You may be wondering what does Self Grounded Therapy means and why choose this therapist over another. Let me give you some understanding on where the name Self Grounded Therapy came from, what it means to me and how you can benefit from this type of therapy. This all came about from my work with Internal Family Systems (IFS). Have you ever said there’s a part of me that wants this and another part that wants that? Have you ever found yourself wondering who you really are and how to get back to who you used to know yourself to be? These questions point to what IFS helps us know, that we all have parts of ourselves and that we all have a Self. SELF with a capital S is the core of who we truly are. When we are living a Self-Led life, we experience creativity, curiosity, openness, courage, and know we have the capacity to live a full life even when presented with challenges. Self Ground Therapy is designed to work with all parts and uncover Self. When Self is felt over and over again it becomes easier to lead a Self-Led life, be Ground in your true authentic Self. It is my goal to guide you into your inner world to discover your SELF. This is how we Cultivate Inner Strength and move from surviving to THRIVING.
Here’s a bit more about how I created the name Self Grounded Therapy and how IFS works. Often, we operate out of part of our self, possibly believing that part is who we really are. But I promise you your Self does not want you to die, does not want you to overeat, does not want you to be anxious, or anything other than feeling courageous, compassionate, connected, creative, clear, confident, calm, or curious. And you can experience these qualities towards ALL parts of yourself. This is why IFS is AMANZING. You learn to cultivate Self energy towards all parts of yourself, even the parts that you never thought you could ever like. The part of you that tells you suicide is the best option, that tells you your existence is a burden and no one loves you, that you are fundamentally flawed. (The goal is not to make parts go away and only feel Self. Rather, the goal is to value all parts, connect with them from Self and allow them to transform into a different role in your life. We all need parts every day to operate, we can’t live without them).
I fully believe in this because I have experienced and continue to experience Self energy towards parts of myself that I once thought were evil parts and trying to end my life. Yes, I have been in a place where I thought about suicide every day. Living from the part of me that was wishing for death was exhausting, depleting, and terrible. I hated almost every moment of my life then and was certain that death was the best option. However, I did not act on the thoughts and I continue to live.
Though I not only live, often I find myself in moments of thriving and loving life. Now you may be wondering how is that possible. How did you go from wanting to die all the time to loving life? There were many things that helped me get to loving life and I want to highlight a few of them. Also, I want you to know that when I say I love life that is not a constant state, there of course are still times when I struggle, feel overwhelmed and exhausted. Yet, what is different now is my ability to be with my parts from Self (even just a drop of Self can help ease the struggle).
Overcoming Suicidal desires/thoughts
Okay, so how did I overcome the urges and desires to die everyday? Well first, I talked about where I was at with supportive friends and my therapist. I invited them into my space of struggle and did my best to let even a drop of their care into myself (though that was NOT easy). Then I discovered that each suicidal thought, the actual way I was thinking about killing myself, meant something and had a message for me. I spent hours talking to friends about what these images meant to me and what they meant in our larger society. From there I was able to recognize that I thought about different methods of suicide based on what I was actually NEEDING. My suicidal parts were working really hard to protect me from deeper pain and they were screaming at me to try and get my attention. Knowing my parts were screaming at me with suicidal thoughts something shifted internally. I was able to recognize how I was thinking about killing myself was showing me what I needed for self-care. This was a game changer for me, and I wrote each one down in my safety plan. I made sure I could easily access my safety plan (I put it in electronic form so I could pull it up on my phone whenever I needed. I drew it out in my sketch book, I gave it to my therapist).
I am going to give a couple of examples of ways in which I thought about suicide, what the message was and what self-care came out of that. If you find yourself thinking about suicide and wanting to act on the thoughts, please call the Colorado Crisis line at 844-493-8255. And if what I write resonates with the type of suicidal thoughts you are having try the self-care and see if that works for you.
Suicidal Images transformed into Self-Care
I thought about taking all the pills I could possibly find in hopes that I would just go to sleep and never wake up again. When I played with this image, I realized it came up when I was exhausted, usually emotionally but sometimes physically. This thought was all about wanting to rest and not have to fight anymore. This is when I realized that when this thought comes up, I need to rest. Maybe by taking a nap if possible, or slowing down and breathing, maybe laying on the ground under a tree and staring at the clouds. Anything that allowed me to slow down.
Another thought has been to use a knife on my arm. This one is more violent and came with images of blood. It made me start thinking about what is needed in the images of blood spilling from my arm. When this thought came up, I often felt very pressured and toxic inside. It was like my emotions or situations were making my insides dark and terrible. I needed those toxic feelings to get out of my body. This is when I realized what I was really needing was a way to get that feeling out in some way, so I would do something that moved the feelings in my body; like swimming, hiking, walking, allowing my blood to flow through my body. I also used drawing out my emotions as expression of those terrible feelings. And if I could cry that helped get toxins out as well.
The last one I want to share with you is taking pills and drinking alcohol. This one has more of a cultural meaning than my other thoughts. The alcohol in particular tends to be something that we as a society do in social settings. There’s something about connecting with others when drinking. As I don’t drink a lot, I do find myself to have a glass of wine more often if I’m with a friend. Therefore, this message was telling me that I was needing connection with someone. The pills still mean I’m exhausted. The self-care would be do talk with a friend that tends to restore me. I know who those friends are and wrote who to call when I felt this way.
The Impact of IFS
I went through each suicidal thought, uncovered the message from it and turned in into a self-care activity. (This is what my group Exploring the Depths of Suicidal Ideation through Images: Living to Tell Your Story is about). I did all this before l really knew what IFS was. Once I found IFS and began IFS therapy my ability to be with my suicidal parts (yes, I have several parts that hold suicidal thoughts or urges) in a very different way.
You see in IFS we have many parts and parts interact with one another. In IFS the goal is to work from Self to part. To do that we have to name parts that are interfering, or hiding Self, to step back and allow Self to show through. What I came to feel is when Self is present I look at a part of myself (for me that shows up looking like a human/monster/being) and feel this warmth, care and deep respect for that part of myself. It was not something that was forced to happen, I just started feeling it after asking parts to step back. This was essential for me because it allowed me to acknowledge, accept, and embrace the suicidal parts of myself. I have one who is a male and one who is a female. When I look at the male now (I have done a lot of work with him) my heart swells and I have such compassion for him. He has been working so hard to protect me from a deep internal pain. He has been doing what he knows how to do. He holds so much energy and deep care of my other parts. It was hard to recognize how awesome he was at first because he came out strong with words like “kill that part, kill all the parts” “I can fix it all if you die.” Those are not pleasant thoughts to have, however, I came to understand that what he really wants is my Self and parts to not have to be hurt again. Through boundary work with him and attuning to him before he is screaming to kill the suicidal urges were much smaller. I’d go days, weeks, without a single suicidal urge. Then every now and then something would trigger him, and I’d feel a suicidal urge. However, knowing that he brings up suicidal urges I turned towards him and asked him what was going on. All he needed was my attention. Now we have a great relationship, I know him well and he trusts me. He trusts me so much that he transformed in appearance and began to take care of other parts rather than trying to kill them. This is what IFS does, it changes the way I relate to parts of myself and allows parts to change the way they have been functioning.
So when I say Self Grounded Therapy what I mean is you can find your Self energy. You can become grounded in that energy as you work with all parts of yourself. From the work of building relationship with all parts of yourself from Self your life WILL be different. You will feel different. Shifts will naturally occur. And the more you attune to your parts from Self energy the more you build trust and your parts will allow Self to be more present. It’s almost like magic but it’s not magic it’s scientific. IFS rewires your brain and works at deep neurological spaces to change the responses you experience in your life. It was a live saver for me and it can be for you too. To experience this for yourself call me now for a Free consultation or to schedule an appointment at 720-443-1406.