Our Internal Family System (IFS) is made up of different types of Parts. First, we have vulnerable Parts that carry our beliefs and feelings from past experiences, beginning at birth all the way to the present. In IFS, these Parts are known as Exiles. For our purposes, we will refer to them as our vulnerable Parts.
We also have reactive protector Parts known as Firefighters. They flare up when one of our vulnerable parts is activated. The Firefighter is trying to deflect the pain/belief by turning our attention outward. This happens in a variety of ways which are often destructive to our relationships. This reaction comes from our subconscious mind and we don’t have much, if any, control over it.
Next, we have proactive Parts, known as Managers. These Parts are at work behind how we act and present ourselves to the world. These parts can also work as protectors for our vulnerable parts, and often work from our conscious mind.
Then we have Self. To me, this is where our life begins, before we have learned that we need protection. Our Self carries no expectations, wants, or judgment. Our Self accepts situations and those around us for what they are. The purpose of IFS therapy is to calm our vulnerable and protector Parts so we can act closely from a SELF like place as often as possible.
One of the harder things to understand and accept is what IFS calls Guides. I call it our gut feelings. What I have learnt is that the more we are in Self, the easier it is to connect with our gut feeling. For me they have been a good way to make the decisions that are right for me.