When I heard Glennon Doyle earlier this year share about coping with anorexia, I wanted to get her to an Internal Family Systems (IFS) therapist. Alas she’d already gotten the news! In episode 170 of We Can Do Hard Things, Abby Wambach and Amanda and Glennon Doyle are joined by Dr. Becky Kennedy. The four of them gush over IFS. They sound as enthusiastic as I did when first introduced to the approach.
IFS was founded by Richard Schwartz while working with clients in treatment for bulimia and anorexia. Dick regularly shares the origin story of IFS when, in frustration, he started listening to his clients.They started talking about the warring parts inside themselves. The part that didn’t want to binge. The part that craved the control of consuming. The parts that were scared and angry and tired. As he started giving space to each of these parts, he heard how they were trying to help, to be protective. He got curious as they talked about their fears and roles. Once seen and heard, the clients’ parts felt relief. The inner wise self started showing up. The well-intended protective bingeing, purging, and starving parts didn’t feel the need to show up so often.
And so began their new way of being.
I love this exchange between Glennon and Amanda where, like the good Gen Xers that they are, they invoke Oprah:
Glennon Doyle: If I am the one observing the part, I immediately am not the part. I’m Oprah at the head of my table. So I have suddenly shifted my consciousness from, “I’m anxious. I’m scared. I’m jealous.” Oh, no, no, no, no, “Hi, anxiety. Hi, jealousy. I’m fucking Oprah. I’m fucking Oprah.” And so I am going to listen to all of you, because I know you’re my advisors. And I know you have things to say. And then I am going to bestow upon us what we are going to do next.”
Amanda Doyle: And we are going to live our best life, because we are Oprah.
Here’s to IFS for us all to live our best lives.