PARTS & SELF magazinePeopleUncategorizedWhat is IFS?

By way of Self-introduction

The principle of Self leadership is one that I’ve intuitively tried to live by and parent by. I studied the ancient emergence and propagation of Buddhism in graduate school, because the central idea of self-observation has always made sense to me. My goal as the new editor of PARTS & SELF is to publish work that synthesizes Internal Family Systems (IFS) and its potential applications for society’s benefit into convincing narrative arcs for maximum impact.

This will be accomplished by sourcing experts from inside the IFS community—and beyond—to analyze and comment on topical issues, current events, cultural affairs, scientific research, and more. I have a personal interest in the common themes that unite human societies across the globe, like family, environment, language, and culture. We’re all fighting the same fight. And I welcome story ideas on basically any topic, as it relates to Self-leadership.

I’m also sensitive to the fact that the student-teacher relationship inherent to esoteric traditions is complicated. It introduces power dynamics that can be exploited, consciously or unconsciously. As a form of science, psychotherapy is a unique pathway to Self-leadership and theoretically free of this dynamic. It’s a medical practice, underpinned by empirical data, ethical standards, and mentorship. Guided by a trained and knowledgeable professional, any individual can access healing that is Self-led. IFS fits into this healing framework. And PARTS & SELF is meant to showcase that IFS is more than therapy—it’s a form of accountability that creates common ground.

From my perspective, IFS skillfully incorporates the established themes of Self and archetypes (how I interpret Parts) to help people identify their true source of power. We often overlook what it is we’re fighting for (or against) and find ourselves in painful conundrums. We often misidentify what can unite us and make us stronger for purely selfish agendas. I’ve engaged in gestalt-oriented personal work for 24 years with the ManKind Project, a “men’s work” organization that I volunteer with. IFS has gifted me with making these inner conversations explicit. I accepted the editor position at PARTS & SELF to publicly advocate for this Self-observation, this self-forgiveness, to help create more compassionate leaders.

Society benefits when I am Self-led. I heal the world by healing myself. To this end, I want to present concise rationales for Self-leadership that tangibly impact the social forum. We are the answer we have been looking for, to paraphrase Richard Schwartz’s new book, You Are the One You’ve Been Waiting For: Applying Internal Family Systems to Intimate Relationships (Sounds True, 2023). This is the idea that drives my efforts behind PARTS & SELF.

This magazine cannot animate ideas like this, or introduce new ones, without expert sources. I need and welcome story ideas from the community, and I vow to work diligently and collaboratively with contributors to make PARTS & SELF a living community hub.

Philip D. Armour,

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