Exiles: Young, vulnerable parts that carry the burden of past experiences. In an effort to ‘move on’ from painful experiences, we exile the associated memories and emotions by burying them deep in our subconscious. Exiles are also created when we bury undesirable aspects of our personality that don’t appear to fit in with our surrounding social structure. Our Managers attempt to keep our Exiles buried by preventing us our Exiles from being triggered, while our Firefighters attempt to deflect attention from our Exiles when they are triggered.
Firefighters: Powerful protector parts that do whatever it takes to divert attention from feeling vulnerable when an Exile is triggered. Firefighters achieve this through learned behaviors and involuntary physical reactions. The list of possible firefighting tendencies is long and varies from person to person.
Physiological Firefighters: Firefighters which cause involuntary physical reactions as a result of Exiles being triggered. Physiological Firefighters may include (but are not limited to) physical pain or illness, sweating, dizziness and sleepiness.
Psychological Firefighters: Firefighters that carry out learned behaviors or tendencies in order to distract oneself from feeling vulnerable when an Exile is triggered. Psychological Firefighters may include (but are not limited to) excessive eating, shopping or exercise, drug or alcohol abuse, violence and rage, and suicidal thoughts or tendencies.
Guides/Gut Feeling: our Guides are our Self-led instincts which, when trusted, help us make decisions. Some consider this our “gut feelings.’
Internal Family System: Our network of parts, which includes our Exiles, Managers and Firefighters. These parts work with and against each other. Each part can have a unique voice or personality and, in turn, make us act or react in specific ways.
Internal Family SystemsSM Model: The Internal Family SystemsSM Model was developed by Dr. Richard D. Schwarz and is based on the idea that, much like we have an external family, we have an Internal Family System. Through IFSSM therapy, we look inside towards our thoughts, memories and emotions to ask and answer questions that are designed to help us understand ourselves and our parts better. In doing so, we can soothe our vulnerable parts.
Managers: Our proactive protector parts. In some ways, Managers may be thought of as our will power. Managers are our ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ parts which monitor our behavior on a daily basis and prevent our Exiles from feeling vulnerable before they are triggered.
Parts: Our Parts are the individual members of our Internal Family System. They may be Managers, Firefighters, or Exiles. Each art has its own unique voice or personality that causes us to act and react in specific ways. Although parts can be taught a different reality and comforted, we never get rid of our parts.
Personality Aspects: This term is synonymous with Parts.
Protector Parts: Our Protector Parts include our Managers and Firefighters. They believe that their job is to protect our Exiles from feeling vulnerability, either by prevention (Managers) or deflection (Firefighters).
Vulnerable Parts: This term is synonymous with Exiles.
Personality Aspects: See Parts.
Physiological Firefighters: See Firefighters.
Protector Parts: See Parts.
Psychological Firefighters: See Firefighters.
Self: Our Self is the calm, confident core of who we are, which is often buried by life experiences. When we are able to comfort our vulnerable parts, our protector parts are able to relax and step aside. This reveals our Self, similar in nature to our Uncarved Block.
Be Self Aware: A method of finding and staying in touch with our Self, the calm, confident core of who we are. If our Self is in control, then we’re in control of our reactions and decisions. In order to accomplish this, I believe that we have to acknowledge and understand the thoughts and emotions (parts) that cause us to react the way we do. This is an ongoing process, which lasts a lifetime.
Self-Led: A Self-led individual is Self Aware. Their actions and decisions are directly influenced by their Self rather than their parts.
Trigger: A situation or person that causes our Parts to react. A trigger is often associated with the burden that an Exile carries. In some cases, our Managers will avoid that trigger altogether. A Firefighter will act our in an effort to deflect the pain that is associated with the triggered Exile.
Uncarved Block: Our original simplicity when we’re born. As we move through life, we encounter situations and people that chip away at this block and shape the people we are today. The nature of the Uncarved Block is the same as Self: simple, child-like, curious, calm and humble.
Vulnerable Parts: see Parts.