Welcome back to the Therapy Spot, everyone! Spring has come to the northern hemisphere and I’m excited to bring you a new episode of my podcast. In the spirit of new beginnings, my guest this month is Tammy Sollenberger. Tammy has just launched her new podcast, titled “The One Inside: An Internal Family Systems Podcast for Anyone Looking to Find Balance and Harmony.” She has a background in cognitive and dialectical behavioral therapy (CBT and DBT), and is trained and certified in the IFS model. Today on the show, we’ll discuss her journey into IFS, and her podcast goals.
It All Began With Curiosity…
Long time listeners of my podcast know that according to the Internal Family Systems model, we all have parts, as well as a core Self. According to Richard Schwartz, the founder of IFS, there are 8 Self qualities:
The quality that drew Tammy into the world of IFS was curiosity. She began to wonder what might happen if she extended curiosity towards her thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. What could she learn about herself? Soon, she attended an IFS retreat in Cape Cod and got in touch with parts of herself that she had not had access to for years. Though she had an intense emotional response to this work, afterwards, she felt a sense of deep peace. “Afterwards, I felt lighter, more connected inside. And that was it,” she says. “I was sold!”
…And Led to Greater Connection!
Tammy began her podcast as a way to bring the ideas behind IFS — as well as that wonderful sensation of peace! — to as many people as possible. She wants to help her listeners understand the tug of war within their minds, and heal the parts that hold their pain. Ultimately, she wants to bring IFS beyond the world of therapy, and into people’s daily lives.
Sound familiar? In the 3 years since I began this podcast, I’ve heard more and more people using the language of IFS, and not just in therapy sessions! As simple as it sounds, for many of us, the realization that we all have parts can give so much relief. When you feel pulled between two parts — say, one who wants to stay in bed, and another who wants to go for a run — your first instinct might be to freeze up. But with IFS, you can begin to recognize how those parts sound in your internal monologue.
For Tammy, she personally knows many smart, amazing women who are mothers and podcast listeners — just like her. Although her podcast is for everyone (just like IFS is for everyone!), she hopes it will provide an entry point for those women. After all, when we understand ourselves better on the inside, we relate to our loved ones better on the outside.
“What I love about IFS is that it’s not just therapists. There are practitioners of the model who are in business, they’re coaches, they’re artists, teachers. It’s amazing.”
A Closer Look at the One Inside
During our conversation, Tammy shared so many beautiful, heartfelt stories of her IFS journey. In particular, I enjoyed hearing about her 3 parts that make an appearance on her podcast art!
From a young, fun-loving girl on rollerskates, to an older part with a deep feeling of hurt, to a no-nonsense manager part (that’s the one with the clipboard!), they are all a part of her. Be sure to listen in as she shares when she checks in with each other those parts, and how she has helped each one to feel like a part of her internal family system.
Of course, we can’t forget the fourth figure in the picture — the core Self. Is the sun shining where you are? The next time you’re outside on a sunny day, close your eyes and turn your face towards the sun. “When I think about Self I imagine the sun. I imagine God loving and bringing light to each of my parts… like they are lifting their face to the sun.”
An IFS Journey
Are you new to IFS? Welcome! My books are a wonderful place to start your own IFS journey. You can also subscribe to my podcast via iTunes, or your podcast app of choice, to hear past episodes on:
…and so, so much more.
Tammy, I cannot thank you enough for coming onto the Therapy Spot this month. For my listeners who want to hear more from Tammy, I hope you’ll go listen to her show! You can find her on Instagram, join her Facebook group, and of course listen to her first episode right here.