IFS Question #1: How can I access a part if I can’t remember a specific situation?

Today I was teaching one of my clients to do IFS on himself. We were using the appendix from Jay Earley’s Self-Therapy book as a guide, and doing so made me want to make my own list of heuristics for good questions to ask while doing IFS.

The appendix recommends that you access a protector by imagining a situation where the part was activated. My client said that, while he could remember the part being active recently, it would mostly come up in pretty mundane situations, none of which was particularly memorable.

A strategy that has helped me access parts is repeating thoughts (and other mental movements) associated with the part in question, in order to blend with it. So, if I had a part that thought I should be writing more blog posts, I would think of the reasons that it usually gave and repeat them over to myself, possibly even saying them out loud. I would picture whatever I usually think about when having those thoughts, and try to feel the associated emotions.

So, if you’re trying to access a particular part, try the strategy I just described. Chances are, it’ll work for you too!

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