Reading Journey 3: The Boys by Katie Hafner

Hello, fellow bookworm! Today I'm going to share with you updates on the book that I am reading, The Boys by Katie Hafner.  It's about an introverted man Ethan who fell in love with Barb, an extroverted woman. They thought that they complemented each other but it turns out their differences drove them apart.  In the beginning, Ethan left the most impression on me because of his introvertedness to which I could relate. His sad childhood made me identify with him more. When he met Barb, it's so nice seeing he's opening up to new experiences. Barb was his total opposite. She loved to explore the world.  They got married, went to an amazing escapade in Italy, but when they fostered twin boys, their relationship became wobbly. It was aggravated by the pandemic when people globally literally stayed and worked from home. This part made the story realistic as I also experienced staying at home, social distancing, and the wearing of the mask and plastic face shield.  The strain

Book Review: Introduction to Internal Family Systems by Dr. Richard Schwartz


Do you feel like a bird with clipped wings, unable to fly to new heights? You tried to change your ways to make your life better but you snap back to old ways?

Change Is Not Easy

Change is not easy and the ugly part of it is you feel like you are the only one in the whole world that can't change. You think that your family or friends who are doing well in life figure it out and you don't. Feeling left out can be heartbreaking.

Dr. Richard Schwartz's book, Introduction to Internal Family System shows us why change is difficult and what to do to make change possible and sustainable.

Dr. Schwartz Experienced  Difficulty With His Clients

In the early  1980s when Dr. Schwartz was a family therapist who strongly believed that family therapy can help people change by changing their relationships with other family members. However, over time, he found his clients having a hard time making progress. He was frustrated when he couldn't figure out what stops them from moving forward. With a sense of exasperation,  he started asking about the thoughts and emotions that were keeping them stuck.

Dealing With Stubborn Old Patterns Led to the Creation of the Internal Family System

Dr. Schwartz's clients began to talk about the different parts of themselves posing like individual beings or subpersonalities. For example, one part is scared of trying a new routine, another part is an inner critic that hurls negative, hurtful comments, and another part is altogether hopeless and doubtful that change could happen. Our inner lives have an overpowering influence on our actions. Dr. Schwartz realized that for change to happen, we have to understand and work with these inner parts.

Following this discovery, Dr. Schwartz developed the Internal Family System.  This model propounds that each of us has a "Self" which is the core of our nature that embodies the 8 C's: compassion, curiosity, clarity, creativity, calm, confidence, courage, and connectedness. When we are not in alignment with our "Self", the "parts" such as the exiles, managers, and firefighters rise up and cause us to be judgmental, angry, sad, discontent, or be affected by other several negative thoughts and emotions. These parts may have emerged as a coping mechanism in response to traumatic or challenging experiences in our past.

Change Is Challenging But It's Possible and Sustainable With IFS

Since the creation of the IFS model, hundreds of people learn how to handle difficulties without being so harsh or strict with themselves.  In the book, Dr. Schwartz shares stories of people who experienced different challenges in life but were able to help themselves by acknowledging the parts of themselves and accepting that they are not completely bad. These parts need attention, understanding, and guidance from the "Self".

The inner voices, automatic reactions, and troubling thoughts are not expunged from the mind. They are recognized and subjected to the curious inquiry without judgment. After having a dialogue with the part, it becomes lighter and more supportive and the sense of worthlessness is unloaded. The part seems to disperse and rejoins the "Self".

Significant Points
  • Dr. Richard Schwartz does a fantastic job of breaking down the basics of the IFS model. He explains how we all have different "parts" or subpersonalities that make up our inner landscape and how these parts can often conflict with one another, leading to feelings of anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues.
  • Every thought or feeling is a part and each takes different roles: the manager, the protector, and the exile.
  • The one idea that has the most significant impact on me is having a relationship with my thoughts and emotions. I never knew that this kind of relationship exists. I just know that I have ideas and that I am thinking about them and I have emotions and I am feeling them. I also thought that negative thoughts and emotions are not meant to be given attention because they are bad. IFS posits that every thought brings a story that needs to unfold and be understood, that's why one of the characteristics of the core of our nature is curiosity.
  • Another thing that blows my mind is the idea that how we treat our thoughts is also how we treat other people. When we shun negative thoughts, we also do that with people whom we think have the same characteristics. This affects our relationships with other people.
  • Every thought and emotion needs to be acknowledged as bearers of lessons that need to be learned. They, including negative emotions, should not be shoved deep into our minds because they would find ways to get our attention like physical and mental challenges.
  • Dr. Schwartz uses real-life examples to make the material relatable and easy to understand. Plus, he gives practical exercises that are doable and one can begin exploring their own internal landscape and start the process of self-discovery.

I love Introduction to Internal Family Systems by Richard Schwartz. This book is a fantastic resource and written in a way that's easy to understand, making it perfect for professionals and regular people like me.

Introduction to Internal Family Systems is a must-read for anyone looking to understand the IFS model.

Thank you, Dr. Richard Schwartz, Sounds True Publishing, and NetGalley for the opportunity to read the book. I understand that providing this feedback is a choice I am making voluntarily.


"We have ongoing, complex relationships with many different inner voices, thought patterns, and emotions that are similar to relationships we have with other people. What we call 'thinking' is often our inner dialogues with different parts of us."

"Now a quick reminder is all the part needs to feel safe and secure."

" your inner antagonists become your allies. Perhaps this is what Jesus meant when he said, 'Love your enemies' (Matthew 5: 44)."

Book Information:

Introduction to Internal Family Systems by Richard Schwartz
Published on March 7, 2023, Sounds True (March 7, 2023) e-book

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