Embracing Authenticity: Being a Black Woman in an IFS Level III Training

As I stepped into the realm of an Internal Family Systems (IFS) Level III training, I embarked on a journey that would both challenge and empower me as a Black woman within a predominantly white space.

As I stepped into the realm of an Internal Family Systems (IFS) Level III training, I embarked on a journey that would both challenge and empower me as a Black woman within a predominantly white space. The overarching theme of whiteness that loomed large served as a backdrop to my continued exploration of this transformative therapeutic model.

Unapologetic Authenticity

Amidst the role plays and discussions, I grappled with the question: Can I truly be myself, unapologetically black, even if it means deviating from the Euro-centric IFS model? The answer emerged as a resounding “yes.” In a space where my experiences, values, and culture differed, I found strength in asserting my authentic self, challenging the limitations of a one-size-fits-all approach.

From Vulnerability to Courage

My vulnerability, which can often be misunderstood as weakness, transformed into a remarkable act of courage during the training. As I navigated discussions and shared my perspectives, I realized that my voice, infused with lived experiences, was invaluable. The vulnerability I exhibited became a beacon for others who sought the same liberation of expression.

Disconnection and Numbness

Delving into the realm of parts work revealed a fascinating dance between protection and vulnerability. I learned that parts, attempting to shield me from pain, often create disconnection and numbness. By embracing these parts, acknowledging their intentions, and seeking to understand their protective roles, I embarked on a path of reintegration, self-discovery, and emotional connection.

Seeking Commonality

In a sea of unfamiliar faces, spotting fellow people of color brought a sense of relief and connection. The shared understanding and experiences forged a bond that transcended race, grounding us in the common threads of our stories. The hope of being paired with them in role plays held the promise of mutual insight and resonance. It also allowed for the opportunity for me to say, “I see you,” which is a phrase I often use to let individuals know they are honored and admired.

Pursuing Certification and Institutional Change

As I have often contemplated certification within the IFS Institute, I acknowledge the distance the institution still needs to traverse to become fully inclusive. Yet, in the midst of these realizations, I rested assured in the knowledge that my journey as an IFS client for five years has prepared me to hold space for others. The authenticity I embodied as a recipient of the model’s transformative powers has been my most potent tool.

Embodying Healing

The essence of my journey resides in the mystical and healing powers of IFS. As a Black woman, I realized that my authenticity, my refusal to conform to a mold that doesn’t honor my individuality, has been a gift. Embodying the model as a recipient of its wisdom has allowed me to authentically support clients towards a wise and majestic self.

In conclusion, my experience as a Black woman in an IFS Level III training has illuminated the significance of embracing authenticity, even in spaces dominated by whiteness. My vulnerability has been transformed into courage, my cultural perspective has enriched discussions, and my authenticity has emerged as a beacon of hope for those who have resonated with my journey. As I navigate my path, I rest assured that my lived experience remains the most profound gift I can offer those seeking healing through the transformative power of Internal Family Systems.

With gratitude,


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