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Self-Therapy: A Step-By-Step Guide to Creating Wholeness and Healing Your Inner Child Using IFS, A New, Cutting-Edge Psychotherapy, 2nd Edition Paperback – January 27, 2012

4.7 out of 5 stars 1,135 ratings

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Editorial Reviews

From the Author

Is It Truly Possible To Resolve Psychological Issues Through a Self-Help Book?

Have you ever been in a positive mood only to have something seemingly very small happen, perhaps someone made a casual off-handed criticism of you, but for some weird reason you felt immediately deflated, and found yourself feeling almost like a child again, small, afraid, and helpless?

Have you ever lost your temper with someone you really care about, maybe even someone you love very much, but suddenly you found yourself saying things and acting in ways that were not the way you really feel about that person, and later you regretted your actions deeply?

Have you ever really wanted to find the motivation to do something in your life, like start a new diet plan for example, but despite all your best efforts, you felt as if something was sabotaging you, and maybe you even found yourself standing in front of an open refrigerator at midnight, staring longingly at the rest of that chocolate cake?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, there is nothing to worry about, and you are certainly not alone.

In fact, from the viewpoint of "Internal Family Systems" (IFS), you are perfectly normal.

The problem in each of these situations is simply a part (or parts) that is over-reacting. In the first case, there is a part that is holding you back that you're not aware of. In the second, there is a part that exploded in anger.

Most of us prefer to think of ourselves as one, unitary, sensible personality. But human beings are not as simple and straightforward as we may like to think.

In reality, we are complex systems of interacting parts, each with a variety of emotions and motivations.

IFS has a sophisticated way of working with your "parts," which are natural divisions in the psyche, sometimes called subpersonalities. This approach has been rapidly spreading across the entire country for the past decade and is being applauded by patients and therapists for its incredible effectiveness.

You can think of these parts as little people inside of you. Each with their own perspectives, beliefs, feelings, memories, and motivations.

Some of your parts are in pain. Some of your parts want to protect you from pain. Some of your parts try to manage how you interact with others. Some of your parts are even locked in battles with each other that have been going on for years.

And most of the time, all of this is completely outside our awareness.

All we know is that sometimes we feel great, sometimes we feel nervous, sometimes we feel frustrated, confused, angry, and so on. And if we are honest with ourselves, we don't really understand why.
Your True Self, The Source of All Healing

Unfortunately many people spend their whole lives thinking that this surface dance of emotional states is all there is to life. However, underlying this cast of characters, and within every human being is the true Self that is wise, calm, open and loving.

IFS is specifically designed to help you access this Self. Once you are in touch with your Self, from this incredible place of strength and love, you can connect with your troubled parts and heal them.

It's through the Self that you can heal your own wounds and watch as all of your parts reclaim and reveal their natural strength and goodness.

What Makes IFS So Powerful?

Internal Family Systems is more powerful than other therapeutic approaches for three main reasons:
  1. The Self. Healing comes from your true Self, and IFS has innovative ways of helping to access your Self and remain there during a session.
  2. Internal Love. IFS has discovered that all your parts are doing their best to help and protect you. This means that you don't have to fight them or try to get rid of them. You can connect with them from the compassion of Self and develop cooperative, trusting relationships with them. This makes transformation much easier.
  3. A Step-by-Step Procedure. IFS understands the complex structure of the psyche and has developed a sophisticated procedure for healing each of your parts. There is no guesswork. You don't wallow around for years in your childhood. IFS has laser-like precision and efficiency.
Self-Therapy: A Complete Guide To Psychological HealingTherapy does not have to be difficult, time-consuming or expensive.

Relief from chronic, painful, life-long emotional issues, such as depression and anxiety, is possible and can be entirely in your control.

You simply need an effective framework for understanding and communicating with the various parts of yourself, along with a step-by-step process for transforming these parts into healthy resources.

This is the promise of Self-Therapy, a clear guide by Dr. Jay Earley that explains exactly how to you can heal deep wounds, resolve stuck places, and restore wholeness, strength, self-confidence, and joy to your life.

What Makes Self-Therapy So Effective?

1. It is based on Internal Family Systems, a full-fledged form of therapy.
IFS is actually much much more than another therapeutic technique.
In actuality it is both a revolutionary way of understanding the human psyche and a complete practice for learning to love yourself and others.
Self-Therapy teaches you to engage in IFS sessions on your own or with a partner. You learn a complete method of therapy, designed from years of clinical work with a wide variety of individuals and a wide range of psychological challenges.

2. IFS is a user-friendly form of therapy.
The IFS model taught in Self-Therapy is not only effective but also extraordinarily user friendly.
It is natural to visualize your parts, give them names, and talk to them. It brings your psyche alive in a way that is easy to grasp.

3. IFS is based on the Self, so it can be used without a therapist.
In IFS it is not the therapist or any outside force that "fixes" you.
In IFS the source of healing is You; the source of healing is your true Self.
Your true Self is who you really are in the deepest sense.
Your true Self is compassionate, openly curious, connected, and calm.
Even when working with a therapist or another IFS practitioner, it is always your true Self that is the agent of healing in the IFS approach.
As you introduce your suffering parts to the Self, they each develop a trusting and healing relationship with the Self.
Through this, an unstoppable momentum of transformation unfolds.

4. Self-Therapy brings IFS to life.

It contains transcripts of actual sessions and illustrations that bring parts vividly to life. It also has help sheets that outline the IFS process which you can use during sessions to know what to do next. And there are exercises that can be be applied directly from the book in your life.

Can Self-Therapy Help Me With My Issue?

Internal Family Systems can help with both mental health symptoms and a wide variety of complex life issues, such as:
  • Self-Esteem
  • Depression
  • Loneliness
  • Relationship Problems
  • Passive-Aggressive Behavior
  • Procrastination
  • Communication Issues
  • People Pleasing
  • Eating Issues
  • Perfectionism
  • Inner Critic
  • Fear and anxiety
  • Shyness
  • Phobias
  • Feelings of inner conflict
  • Insecurity on the job
A Must Read For Therapist And Client Alike
With Self-Therapy, Dr. Jay Earley makes the power of IFS accessible to everyone by teaching it as a complete method for psychological healing that anyone can use on their own.

And Self-Therapy is also the book of choice for therapists wanting to learn Internal Family Systems Therapy.

Therapists and existing IFS practitioners will appreciate this clear map of the IFS model, which includes transcripts from actual therapy sessions, illustrations that explain complex and subtle dynamics in the psyche, and detailed tips on how to proceed in various circumstances that may come up during a session.

Self-Therapy constitutes a complete manual for the IFS procedure.

Self-Therapy is simply an absolute must read for every therapist seeking to move their clients beyond tolerable recovery to a deeper, more complete process of healing.

From the Inside Flap

Jay has the gift of both insight and teaching--and he uses both in his new book. He allows us access to the many layers of our selves and helps us to understand, work with and ultimately feel harmonious with behaviors that have baffled us. Self-therapy is a wonderful cogent guide written by a wonderful cogent teacher.
-- Geneen Roth, author of
When Food is Love and Women Food and God
The fact that Jay Earley wrote this book is high praise for the IFS model because he was an accomplished writer and thinker, steeped in systems thinking, long before encountering IFS. Jay's passion has been to introduce IFS to a lay audience in such a way that people can work with their parts on their own--without the need for a therapist. Through Jay's user-friendly description of IFS, you will begin to change how you do "self talk," or internal dialogue. Through well-described experiential exercises and examples of actual IFS sessions, you will be able to enter your inner world in such a way that your extreme parts begin to heal. Rather than just coping with them, you welcome them and transform them into valuable resources.
-- Richard Schwartz, PhD, creator of IFS, from the foreword
Enormously hopeful and empowering, this book illuminates the process of Internal
Family Systems (IFS) as a method of self-therapy that centers on the revolutionary
principle that all of us have a Self. Presenting a view of the human psyche with
this calm, compassionate, curious Self at the center, Jay Earley takes the reader
step-by-step through a method of self-exploration which views overwhelming
emotion and dysfunctional behavior as stemming from parts that are doing their
best to help the person survive. Earley's writing is beautifully organized and clear,
as compassionate and respectful as the process he is teaching, and the reader is
supported and encouraged at every step. Anyone wishing to live a fuller, richer,
more meaningful life, or help others do so, needs to read this book.
-- Ann Weiser Cornell, PhD, author of
The Power of Focusing and The Radical
Acceptance of Everything
The non-pathologizing and empowering aspects of the IFS Model find their
ultimate expression in Dr. Earley's book,
Self-Therapy. Exercises, illustrations, and
session transcripts supplement this detailed approach for individuals to safely
work alone or with a peer to transform their inner worlds dominated by outmoded
beliefs to lives filled with love, compassion, and connection. Therapists, too, will
appreciate this clear map of the inner territory of the psyche and will find this book
a valuable and accessible resource for their clients.
-- Susan McConnell, senior IFS trainer
                   Self-Therapy is an invaluable resource, an absolute must for all therapists who want
to move their clients beyond tolerable recovery to a more thorough process of
healing. It is a gift to those of us who want to offer a gentle excavation of wounds
resulting in a beautiful new landscape.
-- Cheryl Ades, LCSW, Louisville, KY

Jay presents an exceptionally clear explanation of the IFS model. He provides
"user friendly" directions on how therapists and clients can use the process. I can
apply it directly from this book.
-- Kevin J Miller, PhD, Florham Park, NJ

Jay has a very thorough understanding of IFS and an uncanny ability to break it
down into small enough chunks to make it accessible to novices while still making
it stimulating for experienced IFS practitioners. Self-Therapy demystifies therapy
and empowers people to work on themselves to expand and heal their lives.
-- Kira Freed, M.A., LPC, CLC, Tucson, AZ

The inside of the psyche is so hard to describe, and Jay does a great job of making it
accessible. The illustrations really helped me to get a visual notion of the concepts.
Self-Therapy describes each idea in many different ways, so that something sticks
for each person. It really adds to the professional IFS literature.
-- Kathy Grace, M.A., LPC, Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Pattern System Books; 2nd ed. edition (January 27, 2012)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 338 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0984392777
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0984392773
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 1.1 pounds
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 6 x 0.85 x 9 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.7 out of 5 stars 1,135 ratings

About the author

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Jay Earley, Ph.D., is a transformational psychologist, psychotherapist, group leader, author, teacher, and theorist.

He is a big-picture thinker and innovative psychological theorist. He studies psychotherapy in a comprehensive way to arrive at a depth understanding of the human psyche and the process of transformation. Jay is known the clarity of his teaching and writing, his creative methods of demonstrating complex ideas, and his detailed description of therapeutic technique. In his therapy work, people rely on Jay's compassionate heart and sensitivity to group process. He has a deep understanding of the nature of therapeutic change and knows how to effect profound inner healing.

Jay is the creator of Self-Therapy Journey, which is the first of its kind, a general purpose web program for psychological healing and personal growth, based on IFS and the Pattern System. See

Jay focuses on Internal Family Systems Therapy in all aspects of his work. See He is active in the IFS community, helping to train therapists and presenting workshops every year at the IFS conference. He teaches IFS to the general public as a practice for self-help and peer counseling. He also teaches a variety of classes and workshops applying IFS to specific psychological issues such as procrastination, communication, relationships, and the inner critic.

Jay is the author of Self-Therapy: A Step-by-Step Guide to Inner Wholeness Using IFS. Click to listen to a Psychology Book Club podcast discussing Self-Therapy. Click to watch an interview of Jay by Tami Simon of Sounds True about IFS.

Four of Jay's books have been published in Korean and one in German.

Jay has published a series of professional books on IFS, including Resolving Inner Conflict, Working with Anger in IFS, and Negotiating for Self-Ledadership. Jay Earley and Bonnie Weiss have published a series of audio products related to IFS, including recorded IFS Courses, IFS Demonstration Sessions, and IFS Guided Meditations. See

Dr. Earley has created the Pattern System, a systematic approach to understanding your personality that can lead directly to psychological healing and personal growth. See He has published an overview book called The Pattern System and a book titled Conflict, Care, and Love that covers some of the important interpersonal dimensions. He has also published a series of books based on specific patterns, including Embracing Intimacy, Taking Action, and Letting Go of Perfectionism.

Jay Earley and Bonnie Weiss have engaged in a multi-year study of the Inner Critic and the best ways to work with this troublesome psychological issue, using IFS and other approaches. This has resulted in two books, Freedom from Your Inner Critic and Activating Your Inner Champion Instead of Your Inner Critic.

Dr. Earley is known for his innovation in the group psychotherapy field. His book, Interactive Group Therapy: Integrating Interpersonal, Action-Oriented, and Psychodynamic Approaches, describes his group therapy method in which people learn interpersonal relationship skills by working directly on their relationships with each other. During his ten years on the east coast, Jay was Director of the Group Therapy Center of Long Island, where he trained group therapists in this method. He now leads interactive therapy groups online.

In Jay's work with people, he is known for his empathy and his ability to understand a person's feelings, issues, and world view without imposing his own personality or agenda. His insight into human motivation and psychological patterns enables him to help people understand both their strengths and how they block themselves from getting what they want.

His work grows out of his own life-long journey of personal growth, his interest in the nature of human consciousness, and his success in creating a passionate and satisfying life for himself. He has a loving, successful 25 year marriage and professional partnership with Bonnie Weiss. He was a long-time student of the Diamond Approach of A. H. Almaas, a spiritual path that integrates psychotherapy insights and techniques with wisdom traditions in a unique Western approach to spiritual realization.

Jay has a Ph.D. in psychology from Saybrook University and is a licensed psychologist in California (PSY6973). He has been in private practice as a psychotherapist since 1973.

As a result of his research on human social evolution and its relationship to our current global predicament, Jay has published a number of articles plus the book, Transforming Human Culture: Social Evolution and the Planetary Crisis, SUNY Press.

During the 1980′s, Jay studied with both Jean Houston and Joanna Macy. He was active in the peace movement as a member of Interhelp and Psychotherapists for Social Responsibility, where he led workshops which integrated psychological, spiritual, and planetary concerns. Out of this work came his book, Inner Journeys: A Guide to Personal and Social Transformation based on the Work of Jean Houston, published by Samuel Weiser, Inc.

Jay also has a Ph.D. in computer science from Carnegie-Mellon University and was formerly on the U.C. Berkeley faculty, where he published 12 computer science papers, one of which was voted one of the best 25 papers of the quarter century by the Communications of the A.C.M.

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