When clients are explaining a situation, they tend to have a part of them that feels one way,
and another part that feels another way. Having different parts feeling different things can be
confusing and overwhelming. There are even examples in the Bible where parts are referenced.
Paul wrote “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate to
do (Romans 7:15, NIV). Paul has this experience of having different parts of him.
Internal Family Systems (IFS) is a type of therapy that works with our different parts. One of
the main concepts of IFS is that all of our parts are trying to help us in some way. For example,
some of these parts are working to manage, protect, hide, or numb those very wounded parts
of us so we are not hurt again. When clients have different feelings, we try to break it apart so
that together we can see what is really going on. For instance, we might say, “So part of you
wants to look for a new job, but the other part feels content where you are at your current
job?” Then we might ask questions like, “How big are these parts? Does the scared part feel
bigger or the part that wants a new job feel bigger? What percent of you feels scared and what
percent of you feels motivated to look? How old does this part feel?”
When we turn toward a part of us and get to know how it is trying to help us, many times we
can understand why we get stuck. When we give all our parts more compassion one by one,
our parts get unburdened and healed.
For more thoughts on this check out the book titled “No Bad Parts” by Richard Schwartz or
“Boundaries for your Soul” by Allison Cook and Kimberly Miller. Find a therapist that is trained
in Internal Family Systems (IFS) if this is something you want to explore. At Restoration 23, Libby Watson is trained in IFS.
Blog Post Written by Mary Anna Brown