Friday, March 7, 2008

Multiplicity: I'm Talking to All of You

I'm off to a family therapy conference in Washington to learn about Internal Family Systems Therapy. It is an approach that I was recently exposed to and that makes a great deal of sense to me. The idea is that we all experience ourselves as having different parts to us. An easy illustration is how you can be yourself and feel comfortable visiting with your grandmother and you can feel comfortable and very much yourself, acting in very different ways while hanging out with with close friends you've known a long time. You interact in very different ways in these different contexts, yet both ways of being are somehow you. I need to head out the door to run some errands before heading out, but the basic idea is that when we aren't doing well, these different "parts" of ourselves can become polarized and extreme, and end up at odds with one another. When we are doing well, our parts seem to make themselves available for the contexts which they are best suited to help out. This method of therapy is all about restoring a sense of internal balance and harmony. It is also a way of looking at systems on multiple levels so that you address the parts within the individual, the family system and larger cultural systems that affect the family. Fascinating stuff. I'll give an update when I return from the conference.
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