mardi 13 mars 2012
Tibet, Alexandra David Neel, Thich Nhat Hanh et IFS
An example of a clear parallel between the Internal Family Systems model and traditional Tibetan Buddhist teachings is found in a Tibetan parable about the nature of the human psyche reported by David-Neel (1978):
"A 'person' resembles an assembly composed of a number of members. In this assembly discussion never ceases. Now and again one of the members rises, makes a speech, and suggests an action; his colleagues approve, and it is decided that what he has proposed shall be executed. Or now several members of the assembly rise at the same time and propose different things, and each of them, for private reasons, supports his own proposal.
It may happen that these differences of opinion, and the passion which each of the orators brings into the debate, will provoke a quarrel, even a violent quarrel in the assembly. Fellow-members may even come to blows.
It also happens that some members of the assembly leave it of their own accord; others are gradually pushed out, and others again are expelled by force, by their colleagues. All of this time newcomers introduce themselves into the assembly, either by gently sliding in or by forcing the doors.
Again, one notes that certain members of the assembly are slowly perishing; their voices become feeble, and finally they are no longer heard. Others, on the contrary, who were weak and timid, become stronger and bolder; they become violent, shouting their proposals; they terrify their colleagues, and dominate them, and end by making themselves dictators.
The members of this assembly are the physical and mental elements which constitute the 'person'; they are our instincts, our tendencies, our ideas, our beliefs, our desires, etc. Through the causes which engendered it, each of them is the descendant and heir of many lines of causes, of many series of phenomena, going far back into the past, and whose traces are lost in the shadowy depths of eternity. (David-Neel, 1978, p. 130-131).
Thich Nhat Hanh, one of the most well known Buddhist teachers of our time, talks about becoming aware of our feelings such as anger or hurt and imaging ourselves holding them and looking upon these feelings with mindfulness and compassion (Thich Nhat Hanh, 1991). He teaches that through this mindfulness these mental formations can be transformed and brought in balance. He stresses, however that this is different from allowing ourselves to be taken over by these feelings, which could create imbalance. The effect of this approach is very similar to Schwartz's method of separating from parts of us that are experiencing intense feelings so that we can see them from the Self, an observing place of compassion and understanding.
have observed that the spiritual life of the IFS clients often takes on a much more direct and living presence in their lives. Perhaps this occurs because the therapeutic methods developed by Schwartz are so accommodating to and responsive to the client's inner world that they would deepen whatever perspective the person brings, spiritual or humanistic. Another possibility is that the spiritual emerges as important because the internal systems view of the world is very similar to ancient religious views of the world and these frameworks promote the activation of a spiritual life. Recently "Margo", a client of a colleague, was referred to talk with me about her experiences with IFS therapy. She had been strongly affected by her work with the IFS model and as a person with a Ph.D. in the biological sciences she wanted to discuss the process in order to gain an intellectual understanding of her experience. I asked her what the effect of IFS had been on her spiritual life. Upon reflecting, she reported that prior to the IFS work, religion and spirituality were not something she had much interest in at all. After doing the IFS inner work, she said her way of seeing the world had changed and spirituality and myth had become a very important way for her to understand the world around her. Her experience seems to support the notion that somehow the IFS work does activate the spiritual dimensions of peoples' lives..