1. We decided (generally after considerable emotional pain) to make changes in our lives and sought out a therapist to assist in those changes.
  2. Were introduced to the IFS concepts and began to accept that Self (initially at least, with the help of our therapists) could achieve/restore harmony among our parts and provide us with peace of mind.
  3. Decided to trust in Self, as much as our parts would allow.
  4. Used Internal Family Systems Therapy to access and identify our parts one at a time, witnessing and calming their fears and concerns.
  5. Worked with our parts, leading and mediating with Self, to discover the nature of our negative, pain-causing and vulnerable parts and their effects upon our systems, witnessing their stories, acknowledging the altruistic and protective nature of their intentions for us, negotiating with polarized parts and offering them new roles of their choosing within our system.
  6. Gained our parts’ permission to allow Self to unburden these mangers, firefighters and exiles.
  7. Worked (at least initially with our therapists) to unburden these parts and to allow them new, more productive roles— the roles they were born to have.
  8. Re-witnessed, while working with our parts, the traumatic events (whether real or perceived) that caused our parts to take on extreme, nonproductive roles.
  9. Worked in therapy and in our daily lives to bring perspective and closure to these parts’ traumas.
  10. Continued to monitor our parts and when they were triggered enough to cause pain, to work with them.
  11. Used therapy and meditation to continue to become more Self led, as much as our parts would allow, seeking Self ’s guidance, unconditional love and peace of mind.
  12. Having become more Self led through the use of Internal Family Systems Therapy, we guide others to IFST when they ask about our new “selves”, and bring our new peace of mind to every aspect of our lives.
  • Bill Kavanagh
  • Reprinted from Self to Self 2005