors, which keep the subconscious material and memories repressed. From one side, they are protecting our mind from being permanently flooded with negative emotions, on the other hand the subconscious material affects our lives from the deep inside ,creating limits and unwanted behaviour. We need a calm , delicate, respectful dialogue with managers and firefighters (common name: protectors) for them to aggree to give us access to subconscious part.
The goals of therapy and methods
The main goal of therapy is creating harmony and understanding between inner system , via the main part called The Self (via which we observe parts). The exiles have to express unexpressed emotions in order for psychologycal energy to be released , and end unhealthy strategies caused by the managers and firefighters.
The methods: first of all we choose a request. For example : a certain avoiding behaviour or procrastination. Clearly , it is obvious , that this behaviour is caused by a manager , to protect a particular exile(s) , we first invite the manager , it can come as a body sensation, or imagery symbol .. We ask it different questions (get to know them better).
It is important to communicate with the parts with respect , in order for trustworthy cooperation, these parts (despite unhealthy behaviour) try to make us survive on their understanding level.
The transformation (Unburdening) process
We thank manager for serving us for so long, and say how important they are to us , then we ask from them a permission to see and communicate with the exile . When we have access to exiles, we need to provide it compassion and ask for and listen to their story , we need to ensure them that we are listening and hearing them , for them to talk and express the frozen emotions and release their pain and burdens. We ask how they feel, what has caused them (at what age), and express their emotions together with them, during these transformation process a high amount of psychologycal energy is being released (in the form of spontaneous tears, warmness in the body etc) and we connect to our natural energy which was previously frozen, and get a better understading of who we truly are. As a final step of transformation , we need to find an initial childhood memory , which has caused the exile to occur. After the transformation process, the Managers and Protectors usually take off their roles and we gain freedom of choice in previously "automatic" situations where we behaved against our true will.
Important note - the most frequent mistake , which is done during the session , is communicating with parts, by not being in the SELF state (calm, observing state with full awareness) ,often it is the case where the person is communicating with managers and firefighters, being in some Part state himself, without realizing it (for example, bein angry at them, means that you are in some part state). That makes it Part to Part communication, instead of Self to Part and no transformation is possible. This nuance is clearly explained in "Bible of effective Self-Therapy" .
Below we give the scripts of actual IFS session.
IFS is highly effective and easy-to-use self therapy approach , but in order for it to be effiecient it needs to be carried out properly. The basic therapeutic formula (outlined above) can be used for solving your problems, but in order to gain more knowledge and have much more succesful results , you are encouraged to visit the website of Jay Earley (one of the innovators in this field) .In his book "Step by step guide for creating inner wholeness and heal your inner child using IFS" he has outlined many subtle points about the method. Below you can find his website and download the book there .
There are many materials with clearcut explanations and worked examples of how IFS therapy is used to achieve succesful and permanent results.