Internal Family Systems (IFS) informs much of what I bring to my work as a therapist. When I talk about ‘experiential therapy for real change,’ it is IFS I am leaning into.
As a Model, IFS speaks to and navigates the multiplicity of our personalities. This means that it’s natural for us to say something like, “A part of me feels one way while another part feels differently… all the while another part has concerns and yet another is hopeful.” In its elegant way, it can navigate myriad thoughts and feelings, cultivating a sense of clarity and opening up new outcomes and experiences of Self.
IFS is available in a couples therapy session through a model known as IFIO, which stands for Intimacy from the Inside Out. If you are in my office for a couples session, this is the model I work from to facilitate sessions and build change within a partnership.
Beyond IFS/ IFIO, I have worked for years with an experiential, somatic model known as Hakomi. This model has influenced so many important movements in the therapy world, most notably Somatic Experiencing and Sensorimotor Psychotherapy... and even IFS!
While Hakomi offers a valuable way of engaging with the therapeutic process, so much of what makes it essential in my practice is how it defines the therapist’s chair. Concepts such as non-violence, organicity, and mindfulness, when explored within the context of therapy, lend themselves to a ‘gentler touch’ to the work of therapy. A Hakomi session involves a good deal of checking out what’s happening inside and is great for ‘getting out of our heads and into our experience.’
In my back pocket, I keep my EMDR protocol. EMDR, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, is a unique intervention that can support recovery from traumatic experiences. It involves the bilateral movement of the eyes, and in some cases tapping or sound, in order to shift how our mind and body is responding to life experiences that may have hijacked a nervous system. This is a tool I don’t bring out often in the office, but it has its time and place and works well alongside IFS in a session.