Richard Schwartz — IFS, Psychedelic Experiences without Drugs, and Finding Inner Peace for Our Many Parts (#492)| The Tim Ferriss Show

Tim Ferriss is not associated or affiliated with PodcastNotes in any way. All notes are independently created by PodcastNotes and do not imply any sponsorship or endorsement by, or affiliation with, Mr. Ferriss.

Check out on The Tim Ferriss Show Podcast Page and Episode Notes

Key Takeaways

  • We all have different parts within ourselves, and they can be valuable
    • They are not only the product of trauma
      • But traumas drive our parts into dysfunctional roles
  • Four Common “parts” in the Internal Family System (IFS) are Exiles, Protectors, Firefighters, and Self
    • “I can safely say that that Self, with a capital S, is in everybody, can’t be damaged, knows how to heal and can be accessed simply by getting these parts to open space, because it seems it’s just beneath the surface” Richard Schwartz
  • Behaviors that we see as self-destructive are not “maladaptive”, they just have outlived their usefulness
    • Behavior that we might view negatively today, might have been essential to survival in childhood
  • People with suicidal thoughts are relieved to realize that it is only one part of themselves that is suicidal
    • It’s just a part of you trying to take away your pain and suffering
  • IFS can be useful both to prepare in advance and to metabolize after a psychedelic experience
  • IFS goes beyond acceptance by making us actively help our “parts” to unburden

Key Products Mentioned

Intro

The Concept of Internal “Parts”

  • As a fresh graduate, Richard was intrigued to hear his clients refer to different “parts” of themselves
    • These “parts” seemed to have full autonomy
    • They could take over and make the person do things they didn’t want to
      • “The critic” is an example
  • We all have different parts, and they can be valuable
    • They are not only the product of trauma
    • But traumas drive our parts into dysfunctional roles
      • Dysfunctional parts think they are necessary to keep us safe
  • Richard found that trying to fight or control parts was not effective
    • Listening to and loving them allows dysfunctional parts to transform

The Internal Family Systems Model

  • Four Common “parts” in IFS are Exiles, Protectors, Firefighters, and Self
  • Exiles
    • Inner Children: they tend to be the happy, creative parts of ourselves
    • They are also the most fearful and sensitive to traumas
      • When they get hurt, they can overwhelm us
      • Even if we didn’t have much trauma, we hide these parts within us
  • Protectors
    • We develop protectors to avoid our Exiles from getting triggered
    • Protectors might 
      • Keep us at a distance from people
      • Try to make our appearance and performance perfect
      • Criticize us and getting us to behave
  • Firefighters
    • They come in when protectors fail and Exiles get triggered
    • They try to get us away from our emotions
      • Drug addiction, binge eating, over-work can all be firefighter responses
      • Suicide is the most extreme firefighter response
  • Part of IFS Therapy is to get different parts to talk to each other
    • Doing this, Richard also discovered another part, the Capital S Self
      • The Self is calm, confident, and compassionate towards other parts
    • “I can safely say that that Self, with a capital S, is in everybody, can’t be damaged, knows how to heal and can be accessed simply by getting these parts to open space, because it seems it’s just beneath the surface” Richard Schwartz
  • In MDMA experiences, people relax their protectors and are more easily able to connect with their healing Self

IFS and Psychedelic Experiences

  • Psychedelic experiences suffer from survivorship bias
    • We tend to hear stories from people whose experience went well
  • IFS can be useful both to prepare in advance and to metabolize after a psychedelic experience
    • It is useful to get to know the part of yourself before you take psychedelics
    • Therapists can also be trained in IFS to help people go through the experience

IFS, Self-Compassion, and Suicide

  • IFS’ approach sees symptoms of mental disorder as having a positive intention
    • Behaviors that we see as self-destructive are not “maladaptive”, they just have outlived their usefulness
      • Behavior that we might view negatively today, might have been essential to survival in childhood
      • Your “part” continues expressing that behavior thinking that it is still needed
    • This updated view allowed Tim to have more self-compassion
  • “Negative” symptoms can be viewed as starting points to healing
    • Richard calls these “trailheads”
    • “If we follow the trail it will lead us right to the part we need to heal that we haven’t gotten to yet”  Richard Schwartz
  • People with suicidal thoughts are relieved to realize that it is only one part of themselves that is suicidal
    • It’s just a part of you trying to take away your pain and suffering
    • Through IFS you can deal with that part in a different way
      • You can interact with it and understand it

Beyond Acceptance

Integrating IFS Into Your Daily Practice

  • After going through an IFS session, it is important to continue engaging with your parts
    • You can talk to them and reassure them when they feel frightened
    • “When I’m working with clients and we’ve done a lot of work and at the end, they’ll say some version of, ‘You’re a pretty good therapist, but I healed myself,’ and that’s really what we’re shooting for”  Richard Schwartz
  • If you get overwhelmed by one of your parts, note it down
    • You can bring this up in another IFS session to understand more about it
  • Richard recommends getting started with IFS with his audio guide: Greater Than the Sum of Our Parts

Protector Wars in Couples

  • When couples fight, they create a vicious cycle
    • Protectors tend to take over and do the talking
    • As they do, they hurt their partner’s Exiles, causing their Protector to get more extreme
    • Each Protector is trying to defend itself and doesn’t realize that it is hurting their partner
  • With IFS, each individual gets to know their parts first
    • Then they are able from a calmer place, from their capital S Self
    • Just doing this can bring healing to the relationship
  • Another way to do IFS with couples is to let one partner witness the other partner doing IFS with their therapist
    • Finding out about your partner’s parts will create empathy towards him/her

Richard Guides Tim Through an IFS Session

  • Richard Guides Tim Through an IFS Session
    • Richard instructs him to feel into the anxiety in his body
    • How does he feel towards the anxious part?
    • Instead of being angry or wanting the anxious part to go away, give it space to express itself
    • Visualize the anxious part
    • Ask what it wants you to know and if there’s anything it wants you to do
    • Let it know that you care for it and help it get rid of all its baggage (visualizing)
      • Throughout the session, more detailed instruction is given depending on Tim’s response
  • Tim compares the experience of going through IFS to a psychedelic one

Additional Notes

Tim Ferriss Show : , ,
Notes By Giorgio Parlato

More Notes on these topics

Top Insights and Tactics From

31 Best Podcasts of All Time

FREE when you join over 12,000 subscribers to the
Podcast Notes newsletter

No Thanks