Somatic IFS Newsletter August, 2023
As I relish the final precious days of summer with family and friends, I also look forward to the next year to bring Somatic IFS to many more people. For IFS graduates there will be five Step 1 in-person retreats (all full with a waitlist) --Ireland in October, Brooklyn for the Jewish Orthodox community in November, two retreats in Costa Rica in the winter, and Malta in the spring. I am deeply grateful for the enthusiastic and expert organizational skills of Ciara and Paul McGriskin, Trish Attia, Nancy Berkowitz, and Kim Martin. Beyond the IFS community, therapists all over the world are recognizing the importance of a somatic approach to psychotherapy and are inviting me to join international experts in the field to bring Somatic IFS as part of their curriculum, such as Life Architect (October 24 and 31), and an Italian training organization (TBD).
As I plan the 2nd half of 2024, I am considering an in-person retreat (Step 1) in the US and an online SIFS training (Step 2). I have begun another writing project. North Atlantic Books has encouraged me to write a workbook as a companion to my book Somatic Internal Family Systems Therapy which I completed just as Covid-19 was declared a pandemic. These last three years have seen some seismic shifts and this workbook will be an opportunity to integrate those changes and to expand the toolbox for somatic practitioners.
As Somatic IFS expands in its depth and reach, I am deeply grateful for the expanding community, especially my SIFS staff. In addition to offering therapy and consultation, some are filling in gaps that are not covered by the Step 1 and 2 Somatic IFS programs. For example, Patty Rich will be offering a SELF-LED SEXUALITY RETREAT: FOR HEALING, PLEASURE AND EMPOWERMENT April 15-19, 2024 on the beautiful island of Gozo in Malta. There are still some openings for what I know will be a valuable experience. This retreat is the week before my Somatic IFS retreat at the same location, so those of you already accepted for the SIFS retreat may want to add this to your somatic journey. For more information: https://www.souliology.com/self-led-sexuality-retreat.
Another staff person, LaDonna Silva, will be co-facilitating, along with a breath-work teacher, a Somatic IFS-focused retreat in Bali, March 1-8, 2024. There will be a number of presenters at the Annual IFS Conference (Denver, October 26-28) who will bring Somatic IFS into their workshops. Marcella Cox will be leading a day long workshop at the conference with Jeanne Catanzaro and Theresa Chesnut on Disordered Eating and will incorporate Somatic IFS with her experiential exercises.
One description of “embodied” is the experience of connection and interconnection. When we feel connected with our bodies, energy and information can flow freely. Equally important is interconnection--joining with other people interested in a somatic approach to IFS and to be able to freely share energy and information. To stay connected with the Somatic IFS community, here is a Google group you can join. Once you have logged into Google, request to join the group at https://groups.google.com/g/somatic-ifs?pli=1. I thank LaDonna for forming this group and she hopes your membership will assist in connecting the SIFS community online and at the Denver conference.
Below are “before” and “after” photos of the beloved 150-year-old Maui Banyan tree as it suffered extensive damage from the wildfires that swept through the very heart of Hawaii, Lahaina, Maui. This tree has become a symbol of hope as the community has brought its resources together to try to save the tree and to address the tremendous loss and trauma.
My wife Beth and I recently spoke with one of the people providing emotional support to the Island, a Somatic IFS therapist living in Maui, Cathy Hembd. Cathy spoke clearly about her purpose, her kuleana, which, according to Hawaiian custom, is associated with the privilege afforded to those who demonstrate their readiness and worthiness to handle the responsibility. While others may litigate, find shelter, tend to abandoned animals or attempt to rebuild the city, Cathy sees the need as a spiritual wound. She draws on Somatic IFS and spiritual training to invite in the energy of Source flowing in through her crown chakra, helping her to connect to Being-ness/Oneness/Self. She shared her dance with us that begins with her arm circling above her head, calling in a community of people and spirits to support and guide our next steps. She will begin each day with this dance, drumming and chanting. She plans to hold drumming circles, and has invited all of us to join her in this daily dance. May we find healing for the Islands. For those whose kuleana includes sending money she suggests: