When I first tried Internal Family Systems (IFS), I had no foundation whatsoever in parts therapy. All I knew at the time was that my mom, an LICSW, had just finished her training as an IFS therapist, and she thought that the model might help me. Sure enough, it did, and now, I can't stop talking about it! This past Saturday, several forum members recorded the IFS call-in. The recording (below) is a great way to learn what IFS is actually about. In this call, our very own @njoy works with one of her parts with guidance from Karen, who runs a Thursday night IFS call that both njoy and @Eric "Herbie" Watson have participated in. Karen has some training as an IFS facilitator but is not yet certified as an IFS therapist or coach. After the call (approximately 27 minutes in), @Forest, njoy, Karen, and Herbie discuss the process, with Forest asking specific questions he wrote down during the session. Within the first five minutes, Karen does a brief relaxation exercise which helps bring everyone into something called Self. Self is just your best self -- a calm you who takes everything in stride. Once in Self, njoy was able to identify a part she wanted to work on. A part is pretty much what it sounds like: it's a part of your personality, your experience, that may be causing some problems (i.e. making your TMS symptoms worse). For njoy, this part of her felt that she was taking on too much work on the Peer Network and was worried about getting anxious (she's writing a book!). As it turns out there are other parts, which IFS calls "concerned parts" that may have some objection to Self working with or talking with the identified part. They could be scared of the part, or angry with it for causing trouble. In the call, njoy has a few of these concerned parts: one tells her to knock it off and another tells her that if she listens to the anxiety, she'll never have any fun. With Karen's guidance, njoy was able to ask her concerned parts if they could stand back, but watch and listen. This verified those parts' concerns but also allowed njoy to approach her "taking on too much" part with an open mind. From there, njoy was able to visualize what her part looked like (a two years old child), where it was located in her body, and talk with it to hear how it came to be. In talking with this part, she discovered that her anxiety stemmed from other people's criticisms and some "I told you so" attitudes. Through her conversation she was able to unburden the part, lessening the anxiety and pressure the two-year-old part felt and helping deflect memories of past criticisms unburdening it. I won't go into a play-by-play of the entire session here, because it is far better to listen to it rather than read it. It's quite a remarkable thing to witness. So, here's the recorded call. Like the discussion group recordings, you can listen to it using the audio player below. You can also download it as an mp3 by right-clicking on this link (or the link below the player) and choose to save it to your computer. Click here to download the mp3 audio I think that IFS is an intuitive, natural approach and my hope is that by listening to this session, you can see how it works and learn more about it.