Are “denial” and “anger” our first protectors?

Another occasional article in support of Internal Family Systems (IFS).

Bruce Dickson


Below is revised-adapted from from un-dated

The original author, Steve Wasserman, was invited to comment. He replied but declined to engage one way or another.

I was looking for: “Internal Family Systems” (IFS) “denial and anger” as protectors

An article by Steve Wasserman in the UK, a therapist trained in both Schema Therapy and IFG, was top-rated. I saw he was strengthening several weak areas of IFS rhetoric.

When I find new language on a topic needing more new rhetoric, like IFS, I sometimes bring it into word processing to revise, so I can learn from it, see if it expands naturally. This went well. I prefer to leave the original author as author. Technically I am the “editor” or this paraphrases Steve’s original post.

While Internal Family Systems Therapy (IFS) grew out of Family Systems therapy, IFS was first and primarily developed for therapy and self-healing of individuals.

Considering both IFS and Schema Therapy, another clarification is, although created by different people, the two share so many similarities, it hardly makes sense (to me) to separate them as two different therapeutic methods.

To describe either or both, I like to start with “parts” (IFS) or “Modes” (Schema Therapy).

We all have Parts-Modes

Right now a part of me feels like going for a walk; another part wants to push on with writing this page about IFS.

Still feeling injured by an offensive e-mail message, a part of me wants to hit “reply” and deliver a stinging put-down reply; while, a different part wants to shrug it off.

Different people who know me have experienced different parts of me. Most people who know me have seen my intense, sincere, and irritable parts. Some have met the little snarling dog living inside me. Others have experienced my playful and adventurous parts.

When you walk into your office in the morning and see storm clouds over your boss’s head, you know precisely what is brewing. Your boss’s angry part has a characteristic tone of voice, vocabulary, and body posture — so different from yesterday, when you both shared pictures of…