Internal Family Systems (IFS), an evidence-based healing model that serves as a powerful tool for wellness and growth, starts with the view of every human as whole and undamaged at the core but of having “protector parts” that can drive how we think, feel, and act—and sometimes makes us unable to control our own minds.
Channeling Your Wisdom Coaching delivers a holistic approach to healing and wellness. Combining four proven techniques – “parts work,” life coaching, meditation, and reiki energy—clients connect with their inner wisdom to cultivate self-compassion, heal old wounds, and create meaningful change.
The transformational dimension of this work is IFS, introduced over 30 years ago by Richard Schwartz, PhD, LMFT, and has recently been adapted to coaching.
Through the IFS Lens
IFS views the inner world as a system comprised of a “Self”—the core of our being, and “parts”—tendencies, behaviors, and personality traits.
- Self is the source of intuition and inner wisdom. It is as intact today as the day we are born, regardless of any trauma or other hardships we have endured. It is distinguished by characteristics such as calmness, confidence, courage, compassion, clarity, creativity, curiosity and connectedness.
- Parts are “subpersonalities” that drive thoughts and actions. Some are wise and helpful, some are defensive or controlling (“protectors”),
and some are vulnerable (“exiles”).
- Exiled Parts are stuck in the past, burdened by memories that caused pain, shame, grief, fear, or guilt. While most develop in childhood and adolescence, exiles can appear in adulthood as a result of trauma.
- Protector Parts guard the system and the exiles. Some may be vigilant: worrier, helper, fixer, pleaser, analyzer; some controlling: taskmaster, perfectionist, inner critic; and some avoidant: distractor and indulger, to name a few. If one or more protectors take on extreme behaviors, it can become difficult to access the Self and its characteristics. This can lead to self-doubt, guardedness, overwork, confusion, and feeling stuck and stagnant.
- Parts Work guides clients to interact with their parts in a constructive, compassionate way to relieve it from its extreme role and put Self back in control, creating a calmer, more harmonious system.
Client Case: “Laura”
Laura (not her real name) came to coaching feeling overworked and beaten down. She was a divorced mother of teenage girls and manager at a busy medical practice that required she be on call evenings and weekends. She felt weighed down by a long list of unfinished home projects and daughters who resented her work schedule. Since her divorce, she had gained significant weight yet had no time or energy to devote to self-care.
When she was with her daughters, she felt guilty for not working; when she worked, she felt pulled in the opposite direction. She felt like she was failing everyone, herself above all.
Through this work in IFS, Laura was able to identify the parts that were putting demands on her and the exile they were protecting. Once discovered, we healed the exile through a process called “unburdening” and then brought it back into Laura’s system. This allowed the Self to regain control and the protectors to shift to more productive roles.
Laura has since created boundaries at work and realigned her priorities to put her daughters and her self-care first. When we last checked in, she was eating better, meditating regularly, and had begun dating.
Channeling Your Wisdom Coaching provides a transformational experience of self-discovery that brings healing and restores balance. It engages parts for healing, meditation and reiki for support, and life coaching techniques to move you toward a life of your choosing.
Lynda Mettler, ACC, owner of Channeling Your Wisdom Coaching, is a life coach, reiki master, and IFS practitioner. While based in CT, Lynda offers virtual sessions to make her coaching available to all.
Learn more at: YourWisdomCoaching.com or email her at: Lynda@YourWisdomCoaching.com to schedule a free consultation session