2019 has been a year of changes, growth, and learning (which one could argue are all the same thing). In pursuit of knowledge, late last year I signed up for a year-long psychology training, studying the Internal Family Systems (IFS) Model of psychotherapy. This model looks at our personalities as multiplicity of sub-personalities called “parts.” Many people already refer to themselves in multiplicity, even they don’t intend to. How often have you said something similar to, “Part of me just really doesn’t want to go this event” or “I feel torn. I really want to do [x] but part of me would rather do [y].” In IFS, we work with each part of you, its needs, its desires, its beliefs, and, often, its trauma or burdens. In early November of this year, I completed the year-long training and I am now IFS Level 1 Trained!
My application of this model of psychotherapy is multifaceted. I use it personally, both in my normal everyday thinking and I also have an IFS therapist who I see on a weekly basis. I find that having compassion and care for parts that are activated, burdened, or exiled has led to tremendous healing and growth for me.
Another application will be in my career as a Life Coach. This newer venture will use concepts from IFS, along with my years of work in yoga. Honestly, both IFS and yoga complement each other greatly, but more on that later. My goal (and the goal of IFS and yoga) is have people connect to and identify with a higher and more objective state of mind - to reach a boundless place of compassion and empathy where every part of their system feels validated and welcomed. This work of coaching with yoga and IFS has been spearheaded by Karina Ayn Mirsky in her new book Make a Difference and Make a Living Teaching Yoga.
Lastly, as I alluded to, I’m blending the use of IFS and yoga into specialized programming that I’ll be offering over the coming years. Both systems of psychology honor a higher state of consciousness, which we call Self Energy or just “Self.” IFS is now finding the language to ground the work that yogis have been doing for thousands of years. By making the teachings of yoga more-palatable, I can contextualize these ancient teachings with this modern language to help people understand and connect with their own Self Energy. I put the training wheels on last April and taught an early version of this blending of systems at a retreat in Santa Cruz, California with great success. Now, I’m continuing to find ways to bring this information and ideology forward.
This December, I’ll be offering a special 3-hour workshop in Oakland, California called “Connecting to Self Energy,” where we’ll have enough time to cover the basics of both systems and then embody these teachings in a unique yoga practice and meditation. I hope that you can join me. I’ve also just announced the dates for my next retreat, where we’ll dive deeper into this Self connection.
For those of you not local, I have lovely free meditation currently available on the app Insight Timer that is all about connecting to that curious, compassionate witness within all of us.
I’m excited to continue this journey to my Self (with all of you coming along). Stayed tuned for more exciting updates!