Are you in pain? Maybe you feel it deeply and it overflows into your life. Maybe you run from it in every way you can. Maybe you are like I once was and you just don’t know.
A few years ago I talked with a therapist colleague about PTSD and I wondered if I had it. I was unaware of it at the time but the truth was I had more trauma than I could imagine, combined with many strategies for denying it, pushing it away, and avoiding looking deep inside myself. I could perform, please, and perfect myself away from even the slightest hint of pain. Once I finally had the courage to look inside with a skilled IFS practitioner as my guide, I found many parts of me in pain and other parts flooded with shame. We have healed many of those parts together and it has changed my life.
IFS provided a safe, compassionate, evidence-based approach that not only healed so much of my trauma but also healed parts of me that were protecting me from all that pain. My healing continues. I love my protective parts who heroically helped me survive a very difficult childhood and the pain that continued. I have a new relationship with all of my parts and I have become the loving, attuned, responsive caregiver for them that they’ve always needed. I practice IFS daily and it enriches, supports, and changes everything I care about. It helps me be more of the father, partner, friend, therapist, and person I want to be.
It is changing the lives of my clients as well. I hear it from them and witness it in them every day. I love guiding my clients courageously into places inside of them that are hurting, bringing the hope and healing they’ve needed for years, if not decades.
IFS is a powerful healing modality. About a week ago, new research was published that verifies what I have experienced and seen. I cried when I read it because I KNEW IT WORKED and now there was research that showed that IFS had a powerful effect on decreasing PTSD symptoms, alleviating depression, and bringing about other significant benefits (check out the study here).
If you are in pain, have ways of coping with your pain that you don’t like, or just want to improve your relationship with yourself, I wholeheartedly invite you to find an IFS practitioner and begin your own healing journey. I have a handful of online openings for those of you in California if you’d like to walk with me as a Guide (click here to learn about my IFS services). There are many other compassionate and skilled healers in the IFS community (go here or here to find one). I trust you will find whoever you need by your side to go and heal the hurting places within you (just make sure they are IFS Level 1 trained at a minimum).
I can’t think of a better way to start 2022 than with a renewed commitment to pursue our own healing. If you’re like me, you’ll be amazed what you find inside and it will be some of the most heart-warming and healing reunions of your life.
When you heal on the inside, everything outside you changes…your relationships, your work in the world, your behavior, and beyond. As we heal we bring more compassion, courage, and clarity into our lives. We feel more whole and we feel more free.
With care and compassion,
Forest Benedict, LMFT, SATP
IFS Level 1 & 2 Trained