This week on The Therapy Spot, I was thrilled to speak with Jay Earley, PhD, about IFS and his newest book, Self-Therapy Vol. 3: A Step-by-Step Guide to Using IFS for Eating Issues, Procrastination, the Inner Critic, Depression, Perfectionism, Anger, Communication, and More.

Jay focuses on self-therapy and group work because, in his own words, “I’ve always liked the idea of people doing therapy and personal growth work in connection with other people.” Over the years, he has witnessed people doing very profound work on themselves either on their own, or paired with someone else in the IFS classes he runs. He sees the IFS model as the perfect method for people to help themselves without the help of a therapist.

When I read Jay’s book, I was especially interested in the chapter on the Inner Critic. Most if not all of us have that critical voice inside of us, but we don’t always realize that the inner critic’s goal is to protect us. In fact, when we connect with that critical part, we often discover a small wounded child part of ourselves behind the critic. Jay elaborated on the relationship between our critics and our exiles, and how to get to know them – not get rid of them.

When we talk about critics, it’s important to note that there are many different types of critics that can show up inside of us. Our inner mentor is the positive, healthy version of an inner critic. Inner mentors want to help us focus on tangible ways to improve, and cheer on our efforts, and celebrate our success. Jay discusses how to develop this mentor, so that it takes up more space.


Jay leads Interactive Therapy Groups based on IFS, and he has been practicing psychotherapy for 40 years in the San Francisco Bay area. He also created the web application Self Therapy Journey and teaches courses on IFS and the Pattern System to therapists and the general public. Learn more about Jay on his website.


This post contains affiliate links.