Self Therapy and Safety

Your Parts will Set the Pace

The parts work models based on IFS are respectful of the pain or trauma that we collectively carry. Despite the fact that parts work and self therapy dive deep into the psyche in powerful ways, I will try to avoid sneaking around your defenses or dive too quickly into deep issues. The different approaches to the IFS model are respectful of the parts of us that protect us from pain and only work with our deep issues after getting permission from all the relevant protective and concerned parts.

Therefore, parts work and self therapy are fairly safe to use on your own. Most people can do the exercises in the books, on the website, in the Quenza app, the practice between sessions, and the work in the practice sessions without any problems. However, this course and the materials should never be a substitute for psychotherapy or coaching with an experienced IFS practitioner. Many people have experienced so much pain and trauma in their lives that their internal systems are emotionally sensitive, reactive, chaotic, unstable, or strongly conflicted. If you have this kind of internal family, doing IFS work could activate exiles or protective parts, and elicit intense emotional or physical reactions. You could become panicked or depressed when trying to work with your parts. The work could activate body aches, headaches, nausea, allergies, heartburn, or other psychosomatic reactions. It could drive you to engage in addictive, self-harm, or risk taking behavior. You might feel dizzy, light headed, spaced out and confused in the middle of a session or afterwards.

This notice is not meant to scare you away from doing the work, I just want you to be aware that it is always safer to approach trauma work with the guidance of a sensitive and attuned trauma informed professional. If you sense that responses like this could happen to you, it probably isn’t safe for you to use IFS without the guidance of a psychotherapist. If you aren’t sure, you can try the work in this course very carefully to find out, but if you have any unusual or intense reactions, it is a sign that you should be working with a therapist.

Don’t take this lightly by trying to push on. Take care of yourself and wait until you can do this work with professional guidance. A psychotherapist can help you to approach the work in a safe way and can provide the support you need to be successful. If any difficult reactions crop up, your therapist will know how to handle them. If you are dependent on a parent, guardian, or spouse who couldn’t tolerate your changing the way you relate to him or her, doing IFS work on your own might not be advisable. It would be better for you to do IFS under the guidance of a therapist, who could also work with the important people in your life.