Emma Redfern - Counselling Plus Psychotherapy, EMDR & Supervision in Honiton & Topsham, Exeter

Self-leadership

Many psychotherapies conceptualise the individual as multiple (for example, Freud conceived of the id, superego and ego; TA works with Parent, Adult and Child ego states). Internal Family Systems therapy, devised by Richard Schwartz, conceives of inner parts (Managers, Firefighters and Exiles) while also recognising that we all have a Self that is beyond the parts or "just below the surface of our extreme parts". By working with one's parts IFS-style, more access to the Self and its healing qualities and nature is possible which enables greater self-understanding, self-acceptance, stability, personal growth and Self-leadership.

Inner conflict or extremes of behaviour, thoughts and feelings (ie symptoms) are what bring clients to therapy often. As a clinical treatment, IFS has been posted on the US National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices (NREPP) as effective for improving general functioning and wellbeing. In addition, it has been rated promising for each of the following: improving phobia, panic, and generalised anxiety disorders and symptoms; physical health conditions and symptoms; personal resilience/self-concept; and depression and depressive symptoms.

Additional to its success in symptom reduction, IFS also offers something more, it offers a way of relating to oneself and others which is non-pathologising, empowering and transformative.

Click here to read Dr. Schwartz's article "The Larger Self", his inspiring first-hand account of how he developed and uses the IFS Model and the extraordinary, transformative effect it has on him and his clients.

I believe that the outcome of effective therapy of any modality is greater Self-energy and access to the Self. IFS is the only therapy I have personal and professional experience of which spells out and trains therapists in facilitating the healing presence of Self in both the client and the therapist.

"When parts are listened to, loved, and respected, they relax inside, which opens up space. This is the way that IFS quiets the mind. . . . once the mind is emptied, Self emerges spontaneously. . . . using IFS we find that at least some degree of Self can be accessed relatively quickly . . . It seems that Self is just beneath the surface of our parts and is immediately released once enough parts are convinced that it is safe to relax and open space for it." Schwartz and Falconer, Many Minds, One Self, 2017


Characteristics of Self

Self is an unlimited personal and universal resource that has no fear, no need and feels no separation from others. It is characterised by:

  • calmness
  • curiosity
  • compassion
  • confidence
  • courage/fearlessness
  • clarity
  • connection
  • creativity


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