Ever said something like: 'a part of me is really excited about this weekend, but another part is worried about getting everything done'?
Internal Family Systems (IFS) therapy gives space to these different thoughts and feelings, calling them 'parts' of ourselves.
There are NO BAD PARTS.
The things about parts is that they ALWAYS have a good intention for you (whether or not the outcome is in fact helpful in your life). Which is pretty darn cool.
We have different kinds of parts:
The Managers: Our managers like to run our lives. They do our banking, plan our vacations, get us to work, and like to appeal to the rational. These are the parts of your that organise your life are proactive. Common manages include thinking parts and the inner critic/shamer.
The Firefighters: Firefighters show up when a vulnerable part (exile) has been triggered. The firefighters sole concern is to provide comfort to the system and/or distract from the distress that is seeking to emerge. These are reactive and their methods can feel 'extreme', meaning they can be severely criticized and shamed by your Managers (and by the outside world). Common firefighter strategies include: alcohol and, drug use, sexual risk-taking, rage, dissociation, watching porn, cutting, internet surfing, using food and suicide
The Exiles: These are the parts of us that hold distressing feelings and beliefs (burdens). They often take on their distress in response to events in childhood (neglect/abuse/bullying/teasing) and often respond like this “The reason they are being unkind to me/not meeting my needs must be because there is something wrong with me; I must not be interesting/pretty/normal/smart enough, maybe it’s because I am unloveable.
The Self: you are not your parts. You might be feeling upset/angry/low/confused, but those emotions are not the WHOLE of you. This self will show up with a compassionate voice, and with the ability to heal the inner world. Self is present at birth, exists in everyone, and can and should lead the system.
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