You can image how as a licensed clinical therapist who is trained in Internal Family Systems (IFS), I do a lot of one-on-one IFS work with my clients.
Sometimes I feel like bringing IFS to the world, one person at a time, isn’t enough. I want to get the IFS tool into more people’s hands (or should I say minds), so several times a year I run workshops for small groups of individuals and couples.
In early September I’m hosting two IFS workshops here in Stockholm, and I’ve invited my colleague and friend Bodil Lindström to co-facilitate with me. Bodil is a therapist herself, and also a mindfulness instructor. At the workshops Bodil leads attendees through learning the technique of mindfulness as part of their journey to Self leadership.
Here’s a little bit about Bodil.
Beth: Why mindfulness?
Bodil: Mindfulness is quite trendy these days, just like yoga was a few years ago. But it also makes people groan. “Oh no, another thing to do!” That’s the sound of a tired Manager part if I ever heard one.
In the workshops I teach the technique of mindfulness. Mindfulness helps you reduce stress, be more aware in life, and make clearer choices and decisions. Which is exactly how I’d describe what it’s like to be in Self, or infused with Self qualities. Self is very simliar to the state of mindfulness.
I started meditating at age 18, and even lived in an ashram for seven years. It was a wonderful time, but not in a bed of roses kind of way. It was more like stonewashed jeans, being tumbled around and worn. I got into it because I was looking for something more from life. Even now, every day, I’m still finding more.
Beth: How would someone practice mindfulness?
Bodil: Mindfulness is such a simple thing, but it’s not an easy thing to do. Once we know how, we can do everything mindfully. It’s not just reserved for meditation, but it’s certainly a part of meditation. The three legs of mindfulness practice are focusing on the breath, or following it, doing a body scan to focus on all the different parts of the body to see what they have to tell you, and moving mindfully.
Maybe your mind is really active and it makes it difficult to meditate. IFS has a perfect way to talk about this. We say, get Curious and notice and interview this active part. Why is it jumping around like that? Is it happy? Bored sitting still? Worried about something? You can talk to that part and say, “Maybe go to the amusement park while I sit here for awhile.”
Your mind will always be there, but you can learn how to focus when you pay attention to your breath.
Beth: What would you tell someone who’s worried learning IFS and mindfulness will be painful in the workshops?
Bodil: I think it’s natural that someone might anticipate this happening. They’re in a space where they’re encouraged to feel, and suddenly all these pushed-away parts come clamoring in, “It’s my chance to be seen!”
First, I would reassure that person that Beth and I will create a safe, caring space where people can hear from these painful parts, and be supported. One thing I find very comforting is even if emotions come up, that doesn’t mean that’s the whole you. You are not a crying person. You are a person who is carrying an emotion. It’s a part of you, but not the whole you.
IFS will give you the tools you need to meet these scared, angry, or worried parts. This is exactly what you’ll want to practice doing in the workshop, when you have extra support.
This is why I say IFS should be taught in schools, from a young age. I mean it is seriously for EVERYBODY. It makes it so much easier to deal with difficult emotions, or even difficult people. Say you meet someone who isn’t very warm or caring. When you have Self, you don’t take it personally. Instead you think, “Oh, here is a person who is under the thumb of a manager part who has turned them completely inward to keep them safe. It’s not about me.”
Feeling intrigued? Join me and Bodil for one (or both!) of my IFS workshops:
- Find Your Inner Coach, for Individuals (5/9/15)
- Creating Intimacy from the Inside Out, for Couples (19/9/15) or anyone who wants to learn more about being in a relationship in an IFS way
If you’re not in Stockholm, never fear. People have joined us remotely through Skype, too! Learn more on my Workshops page.
“Matthew Lillard Acting Class Workshop at VFS” by Flickr user Vancouver Film School is licensed under CC BY 2.O.