The Essential Question in IFS Therapy


There is this one question that we use in the IFS process again and again. The essential question in IFS Therapy.

How do you feel towards this part?

When I assisted at IFS Level 1 training in Copenhagen, I learned an important thing about this question from Osnat Arbel, Ph.D.

She said that this question is both an assessment of Self energy and intervention that helps access more Self-energy.

What does it mean?

In order to answer this question, you obviously need to assess your feelings towards the part you want to work with. This helps you to see how much Self-energy you hold.

But it’s so much more than the assessment.

In order to answer this question, you also need to look at yourself as something separate from the part that may be blended with you. The question holds two subjects at the same time: you and the part. Trying to find an answer helps you differentiate yourself from the part.

That’s why we ask this question even if it’s obvious that the person you are working with (or yourself if you’re doing self-therapy) is blended with a concerned part.

Also, please remember that this question is our friend through the whole process, not only during the “Feel” stage of the 6 F’s.

You never know what can trigger other parts of us during a dialogue with a target part and so it’s crucial to ask yourself (or your client) this question now and then. Especially when you notice a shift in the client’s voice or body language.

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Founder of Life Architect
Michael Pasterski is founder of Life Architect, Planets and Foundation for Conscious Education He is also the author of the “Insight. Road to Mental Maturity” book and blog about psychology and personal development which are read by more than a million people a year. You will find English version of blog on Every day he works as a coach and personal development trainer.

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