Using IFS Therapy to Resolve Trauma
For those struggling with:
- PTSD (Post-traumatic stress disorder)
- relationship issues
What do I do?
I help people feel free. We all want to be happy and be loved, but sometimes there are old wounds or patterns from our past that interfere with moving on into the kind of lives we want.
In order to heal our wounds and move forward into a joyful and creative life, we must learn to connect with our bodies and tolerate our feelings. We must learn to honor and have compassion for the parts of us that we have been afraid of, or hated, or been ashamed of. Most of all we must learn to connect with the powerful energy of our true Self…our deep heart, the essential core that is our source of strength, compassion, balance, and wisdom.
Imagine a little child…
She has been hurt and frightened. She is running home, wanting to be held and comforted, wanting to feel safe. The door is locked, so she knocks on the door, crying. If no one opens the door for her, what happens? She knocks louder and louder, and her cries get more and more distressed.
What happens if her mother opens the door to this hysterical child? One mother may shame the child (“What’s wrong with you? Why are you making such a fuss? Stop crying! If something bad happened to you, just shake it off, get over it, and move on”). So the child swallows the fear and the pain, as well as the shame and the fear of rejection resulting from her mother’s response, and she moves on. Only she moves on by shutting down and disconnecting. Her mother is happy because her child is quiet, but the child isn’t really quiet, she’s frozen.
But another mother opens the door and says, “Come on in, sweetie. Come sit on my lap and tell me what happened.” At first the child is so upset she can barely talk, but as her mother holds her, lets her cry, rubs her back, looks in her eyes, and waits quietly, the little girl gradually calms down and begins to tell her what happened. She keeps crying and talking until she has told it all and feels seen, understood, loved, and safe. There is a heart-to-heart connection. Eventually she will look up at her mother and smile and say, “I feel better now. Can I go play?” Now the little girl can genuinely and freely move on. She is learning how to cope with her fears and sadness, how to comfort herself, and how to regain her balance.
These scenarios happen all the time. Life can be painful; bad things happen to all of us. Real little children are either comforted or shamed by their parents. Real adults are either comforted or shamed by their partners, friends, teachers, counselors, and pastors.
These scenarios happen internally as well as externally. We all have vulnerable parts of us that have been hurt or frightened, that feel young, fragile, rejected, and ashamed. How do we respond when these distressing feelings are knocking at the door, trying to get our attention? These feelings can be very frightening. Sometimes it feels like there’s a war going on inside of us. Sometimes it feels like we’ll die if we let those feelings and memories come up. So what do we do with them? Do we keep the door locked and shame them into silence? Do we try to numb them out with drugs, alcohol, food, gambling, or work? Or do we listen to them, honor them, and help them release the pain and fear?
We’re not taught how to do that in our culture; we’re taught to shut them up and shut them down.
My goal is to help you move on in a healthy way:
- reconnect with your body
- access your inner strength and wisdom
- tolerate your feelings
- resolve traumatic experiences
- honor the wounded parts of yourself
- release the pain and the fear that is held in your body
- feel clear and free all the way down
- access and develop your creativity
- honor your own spiritual framework
How do I do this?
We begin by doing whatever is necessary for you to feel as safe as possible and most in control of your own process. You are invited into a relaxed state using breath, imagery, mindfulness, and sound, so you can learn how to be fully present in your body. Using Internal Family Systems (IFS) techniques, we begin working on a subconscious level so you can safely access and listen to the parts of yourself that have been numbed out and shut down, tolerate their intense feelings, and discover what they’re needing in order to be healed. Most importantly, you learn how to reconnect with your deep inner strength and wisdom so that you can release the pain, fear, and shame that those wounded parts are carrying, and bring harmony and peace to your inner being.
What are the details?
Sessions usually run 75 minutes and cost $150. I don’t take any insurance.