Self and Protectors

In IFS, the Self is seen as the essence of an individual, untouched by trauma, pain, and defensive mechanisms. This Self is inherently good and possesses the qualities necessary for internal leadership and healing. The Self is not a part; rather, it is the person’s confident, compassionate core. When a person is in a “Self” leadership mindset, they are likely to exhibit curiosity, calmness, compassion, confidence, courage, clarity, connectedness, and creativity, often referred to as the “8 Cs” of Self-leadership.

Protectors are parts within the IFS framework that serve to protect the individual from harm. They are typically divided into two categories: managers and firefighters. Managers are proactive parts that work to keep the individual safe from perceived threats. They manage everyday life by maintaining control over situations, emotions, and interactions to prevent painful or traumatic experiences from surfacing. Common managerial behaviors include perfectionism, people-pleasing, planning, worrying, and criticizing. In contrast, firefighters are reactive parts that spring into action when an individual experiences intense emotions or trauma. Their role is to extinguish or numb the pain as quickly as possible. This can manifest in behaviors like substance abuse, binge-eating, self-harm, or other impulsive actions.

The IFS model offers a compassionate and empowering framework for understanding the complexities of the human psyche. By recognizing and embracing the multiplicity of the mind, individuals can embark on a transformative journey towards self-awareness, healing, and inner harmony. This masterclass module aims to introduce participants to the foundational concepts of Self and Protectors in IFS, setting the stage for a deeper exploration of the therapeutic process. As we delve deeper into the intricacies of IFS in subsequent modules, we will explore how these concepts can be effectively integrated into therapy and personal growth practices.

Strengthening Your Conscious Self

No Bad Parts: Richard Schwartz

Parts Work: Tom Holmes

Self Therapy: Jay Earley

Self Therapy Workbook: Bonnie Weiss

Reflection & Processing