This is the space where I hope to share information and inspiration from my experience as a therapist, as well as experiences from other areas of my life.
For my introductory message I want to share an experience I had with a client who had been suffering from nightmares from trauma that she had experienced many years ago at her job. When we began working together she told me how much she hated those nightmares and wished they would go away. Although I am trained in several therapeutic modalities, I am very passionate about supporting my clients with a profoundly healing approach known as IFS (Internal Family Systems). In a nutshell, IFS allows the Innate Self of a person to connect with the various parts of themselves that make up how they navigate life. (If that doesn't make sense, stay tuned for future blogs where I will explain more in depth about IFS).
Through the steps of IFS, my client got to know this part of her that brings her the nightmares, and she was able to see that the reason why the nightmares visit her at night is because during the day when she is alert, the parts of her that work very hard to protect this part that has experienced so much trauma are alert too. They are on guard, so to speak. However, it became obvious that when she is sleeping, the protective parts seem to sleep too, giving this part of her that is carrying so much pain the chance to express itself through images, sounds and sensations.
"WOW! I never thought of it this way," my client exclaimed.
For the first time since she started having these nightmares, instead of feeling hatred and frustration (along with a plethora of other emotions), she felt compassion for this part of her that has been holding these violent memories and could only show them to her during the night. Then, once the protective mechanisms she has during the day saw that the Self could handle seeing the images, they softened back enough to not have to start staying up all night to guard this tender part. She said that if/when she has her next nightmare, after the initial shock of waking up startled, she might be able to actually respond to the nightmare with compassion and support instead of doing anything to push it away.
What a profound shift.
This is just one of so many examples of the shifts that occur when I use IFS with my clients. But there is more. Once the initial shift occurs, the parts that have been holding so much pain can actually let go of of their pain (become unburdened), bring in positive qualities, and often leave the place and time they have been stuck in and go to a place and time that feels safe and supported - often choosing to be right in the heart of the Self.
IFS has to potential to give anyone a whole new take on Trauma, PTSD, addictions, and so much more. It is truly a privilege to walk beside my clients as they access more Self Energy and heal their wounds, and gain better relationships with all of their parts within as well as the people in their outer world.
I cannot believe I get paid for this.
In the next few blogs, I will share more about IFS and the potential impact it can have on a person's mental and emotional wellbeing no matter their circumstances.