Letters to the EditorPeople

Letters to the Editor Summer-Autumn 2022

Dear Editor,

My heart aches for the people of Ukraine and I know the IFS community is looking to support them through, and beyond, this traumatic experience. But I am struggling to understand the invasion, from an IFS perspective. It is hard not to call this evil.

If, indeed, there are no bad Parts, is this to be seen simply as extreme Protector behavior?

I’d like to imagine a world in which Self-leadership is a measuring stick by which we qualify leaders.


Barbara Perkins
Senior Associate Director for Development & Communications
Foundation for Self Leadership


Dear Barbara

You raise some important points about how difficult it is to live in a world without IFS, when one can see (albeit sometimes through a glass darkly) with an IFS lens. IFS technically suggests we can be deeply curious about Putin’s internal family system, rather than judge and condemn him. It also suggests that a better class of leadership is technically possible. The struggle is, we live where and when technology hasn’t yet reached the mainstream.


Dear Editor

Thank you for the section on group therapy, in the October 2021 release of OUTLOOK [the previous incarnation of the Foundation for Self Leadership’s IFS publication, 2015-2021, which was edited by Michelle Glass].

As noted by the authors, group work is valuable, not only because more people can participate. It also has some inherent advantages, in that participants gain feedback and encouragement from a number of perspectives. Self-report still exists in group work, but the participants have the added data that comes from direct observation. With respect to the 8 “C’s,” connectedness is obvious, but there is ample opportunity to practice compassion and to summon courage. Curiosity is important and welcomed. While these opportunities are valuable, much of the current practice seems to be delivered through a psycho-educational kind of platform that features a one-on-one format in a group setting. In Gestalt group work, for example, the opening question in a group often is, “who wants to work today?” With IFS group work, the opening question frequently is the same, although it may be preceded or followed by some didactic teaching, related to the IFS model. All this is fine, and many would argue that 1:1 work in a group setting tends to intensify the work, but some participants also profit vicariously. What doesn’t seem to be talked about is that some participants invariably are bored or left out, especially if they don’t particularly identify with the issue being addressed. With respect to Yalom’s “therapeutic factors,” there is little or no use of here and now focus, use of the group as a microcosm, or the dynamics of interactional process, to name a few limitations. Perhaps PARTS & SELF might offer an opportunity for group leaders to share whatever they have found to be productive and effective in their own group work? PARTS & SELF is a bit different in having no requirement of empirical evidence, or research backing. While that has disadvantages, it also promotes a greater degree of sharing and brainstorming. That kind of sharing is an important preliminary to what, later, may well turn into research. More connection and more creativity have to be a good thing.

Yours cordially

Stew Brown, PhD,
Board Member, Foundation for Self Leadership


Dear Stew

PARTS & SELF warmly welcomes suggestions for contributions relating to group therapy issues. A good place to develop such knowledge and conversations would likely be for someone to start a swim session in Deep End of the Pool.


By submitting a letter to the Editor of PARTS & SELF you assign copyright for your letter to the magazine.

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    PARTS & SELF is an online, multimedia, open access magazine, published by the Foundation for Self Leadership, since October 2022. www.FoundationIFS.org

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