We all have a family that lives inside of us, which each member showing up as voices, urges, sensations, or images. These inner voices can be your harshest critics and worst enablers yet they’re trying desperately to help you.
When it comes to binge dieting, understanding and finding these parts of us through a lens of compassion will take you one step closer to healing. In fact, it will ultimately completely heal you. This is what internal family systems (IFS) therapy is all about. It will help you make sense of the different parts of your mind that enable perfectionist tendencies and binge eating, and the parts that that hold our shame.
In this episode, we will look at the most cutting edge treatment for healing eating disorders and addiction available, called internal family systems or IFS therapy. I will discuss three common parts that often exist as an internal triangle among people with eating disorders. By understanding these parts through IFS therapy, you will be able to focus like a laser on the specific voices, urges and sensations that often show up.
Tune in to this episode if you want to know how to use the internal family systems theory in dealing with binge dieting. I will teach this process in more detail in my class.I am now offering a virtual 7-week CLASS!
The class will include pre-recorded videos, audio recordings, handouts, membership in a Facebook community, and weekly private group sessions.
The class begins on October 2, and enrolling now will guarantee that you can participate in the private Zoom meetings with therapist Blair Thurston. The cost is an introductory price! Participants enrolling after the class starts in October can still access all the content but will miss out on weekly therapy zoom participation.
If you would prefer more individualized help, contact me so we can schedule a private virtual session.
The IFS therapy is about understanding all the different parts of your mind, including those that are upset, anxious, compulsive, critical, controlling, and shaming.
The brain operates as a system, like a family. There are personalities and roles each part plays. All parts work together as a system; however, each part is often unaware of the needs of other parts in the system. The goal of IFS therapy is to be aware of the parts, relate to them directly, and help them operate in a way that will benefit the entire system (which is you).The C’s of IFS Therapy
IFS believes that we each have a perfect, innocent essence which can act as a healing agent for the system. As you learn how to connect with this essence, you will naturally be able to connect with and will come in contact with eight traits: compassion, curiosity, connection, calm, courage, clarity, caring, and creativity. Listen to the full episode to learn more about each of them.
As these traits naturally begin to have more presence in your system, you will have a better chance of making a connection with and having a dialogue with the parts of you that make you binge eat or act in other compulsive ways. Creating a dialogue helps make sense of your destructive behaviors and change them.The Triangle of Eating Disorders The Exile Part
We push this part away from our awareness because it hurts. In eating disorders, the exile part holds the deep shame about the body or other experiences from our past. This part holds thoughts of unworthiness and shame and makes it difficult to seek self-love and self-compassion.The Perfectionist Part
The perfectionist part says you need to be perfect and organized. It often teams up with your inner critic and with the desire to eat perfectly. It tries to protect us from failure and hurt, which is a good thing, but it can also get carried away and create more harm than good. The more the perfectionist part is in control, the more the person might go into panic mode. It often brings out unrealistic demands.The Binge Eating Part
Since the perfectionist usually can't be maintained, it reinforces shame, and this will trigger a binge eating part for comfort.
The binge part is another protective part: it not only brings comfort but it ensures that you won’t be deprived. It generally has several functions. It often starts with a craving and then morphs into a binge.Working with the Binge Eating Part Through IFS Therapy
The hallmark of IFS therapy is learning how to find and relate to all parts in a loving and compassionate way by being a separate observer of the parts. Instead of fighting each of them, you understand that each part serves a function and your goal is to develop a trusting relationship with them.5 Powerful Quotes from This Episode
“I think it’s really important to take a breath and to honor and validate and acknowledge the exhausting journey that you’ve probably been in.”
“We always want to keep in mind that our parts work on our behalf really trying to help and love us and save us from pain.”
“Because the reality is no one can maintain a perfectionist stance – because, who’s perfect? You can’t do it. So the more the perfectionist part and the critic is in control, the more the person tends to flounder.”
“So when you’re stuck in the perfectionist critic part, and it gets to the point where you can’t maintain it, it reinforces the shame and the feelings of inadequacy in the exile part. And not only that, it’s going to catapult you right into the other part of the triangle, which is the binge part.”
“So as long as you have this loving dialogue with this part, it’s all good. This is how in time you heal the part. You reassure the part over and over and over.”If you listened to the podcast and enjoyed it, please share and post a review!
To making peace with eating,