I was working with a client recently on an Internal Family Systems (IFS) exercise. IFS (by Richard Schwartz) is an amazing kind of therapy which involves the use of “parts”. Basically, in IFS, the individual gets to know his or her different parts, which involve protective parts and hurt parts. One of the basic premises of IFS is that the protective parts work to keep the individual living their life without the hurt parts getting hurt more. However, what actually happens is that the protective parts (which were often learned at a young age) can stifle the individual’s growth and keep the individual from achieving his or her goals.
Parts Have Conflicting Agendas
So while getting to know a few of my client’s different parts, a tired part came forward. My client suddenly felt very tired and didn’t want to keep working. Instead, we agreed to try to get to know the tired part a little better. My client discovered that when anything got too hard or threatened change, a tired part would come up to protect her. Because she’s just assumed she is lazy, she was amazed that being tired was actually a very strategic protective part of her which was keeping her from achieving things she wanted to do. In doing so, it was also protecting her from having to feel pain.
IFS Helps Our Parts Cooperate
We all have protective parts and hurt parts. When you think, “Part of me feels like this, but another part feels this way,” your parts are vying for your attention. The best way to begin to become aware of your different parts is just to notice them when you feel conflicting feelings. What are they trying to get you to do or to believe?
Are Your ‘Parts’ in Conflict?
Use the comments section to ask me your question about the ‘parts’ of you which may be in conflict. If you’re interested in exploring how Internal Family Systems therapy can help you bring your parts into alignment, feel free to contact me.