Loving God, one another, and ourselves requires a commitment to transformation. As with any transformative spiritual discipline such as prayer, worship, and service, routinely engaging in the practice of connecting with members of our inner family is necessary for healing and growth.

I describe this process in detail in the book, with many exercises to support your practice.

Principles Guiding the New Spiritual Practice

We are created in God’s image.

As image-bearers, we have intrinsic resources that cannot be damaged by life experiences. Rather than developing something we lack, our focus is on releasing constraints to what is already there. We release constraints to these resources as we develop relationships between the leader of the inner family and the family members. The leader of the family (you!) has resources that reflect God’s image. The IFS model identifies eight “C’s” (curiosity, calm, compassion, connection, clarity, confidence, courage, and creativity) and five P’s (patience, persistence, presence, playfulness, and perspective) as key resources. We also have qualities representing the Spirit’s presence, such as love, joy, and gentleness.

Restoring relationships with inner family members who have lacked access to the leader of the family releases these resources, transforming fear and pain, opening space for love and grace.

Four Key Elements of the New Spiritual Practice

  1. Preparation
    Select a quiet place. Imagine a meeting place that is ideal for connecting with your inner family members. The space you create with your breath allows just the right distance for a good connection. It can help to select an anchoring verse such as, “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10).
  2. Inner Awareness
    Now turn your attention inside, taking time to notice thoughts, emotions, images, and sensations. Members of your inner family hold these. Allow your breath to be a calming reminder of the presence of God.
  3. Focus
    Focus on whatever is most present or intense. You can also ask, “Who needs my attention right now?” Notice whether you are open to connecting with it and curious to learn more about why it is there. Often, more than one part will be present simultaneously, which can block your curiosity. Gently ask others to wait their turn so you can connect with them one at a time.
  4. Befriending
    Now that you have identified a part needing attention, you are ready to build a relationship. It is helpful to remind yourself that this is no different than developing any other relationship! It involves listening, being open and curious, and allowing your love to create a gracious space for connection. Curiosity is vital because it will prompt questions that help you learn the part’s intention for the system. How is it trying to help you? How does it feel about the job it has to do? What is it afraid would happen if it didn’t do it? Notice the response to your questions. Sometimes there will be silence or even a snarky, “Well, it’s about time you noticed me!” It can take time to build trust, so extending compassion without words or questions is valuable. Appreciation is a balm for our parts. Let the hard-working members of your inner family know that you are grateful for their dedication.

This is just the beginning. If you are ready to learn more about how this new spiritual practice supports the journey of healing and transformation, my book is for you!


Do you have questions? Comments? Please share them. I want to support you on your journey.