On today’s episode of The Addicted Mind Podcast, Duane talks to author, speaker, and teacher Jenna Riemersma about internal family systems, or IFS. Jenna describes how IFS can help to transform your feelings about addictions and past trauma.
Jenna talks about how IFS argues that all of our parts are good. And as counterintuitive as that is, it’s important to understand that the core of your Self is fundamentally good.
Experiencing a “part” of yourself is similar to the idea of having “parts” of our personalities. We want to give those parts their credit because they come from our true Selves, which are good. When a part of us is taken over by a burden, it’s hard for us to take those parts back. Jenna gives an example of a playful part being burdened by a trauma. IFS calls these parts “exiles,” and they carry a lot of weight, especially when you want to try to access those formerly playful parts of yourself.
Jenna illustrates this point with the Manager and the addicted Firefighter, and how we have these competing identities who both want the destruction of addiction while simultaneously wanting to be free of addiction. The Manager wants to seek counsel, but the Firefighter is afraid of the change and pain. 10 times out of 10, the Firefighter actually hates contributing to that pain. We wouldn’t start with that kind of revelation, but we would eventually work our way toward the patient understanding that ultimately the center of their being wants to be free from addiction.
Being able to confront these parts of ourselves without judgment is key. Have you ever experienced a time where all parts of yourself have been welcomed, Jenna asks. IFS helps us to uncover what is already there by surrendering a quality of self that is locked up in shame and hate. Michelangelo once said of a sculpture that he was “releasing the angel trapped in the stone.”
We need to ask ourselves what am I feeling toward, and if it’s anything but the 8 Cs, we need to step back and try to change the situation. Do you think it’s possible to change the way that your Firefighter part sees the world? Many think that it’s impossible, but if you’re willing to at least engage in the process, IFS can help you to not feel so hopeless, so alarmed, and so defeated.
Jenna wants to emphasize that all parts of you are welcome, and all parts of you are safe here.
The 8 Cs of IFS are:
04:00 — “IFS is a way of approaching our struggles with literally no shame.”
05:30 — “Our feelings can take us over some times, but they are not actually who we are.”
06:00 — “A key tenet of IFS is that ALL of our parts are good.”
08:15 — “Most people would rather be dead than be a public speaker.”
13:45 — “These are heroic parts, but we are afraid of them because they are flooded with
17:20 — “We come in as hope merchants and brokers to show them they can take away the
19:45 — “When push against the addicted Firefighter, they will push back…and they are ten
times stronger than the Manager any day.”
22:40 — “Freeing yourself from the shame is revolutionary.”
26:30 — “The truth is that we have lots of parts of ourselves that are at war.”
34:30 — “This doesn’t just change how we interact with ourselves, but it changes how we
interact with each other, too.”
Check out Jenna’s content: