Seth Kopald, PhD, currently manages the IFS Parts Art Facebook page which offers a space for people to share their work and represent their own relationships with their internal family systems. Seth has an interest in education and art tracing back to his days at university. He has combined this with his immersion in IFS which formally began in 2012 after completing his Level 1 training. Seth is now a Certified IFS Practitioner with a Masters in Education and a PhD in Organization Management, specializing in leadership.
At university Seth took some classes in drawing, painting, color theory, and sculpture which galvanized his interest in art as a medium for expressing his creativity. Seth started integrating artistic work into his therapeutic work often drawing his, and his clients’ Parts in session. Additionally, he became aware of people sharing their Parts Art on the IFS community page and it was in this context that Seth founded the IFS Parts Art Facebook page. His aim in creating this resource is to offer a safe and welcoming space for people to share their IFS related art. Seth notes that many people have commented that the group is one of the safest places they have found on social media: all ‘arts’ are welcome indeed!
Having started in February 2020, just before the beginning of the pandemic, the IFS Parts Art Facebook page has gained a broad and enthusiastic following, now boasting over three thousand members from all over the world. While the artistic contributions have a broad range in style and content, they are all focused on expressing Parts, Self, internal systems, or a combination of all three.
While some artistic offerings carry an intensity – similar to the intensity observed when Parts are talked or written about – the mode of art expressed as an image appears to offer the artist, and indeed the artistic community who are interacting with the Facebook page, a container inside which strong feelings can be expressed, contained, and observed.
A core value of Seth’s approach to the Facebook page is that people do not need to be accomplished artists to make a contribution. Art has ranged from stick figures, to cartoons, to oil paintings.
Many individuals involved in the IFS community talk about their internal systems and much of the learning about, and descriptions of, the Model is achieved through the medium of words. But the process of representing our Parts through art appears to have an important externalizing and clarifying function. There seems to be something powerful about manifesting our internal Parts and reflections from the inside out in a visual way.
being with our Parts internally is so important and healing, and through Parts Art, we can deepen our connection to our Parts on a whole other level. We express a deep appreciation towards our Parts when we represent them this way.
Enjoy the creations here so generously offered by various artists who are involved with the IFS Parts Art Facebook page.
Click an image to enlarge. When viewing enlarged image, click ⓘ to hide the caption.
Shaun Dempsey, PhD is Deputy Editor of PARTS & SELF, a Level 3 Certified IFS therapist and Clinical Psychologist in Australia