Several of you have asked to subscribe to my newsletter. Frankly, I had not even thought of writing a newsletter. But then, just as before when several people suggested I write a book about Somatic IFS and eventually the idea sunk in, I am now beginning the first issue of a newsletter. So, thanks for the idea, and thanks for signing up. I am so happy that we have found each other…so many of us excited about bringing somatic practices to the IFS Model.
I am writing this on the Autumn Equinox. A time of harvest, a time of reflection. Exactly a year ago Somatic Internal Family Systems Therapy was published. I completed the manuscript in March 2020, just as Covid-19 was clearly becoming a thing. An exponential thing. All that has occurred in the last year and a half! From the earliest days of making masks from old bandanas and coffee filters to adapting to new viral variations, to the greater focus on the systemic inequities and violence of a white supremacist society, to realizing the effects of climate change are largely irreversible—this trifecta of events have starkly revealed the increasingly pervasive political polarizations in the US. We are like cells in a living body and that body is traumatized.
These crises have also revealed all the terrifying and beautiful ways we are connected. It is undeniable that we are accountable, that our lives are in one another’s hands, and that we must reach out to one another from our hearts. Becoming more fully embodied is a radical, necessary act; that our bodies, our health, our lives and the life of all beings on our planet depend on it. Every level of our system cries out for healing and asks how to respond to these times of crisis. How can Somatic IFS answer the call? How can the ancient practices of awareness, breath, resonance, movement, and touch that are our legacy from our ancestors, combined with IFS contribute to our personal, interpersonal, intergenerational and collective healing?
A year ago I had imagined my book would be my semi-retirement offering to a limited group of people and I could begin to enjoy whatever it is that retired people do. It turns out that a somatic approach to therapy is not a woo-woo, marginalized idea that attracts a few aging white hippies. Many people of color as well as those exploring the benefits of psychedelic medicines are drawn to Somatic IFS. Many IFS therapists who have also studied Somatic Experiencing, Sensorimotor Psychotherapy, Yoga Therapy, Dance Movement Therapy, and Hakomi see Somatic IFS as a path to integrating these body-centered modalities into IFS. All of us realize that healing must include the body, and that healing must happen collectively, as the traumas are affecting us collectively. The burdens are woven into our bodily tissues and equally into the social fabric. Somatic IFS has a place in this collective healing. It has provided me with a platform, and that platform is a privilege and a responsibility.
So, realizing the pandemic wasn’t going away any time soon, I overcame my doubts that a two-dimensional virtual platform with postage-stamp images of people from the shoulders up could be even a pale substitute for in-the-flesh, living breathing bodies coming together in all our glory and complexity. I retired my vintage iBook and bought a 27’ desk top computer. I designed a two-step teaching program. The first step is an experiential immersion into the five practices of Somatic IFS supplemented with small embodiment practice groups. The second step focuses on clinical applications, with demos and supervised practice groups. The widening community of people deepening into an exploration of the mystery and magic of merging ancient somatic practices with the IFS Model is truly a bountiful harvest.
This equinox is a time of equilibrium of light and dark, of transition, of the goddess Persephone returning to the darkness of the underworld, a time of harvest, celebrating the gifts of the earth. A time where we realize the essential truth of binaries, multiplicity, and Oneness. I look forward to continuing witnessing and guiding the unfolding of Somatic IFS and connecting with you through this newsletter.