Using IFS: My Transformation So Far? HL

Stories of Transformation can trigger strong emotions. Take care of yourself.

I’m somewhat floored. As current Editor of PARTS & SELF magazine, where this piece is being published for you to read, I came to the platform already interested in IFS. I have found it fascinating to explore.

Something just happened to me. It’s nothing to do with fascination, interest or experimenting.

I have for the job of Editor a diverse range of skills across academic research and teaching, journalism, art and creativity and with most relevance to the intricate puzzle that is editing this magazine, an awareness of philosophical perspectives of various fabulous kinds. I’m also a tough nut when it comes to voice. Voice of an individual is sacred. IFS is an epistemological and ontological situation requiring policing and tough boundary setting, apart from the core focus on healing. So, in respect of the job of Editor, I know what I’m doing, even when others don’t.

But knowledge of therapy professionally wrought I do not have. I don’t know at the expert level about IFS, despite having a good grasp of the basic premises and protocols involved in this approach to an “internal system.”

Actually, nor do I need to pursue such therapeutic expertise. Other people do it so well. I’ll just ask them. So, what is IFS then to me, given what just happened to me? Given what just happened is therapeutic? I can report that, now, for me, IFS is nothing if it is not effective transformation.

I discovered IFS on Instagram after four years of very useful non-IFS therapy. That first therapeutic relationship of my life, in my forties, was a major eye opener. Though I had been doing self-help style therapy my whole life long (largely for reasons of being without the money to afford a therapist?) I had never encountered a therapist’s perspective and it really impressed me. I gained a tremendous boost in well-being from that engagement. IFS came at the end of that period and was a new door of therapy that I chose to walk through – not as a client (I can’t afford it) – because I found it fast. I was impressed by its speed for sure.

That impression led me here, where I write of a recent transformation that I have found as tremendous as it was quick. You could say it was achieved in approximately 2 hours in total and with someone I had met for the first time who I engaged with in the course of this job. You can see videos posted soon here on the site which show what happened in that connection. The first encounter happened on the 19th July 2022, and the second on 26th August 2022.

Those videos used me, for the magazine. Maybe they serve Rick Kahler (with whom I engaged for that work just mentioned), to show what financial therapy can do. Rick’s work is in combining financial therapy with IFS, as he straddles both worlds. He has also been involved in work linking the two together. I was a willing participant in our connection.

Money was a difficult topic for me before I spoke with Rick – one laden with tensions. One I’d avoid facing or one I sought to ignore, despite having always been in employment of some kind and having a natural disposition to working hard.

The intention of the session from my perspective was to see what Rick’s IFS style financial therapy could do for me and, by extension, show what it could do for you, the PARTS & SELF reader. I was indeed curious to experience but also to attempt to show you, by experiencing myself.

Reader, it wasn’t about the money after all, although maybe it was.

I think talking about money and my attitude to it was the right gateway for me. I think “money scripts,”  as Rick Kahler calls it, were, for me, IFS “keys”? When he and I dealt with money as a key into my psyche something got unlocked. But then, once that happened it wasn’t, and isn’t now, that much about the money. At least not yet, but this really seems to be the gift that keeps on giving. I am curious to see how it continues to unfold, because, today (September 19, 2022), it is still early days.

Here’s a list of immediately noticed outcomes (after the August 26th encounter with Rick): I hoovered the cobwebs from the high ceilings angles. After a couple of days I started cleaning everything I saw that had marks or dust! I felt well and I felt I had a new sense of financial control.

I became more gentle and more friendly when people are mean or aggressive (because I see that this is them and not personal) so I’m more connected and it seems they appreciate it. IFS would call that being more Self-led. I’m happy to call it that.

The most obvious and stand out effect was that I have become very interested in ordering my living environment (and the garden is included). It’s a new enthusiasm for systematic, helpful order.

The house feels so nice to be in as I walk around and see where that Part has struck. I am throwing out useless items, ala Kondo.

Combining IFS with financial therapy has really improved my life. Focusing on my “money” Part’s money scripts with Rick has not given me an obvious gold pot but it has enabled me to see money as friendly and unscary. As a result I think I do have – for now at least – a healthier, new relationship to money. It’s time to get organised, serious about budgets, clear and calm about the future and my financial needs.

I’m not sure how this works. I mumbled a bunch of stuff in a mythical way about Parts on those videos and whatever, thinking why not give it a good try, and then afterwards suspected it was a load of gumpf? I must have encountered a taste of what IFS chooses to call “Self.” If so, it’s a good encounter.


Helen E. Lees, PhD, is Editor of PARTS & SELF and based in Italy.

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