01 September 2008


Internal Family Systems (IFS) is a self-led model of therapy that my current counselor has been using with me with great success.  Sometimes, our sessions are very productive and other times, I cannot focus on deeper issues but may need to voice some things or to only deal with a pressing problem of the moment.  Every interaction with my counselor has been positive for me, whether it is a hard session that leaves me drained for afternoon while I continue to sort thru things or was light with laughter.

The key element that I like best with this approach is that there are no "bad" parts that need to be eliminated.  Ya know how you might feel conflicted about something, thinking (and saying), "well, part of me wants to do this and then there is this other part that wants to do that"?  Well, instead of trying to stomp out an extreme part that you feel is less desirable, IFS encourages you to discover why that part is working so hard, so adamantly insistent.

Usually what happens with me is that the more I try to stifle a feeling or thought that I am having, the more persistent and larger and louder it gets in snagging my attention.  Sort of like a child who feels s/he is being ignored.  So, I've been learning to listen without any other interruptions by other "yeah,but"s and quashers.  In the past two years I have grown more comfortable with myself and am able to be more present and more able to accept and love myself.

When I listen to what I have to say, no matter what the view is, I can often discover what is at the core of that extreme view.  Then, I can reassure myself that maybe I don't need to work so hard to make sure that view is represented.  Cuz generally, I wish no harm on myself (or others).

Most times, I can moderate some extreme view instead of eliminating it.  That way, I feel that I am being healthier be treating my whole person in an authentic and loving fashion.  This process is not something that I can do all the time, and often need some assistance to sort things out.

My counselor is very good and she helps to guide me in this self-led process with compassion, caring, curiosity, acceptance, encouragement, and support.  I know this works for me, as I have seen the huge differences and the slight small shifts in the past two years.  I think that if you look back thru my journal's posts, that you too will see growth, self-knowledge, and maturity over time.

If you feel that your own therapy isn't getting the job done, you might want to consider this approach and see if it feels right for you.  Keep in mind that you do have the right and the ability to change counselors at any time if you feel that you aren't getting what you need.  I know there are all sorts of other considerations, like insurance and availability.  But if at all possible, I urge you to find a practitioner that suits you.  That goes for all services.  Respect yourself enough to get what you need.

I do.

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