Self-Therapy: A Step-By-Step Guide to Creating Wholeness and Healing Your Inner Child Using IFS, A New, Cutting-Edge Psychotherapy, 2nd Edition (9780984392773): Jay Earley: Books

I think the book is excellent – I’ve already recommended it to numerous people. Internal Family Systems is the best thing I’m come across in the psych world in the course of reading a fair number of psych books in my 44 years, and this book by Earley does a great job of explaining it.

IFS is not the simplest thing in the world to explain in writing, yet the book nails it by combining clear illustrations, good organization and thoughtful writing. It also has numerous exercises you can do yourself. And a section of tips on doing IFS with a partner, and on working with a therapist.

The book is written to be accessible to the general public, which is the only broad-based introductory IFS book I know of yet that is in good measure written for the public (i.e. not written for therapists). It’s largely written for the person who will be going through therapy or wants to practice IFS on their own or with a partner. I think even having the awareness of the concepts and info will help most people, even if they don’t do the exercises.

The great thing about the above is it gives IFS a better chance of making a bigger impact on the world than is possible simply through therapists. There are only so many therapists, and only some know much IFS and relatively few have been trained in it, or are now slated to be trained.

Besides letting more people do it on their own, I think IFS therapists in general will benefit from it because I think a good number of people who read it and find IFS appealing will at some point in the upcoming years of their life will go to an IFS therapist to experience the added benefits of therapy or tackle harder things that need a therapist. Kind of like how the Grateful Dead became the highest grossing tour band in the U.S. because they let people record their concerts and share copies for free. More people got copies of the music, liked it and then went to concerts, bought t-shirts and bought CDs. The more people who are introduced to IFS through books like this, the more the average IFS therapist will have people knocking on their door looking to do it.

One small note is that while the tagline of the book mentions “healing your inner child,” my impression is that according to IFS and to the author (Earley) and my own experience of myself, most people are healing several inner parts of themselves, including some adult parts that are not serving them well. While I don’t care about sub-titles, I thought I would mention the above to clarify in case it’s needed for anyone that this is not some half-baked new age book talking only about healing an inner child. As the first half of the tagline conveys, IFS works with all parts of our personality, and tries to get all aspects of who we are more healthy to better serve us. Healing the childish parts of us that are often unconscious is certainly an important part of the process, and the book is a multi-dimensional approach to those parts and other parts of who we are.

In case you haven’t heard of IFS, it is a respected psychological system and is used primarily by licensed therapists and clinics, and recommended by many respected leaders in the field. The founder of it was the co-author of one of the best selling textbooks on marriage and family therapy used by universities, and who taught at one of the top schools in the country. It’s not a passing fad and not a new-age gimmick with the aim of selling books. IFS is not family therapy – Schwartz used the systematic thinking common in family therapy to discover that we have our own internal set of sub-personalities or parts that combine to form who we are. Often some of the parts are on track and some are not, and need some assistance from us in coming to serve us better.

The book focuses on how you can learn what the parts of yourself are, how they operate, and how you can help them learn and mature to become better at serving you. Doing so takes time. Don’t expect to read this book or any book, and have easy answers or have most things figured out just like that. It takes ongoing time and attention. My guess is that most people will need to read the book again in a year and delve deeper in the second time.

Overall, the writing in Self-Therapy is lucid and understandable, without dumbing down. I think the book would also be helpful to therapists looking for a strong intro to IFS, or to therapists who know some about IFS and want to know more. When you consider that the founder Richard Schwartz was able to help a lot of people when he first started doing IFS, and it was only part-way developed when he first started doing it and he had no book with lots of details explaining it to help him, I would assume that a high quality therapist could read this book and begin using some of the concepts in their practice.

If you click on my profile, you’ll see that I’m a real person, and that I give things poor ratings as well as good ones, and that I don’t often give something such a strong review.

If you stumbled across this book while surfing the net, I strongly recommend you plop down the small cost to get it. It might well change your life. And at the least, I think almost all people will get at least $15 of value from it, enough to be worth the cost. It’s very rare that I find a book I can say that about.

Carpal Tunnel, Syndrome Self Treatment

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