From ABC, this is the 10 percent happier podcast.
I'm Dan Harris. How do you relate to the more difficult and even ugly aspects of your personality? How do you feel about yourself when you are, say, in a judgmental or vengeful or jealous mode?
Is that an opportunity for self laceration? My guest today agrees with me that one of the healthiest possible inner moves is to learn how to hug your dragons instead of attempting to slay them, which is only likely to make them stronger.
Dr. Richard Schwartz is a psychotherapist with a Ph.D. in marriage and family therapy. He founded something called the Internal Family Systems Model of therapy, often referred to as IFES. His basic idea is that our consciousness is broken down into several parts or personalities. These parts, and that's the term he uses a lot, as you'll hear, can become rebellious and troublesome when they are unattended to in this conversation.
Richard and I talk about how to relate to your parts more successfully talk about the overlap between IFES and Buddhism and why meditation is not enough in his view. We also attempt to dive in and do some IFES therapy work together, which is actually pretty dramatic. The way he practices this, I'm not sure I was a particularly good patient for lots of idiosyncratic reasons, but I did attempt to play along, as you will here. You can judge for yourself.
So here we go now with Dr. Richard Schwartz. Dick Schwartz, nice to meet you. You, too, Dan, so say it's I feel honored to be invited to be with you. Well, I'm honored that you agreed.
I'm so curious. Can you give a brief description of what ifs is for the uninitiated and by the way, I would put myself in that category.
So I first started and still is a form of psychotherapy. That's my background. I have a Ph.D. in marital and family therapy. And so I'm steeped in what's called systems thinking, and I was back in the early 1980s, actually, I was a recent graduate and was a big zealot about family therapy is the absolute holy grail. And decided to prove that by doing an outcome study with bulimia. And we gathered together 30 kids and their families, and I found I could reorganize the families just the way the book said to and it didn't work the way I expected.
So out of frustration, I began asking these patients what was happening inside, why wasn't working. And they started to teach me about what they called their parts, which scared me at first because they were talking about these parts as if they had a lot of autonomy and could take over and make them do things they didn't want to do and so on. At first I thought maybe these clients are sicker than I thought. Maybe they had multiple personality disorder.
By parts you mean aspects of their own personality, voices in their head, neurotic programs that have been running. What do you mean by parts?
I thought that that's what they were. I thought initially they were like the critic was this internalized parental voice that they got from their parents or the the binge was some kind of out of control impulse. So I started to have them relate to these things as if that was the. So I would have my client stand up for themselves with the critic when it starts to attack them or try to control the bench. And they were getting worse. And so that happened until the first flight I was aware of with an extensive sex abuse history who also cut herself on her wrists and insisted on showing me the open wounds, and that was so distressing that I decided we weren't going to let that part leave my office until it had agreed not to do that to her.
And so I had my client badge of the part for a couple of hours and finally said I wouldn't cut her. And then I open the door to the next session, and she had a big gash on the side of her face and I just collapsed emotionally and spontaneously said, we can't beat you with this. And the part started to talk about I didn't really want to beat us. It really just wanted to keep her safe. And that shifted everything because I shifted out of that Commerson place to just being curious and open.
And we began to interview the part about how I was trying to protect her. And so in the process of doing that, I learned that these what I call parts, other systems cause of personalities aren't just bundles of emotion or of programming, but they are actually full range in her personalities. That multiple personality disorder diagnosis show up as that. But it's the nature of the mind to have these parts. So this is a bit of a radical departure from the ordinarily view of the mind as unitary.
Do you have a one mind that has different thoughts and emotions? But if you have inner minds, that means you're crazy or pathological. And I'm here to tell you, after 40 years of doing this, that we all have these parts. And actually that that's a good thing, that it's the nature of the mind to be multiple, that we're born with them either manifest or dormant, and that they all are valuable. There are no bad parts.
But trauma and it would have called attachment injuries have the effect of forcing these parts out of their natural evaluable states into extreme roles that can be destructive. It also frees these parts in time during the trauma. So many of them live as if what happened to you when you were a kid is still happening and they still think you're five years old and that they have to protect you in that same way. All of this that I'm telling you now, I never would have believed had I not learned it from my clients over and over.
Because I, like most people, were schooled in the idea that we just have one mind and I come from a very scientific family, so it's been quite a journey to come to that conclusion. Is there science validating this, is there a scientific consensus that your view of the mind is correct now?
No, there are some scientists who would agree with me. It is a bit of a radical departure from the traditional scientific view of the mind for sure. So the mainstream scientific community or psychological community would still argue that the mind is unitary, that there is kind of one mind, not a bunch of different parts that are competing for salience at any given moment?
Yeah, I would say so. I mean, there are some theorists that would agree with me and people like Carl Jung and some other theorists who are more obscure came to the same conclusion years ago about what I'm calling parts, what young called complexes and archetypes and so on. But it's not a mainstream view by any means.
Let me press on it just for a little bit, just based on my own experience.
You know, I for sure noticed that I have modes that I go into, angry mode, fearful mode. Usually the fear is beneath the anger, sad mode, whatever it is, hustling and trying to be ambitious mode.
And I could see these characters come up in my own mind, but I don't know that I could sit and have you interview one of those characters the way you were doing with your bulimic patient, which sounds a little bit closer to like The Exorcist, where The Exorcist is interviewing the devil or talking to the devil that's taken over the poor young woman's body.
Well, I kind of guarantee that you could you know, if we want to try it, I can show you how it works and that, you know, what you're talking about in terms of mode's is the way most people would think about these things, but most people don't go inside and actually start to dialogue with them. And so I did start by talking directly to these parts, as you suggest. But as a family therapist, I was interested in dialogue.
So I would try to have my clients talk to the critic, for example, rather than me, talk to the critic and try to help them get along better, especially as I learned that these parts, what they see and that they were actually trying to protect. And so if we were to do this, I would have you focus on that critical voice in there and try to get serious about it, which could take some work because most people hate that critique.
But once you got serious about it, I'd have you ask some questions of it and you would get some answers. And as you talk to it, we would learn likely. I don't want to suggest that, but that it was you know, it was afraid that if it didn't push you, if it didn't call you names all the time, that you wouldn't try hard or that you might take risks you thought were not healthy for you, or there's generally some protective role that's trying to play inside of you.
And we would then learn about the fear, as you said. Well, your anger protects fear. Yes. But we would learn about the parts of you it was trying to protect that. We're stuck in bad times in your childhood often. And then we would negotiate permission to go to those. And there's a way to actually feel those parts. So they transform. Because, you know, listening to the podcast with you and you had a panic attack and it sounds like you still have some anxiety in there and meditation can be helpful, but it doesn't quite get that.
But when you say meditation can be helpful, but it doesn't quite get to it. Can you unpack that a little bit?
OK, so to do that, I have to bring forth another concept and I have first. So as I was doing these dialogues, having my client talk to the critic, for example, when I learned the critic was trying to protect, I wanted my client to actually listen rather than attack it. But it was hard because as I was doing it, my client would be quite angry and want to fight with the poor, would be cowed by it and couldn't really talk.
And it reminded me of family sessions where I was trying to have a dialogue between two family members, and as I did that, other family members would jump in and interfere. And we learned as family therapist to stop that process and to have these others give more space for the two to have a dialogue that's protected. And so I started thinking maybe the same thing is happening in the center system. Maybe as I'm trying to have my client talk to the critic, a part who hates the critic has stepped in and is doing the talking.
So I would ask clients, I would say, Diane, would you ask that part was so angry, the critic, to just give us a little space for a few minutes so we can get to know the critic. And most clients would say, OK, it did. And then I would say now, how do you feel toward the critic? It would be an entirely different answer in the direction most of the time of I'm just kind of curious about why it calls me names or even I feel sorry for it than it has to do this all day.
So going so quickly just by getting these to open space from some kind of extreme feeling to this very openness and open heartedness toward the part. And when my client was in that place, the dialogue would go well and the critic would share its secret history of how it got forced into that role and what it protects and how it was still frozen in time. And then we could actually begin some work with it that would lead to a transformation. And what I would do this with the clients in those early days is like the same person would pop out when I got these other parties to open space and that person would be calm, would be confident, would have curiosity, would have compassion, would have creativity relative to the part, would be courageous.
All these see words that, as I proceeded, were just popping out. And so after doing that enough and see it was like the same person popped out in these different clients, I started to wonder if maybe that isn't in everybody. And it turns out that after almost 40 years of doing this, we can safely say that that self for that person, what I came to call the self with a capital S is that everybody can't be damaged and knows how to heal, knows how to relate in a healing way, both internally and externally.
And so that's the big discovery, for lack of a better word of Ifirst.
That's in everybody just beneath the surface of these parts such that when they open space, that person comes out and that person is who we meditate to get to. So the act in mindfulness of separating from your thoughts and emotions.
And watching them like a movie that allows that space to happen, where then yourself is just naturally there. And you start to feel a lot of those qualities. And the only difference the main difference is that rather than just be a passive witness of those emotions and thoughts. You become an active leader, you become an active healer, and in the podcast I listen to, it sounded like you were headed in this direction, that you were coming with more loving feelings and you were hugging your dragons.
And that's what ISIS is about. It's really about not just seeing them as thoughts and emotions, but honoring their personhood for lack of a better word, that they are little inner personalities and that people with that diagnosis of multiple personality disorder are no different from any of us, except their system got thoroughly blown apart by the horrific trauma they suffered chronic trauma so that there's stand out a lot more and are much more polarized and there don't have nearly the same level of access to what I'm calling the cell.
But that's the only difference. You've referenced a few times this interview that I gave to Tim Ferriss on his podcast, The Temple Show for people don't have the time or inclination to go listen to that.
I'll just sum up the relevant portion of that podcast interview where I was talking about the one of the biggest developments in my own meditation career and just life generally has been the increasing what I feel to be at least the increasing capacity to see my parts, different modes of aspects of my personality, the different voices in my head, the different neurotic, habitual programs or scripts that run, you know, the ambitious one, the angry one, the inner critic cetera.
To see all of these, first of all, to see them.
And second, instead of observing them nonjudgmental, which often in my meditation career netted out to be sort of like somewhat aversive, to actually turn on the warmth. And I made a joke. I've been making this joke increasingly that because I'm kind of playing with the terminology that in Western individualistic society, we have this notion of slaying the dragon, but it actually might be more useful. The radical disarmament here might be to hug the dragon and to see, as you've said several times during the course of this brief interview, these parts, these voices, these modes, these characters are trying to help you often on skillfully.
But to fight them or to feed them is usually counterproductive. But there is this other way, which is to invite them into the party, given a hearty had, sit them down, thank them for trying to help you, and then to take a breath and you can make a wiser decision without being owned by either the feeding of these voices or the combat with the voice.
So you've already started doing the first step survive first, which is to actually see them. Although I don't see mine, there's a small percentage of us that don't see anything when we go inside. But most people can see an image of them.
And I can find mine in my body and I can hear its voice and so on. So I have something to relate to. But the first steps are to focus on it, find it in your body, around your body. And then the question, how do you feel toward it? In answering that, you're telling me how much of what I call yourself is present versus parts that are polarized with it, and then we get those to step back.
And I ask again, how do you feel toward it now? And you said, I'm just kind of curious about why it does this. I said, let it now you're curious about it and wait for an answer to come from that place in your body. Don't think of the answer and then people will get an answer. Often that's surprising to them. And then we're kind of off and running, which ultimately we wind up honoring, honoring the part for its service, like you might the military and learning about what it protects.
And in answering that question, then we can really give it a lot of appreciation for trying so hard to keep us safe. And then we begin negotiating with it for permission to go to what it protects, what I call the exile part of you that you left in the dust or tried to a long time ago because it got hurt. And then there's a process of actually going to that exile and helping it out of where it's stuck in the past so it could unload the pain or the fear or whatever what I call burdens that got stuck with back in those days.
So it turns out that because of the traumas we suffered or the attachment injuries Harpaz take on these beliefs and emotions that aren't native to us, they come into our system almost like a virus and attached to the part and then drive the way the part operates thereafter like a virus. And it's possible to unload these extreme beliefs and emotions that came into you from those times. Once we get these parts out of where they're stuck in the past and then they transform into their naturally valuable states and they become, you know, just happy and her children or they become the critic wants to now be to help you with discernment, for example, or the angry one wants to just encourage you to stand up for yourself and so on.
When I use the term see before saying that I could see my inner parts or whatever. I didn't actually mean that literally. I meant more like I was just aware of them. And I think just like you, I can't actually see anything. But I can notice the dialogue. I can notice the tone of voice. I can notice where it shows up in my body. The question is, getting back to the comment you made earlier, that a certain amount of this work, it seems you were saying, can be done on the cushion to use a meditative term of art, but you can't get all the way there just through meditation alone.
Is that an accurate restatement of your view?
And if so, why do you believe that? Well, it's sort of accurate, so not attention when I got out of college, I had a lot of anxiety, partly just because it's a legacy burden if you're Jewish. And and so I signed up for time and I did time for about eight years very regularly. And it was very helpful. It got me separate from those parts. And I could access what I'm calling the stuff that way. And I felt those keywords.
And it could also at times take me to this kind of non dual place that was really blissful. And so it was very useful. In terms of my functioning and my ability to handle the insecurity of being on my own, but it didn't touch those parts that I carried all the worthlessness that I was generating, a lot of the anxiety that didn't touch much of my protectors either because I wasn't going to them. I was actually using the meditation to get away from them what was called a spiritual bypass.
And so many people come to meditation with a lot of trauma and use it to sort of live above all these parts, which again, can be very helpful in terms of navigating life. And I'm a big advocate for meditation, but not to the exclusion of actually going into and healing a bunch of these parts that you don't want to live in the dust. I don't have a beef with transcendental meditation, but it's not my mode of practice, my mode of practice is Buddhist insight, meditation, you know, secular mindfulness with a big, big dose of the Brahma vihara or lovingkindness practices thrown in with that recipe.
Do the job or do you think there's more that needs to be layered on top of it?
Well, it doesn't do the job if you have an attitude about the ego, for example, or about any other part, and too many Buddhists have that, and I'm a kind of crusader for the personhood of the ego and to see it as a protector, not the enemy. I think in the podcast I listen to you. I think you call it something like a malevolent puppet master or something like that. And yes, and that kind of attitude is rife in Buddhism and in meditation in general.
And so how much you can do what we're talking about depends on how you view these emotions and thoughts. And if you view them with an attitude, you're not going to get anywhere. But if instead you see them in the way I'm trying to portray as sort of sacred inner beings who are deserving of your attention and actually your love and who will respond to that in the way external children do if you give it to them. Then yes, then meditation can be a point where you do some of this kind of work.
Yeah, so you'll you may or may not be familiar with this, but you as a public figure, somebody does presentations, you may occasionally find yourself falling into what the Jews call shtick.
And that line that you referenced about the malevolent puppeteer, that has actually been part of my shtick for a long time, which predates the sort of hug the dragon part of my shtick, which is newer and more evolved. And I can see now as I listen to how they would be in contradiction. But I think the more accurate. Description of my current view of the mind would be the a more benevolent view of the parts, including the ones that drive you crazy, they're stuck in the past.
They don't know any better. They don't trust you to lead. They lost trust in you back when you couldn't protect them when you were a kid. And so they're like, what? In family therapy we used to call predefine children.
Children who had to take on parental roles, they weren't equipped and they were sort of stuck in those roles just to say about the self, what I'm hearing from you is that you can think of the parts, aspects of your personality and then beneath them, I believe if you were going to think of this spatially, there is this capital self which when you access that space, you view all of your parts with the aforementioned C words like calm and compassion and curiosity and connectedness.
That sounds right to me, except for I'm bumping up against my Buddhist training. That would argue there is no self that the self is an illusion. How do you square that circle?
My take on that is that what the Buddhists are calling Notthoff is really what I would call no parts. So it's the open stillness, the quality of presence you have when your parts are not driving the bus, when they're all kind of sleeping or, you know, if you remember the movie Inside Out. Mm hmm. So you've got these five characters in there. And who would be there if they all want to see. That would be nice stuff, you know, characters, but that's still you.
If I to say yes, except you're able to get patients to occupy the Capitol itself while awake.
Yeah, that's right. No, I'm saying their parts went to sleep, but then I knew you would be left. Yes. And who is that? Well, they didn't really have stuff in the movie. I hope they do in the sequel. But that's what we're accessing. And there have been articles written about this. How how does the professor's self compare to those self in Buddhism? And a prominent Buddhist scholar said it's really the same. It's just the absence of parts.
So many schools of Buddhism will talk about Buddha nature and that there is that essence in there. And that's what we're accessing.
Yeah, it's funny. Buddhism is often associated with, you know.
Com and bullet proof imperturbability, but actually, as soon as you start getting into these concepts, you're in an argument because the Buddhists really disagree. My understanding is that it's to say no self lacks clarity because it lacks a consonant. The consonant would be the letter T that it should be not self, that if you look at the contents of your own consciousness, it's not that you will see there is no self, although you might be able to see that.
But it's easier to access, not self. Anything that comes up in your mind. You can pretty clearly see if you look for it, that it's not you. I think I've just found that to be a very useful tweak. And then the other thing I'd say is the Tibetan term for enlightenment, as I understand it, roughly translates into a clearing away and a bringing forth. And that's what it sounds like you're doing in IFES.
That's exactly what I'm talking about. Although, again, because of the disparaging of parts, we are clearing away first and bringing forth self. But rather than trying to keep all these thoughts and emotions at very thereafter, we're actually from that place of self going to them and embracing them and bring them back home and helping them trust self to lead both internally and externally in our lives. The analogy in Buddhism might be you become an internal bodhisattva. You are going with love to these parts of you in the same way about asifa goes with love to every external living being.
So the clearing away cannot be done with aggression, the clearing away is done the way you might ask a child to just give you a second. And with love and patience and and the parts respond much better to that than when you try to push them away because they think you don't get how important their protective spiel is. And so they'll fight harder and so people have to work hard to meditate, whereas if you meditate by just going and before you even start to meditate, just asking all your parts to give you some space, and they start to trust that there's value in that, then they just do.
Like, when I meditate, I don't have to struggle. My paths crossed. OK, it's helpful to us to give them 20 minutes and he'll come back to us with a lot more of those words. So let's do that.
It's only when I meditate, I am not asking the parts to give me space. I'm actually saying, come on in. Let me take a look at you. Yeah, initially you're getting some space through your mindfulness practice and then you're saying, OK, let me get to know you come on in. And that's what we do, too. We get the space and then we say, come on in. Let's get to know you. Let's try and help you.
Much more of my conversation with Dr. Richard Schwartz right after this. In 2021, it's finally OK to talk about our mental health, but what is therapy? It's whatever you want it to be. Maybe you're feeling insecure in relationships or at work or not very motivated right now. Whatever you need, it's time to stop being ashamed of normal human struggles and start feeling better because you deserve to be happy. Better Help is customized online therapy that offers video phone and even live chat sessions.
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Listen to Overheard at National Geographic. Wherever you like to listen. You said earlier that there are no bad parts, but if a part of you is getting you to cut your wrists in your face, where's the nugget of goodness there?
OK, so I've worked with many such parts. I specialize in the treatment of of complex PTSD, serious trauma for 20 years, and lots of cutting parts and suicidal parts. And then I also consulted to a facility for sex offenders for seven years and worked with a lot of those parts that did heinous things and parts that have murdered people. And even those parts if approached from this place I'm describing. Of openness and curiosity will reveal their secret history of how they were forced into their roles and how much they hate the roles they got stuck in.
But they feel stuck with those roles. A lot of the perpetrators I worked with, for example, if you go to the part that did the perpetrating. It would show scenes of when, as a child, he was being perpetrated and this part was desperate to protect him and looked around the room and said, who has power in this room? Oh, it's this guy who's hurting me. I'm going to take on his energy to protect the system from him.
And then it gets stuck with this need to attack vulnerability and gets a big thrill out of hurting kids. But that's just a burden that it picked up to try and protect the system, and so the same with cutting parts, if you ask them, what are you afraid will happen if you don't do this? They'll say she'll feel totally bereft or totally alone. And by doing this, the cutting could bring in some hormones that make you high. And cutting is a big distraction.
And cutting sometimes gets attention from people in these parts of different reasons for doing what they do. But it's always protective. This is a tough sell. I can see your face and and it's tough to to go with this approach as far as it goes and say there are no bad parts. I understand your skepticism.
No, no, I'm not actually skeptical. And my wife is always saying that my resting face is quite stern, so it's easy to read into it. It's just my face. I don't know if you know Jerry Colonna, I talked about him in the Tim Fair. You don't know him, but I've talked about him in the Tim Ferriss interview. And Jerry is my executive coach. He works with me and also with the CEO of 10 percent happier and helps us individually and also doesn't like couples counseling with the two of us.
And it's it's he's great. And he's been on the show before, wrote an excellent book called Reboot. And I'd have to have confirmed this with Jerry, but I have a sense that he's highly influenced by your view because.
Well, I might I might know him now that you mention his name again. But anyway, keep going.
He really has in my work with him over the past couple of years has. I'm hearing so much, Jerry, in what you're talking about, that he would give a name to my inner critic, we call him Robert Johnson. That's my grandfather's name. My grandfather was great in many ways, but also quite stern and pretty tough to personify the voice in that way. And then to you know, he talks about the loyal soldier to sort of decommission the soldier that's been bivouacked out on the rocks of the Philippines thinking he's still fighting to.
Yeah, that may well be influenced because I use that analogy a lot. Yeah.
OK, so no need to disentangle or disambiguate the threads here. Just to say that I come to this with that with a lot of skepticism for once.
Good, good. Just because I've seen it play out in my own mind, it just I don't know how to describe this. I probably would have been skeptical if you said this a couple of years ago to me. But it turns out that if you can just show some warmth, one even might even say love to these characters. They tend to calm down. It won't work in my case, doesn't work in perpetuity. They'll come right back. But you just have to be continuously ready to go back into the stance of warms.
If you were to actually unburden them and you were actually to get to what they protect and heal it, they wouldn't just snap back. You wouldn't have to work this way all the time because they literally do fully transform into their naturally valuable states once unburdened. So let's just go with that for a second. So, for example, let's take Robert Johnson. It's pretty obvious to me that the anger. That I see inside is often undergirded by fear. Yes, I didn't have much fear in my household.
In other words, you know, I had really an intact family, very loving parents. But just like you said before, one of my parents is Jewish and definitely had a lot of anxiety. The other is a WASP. And she had a lot of anxiety. They certainly had their own anxiety, which I'm sure I picked up on. And then obviously, as I entered out into the world, I encountered lots of bullies and fear of whatever older kids and then was a bully at times.
And so I think there's something in there around the fear plus also the fear. It seems like a reasonably reasonable response to just living in a universe characterized by impermanence and entropy. Correct, and the nice thing about this work is you don't have to speculate. So and if you want, I could do a piece of work with you briefly, if you like, with. Sure. Johnson Sure. Sure. But what I'm saying is, as we got to know him and then if he gave us permission, got to know the fear, it could tell you where the fear came from.
You wouldn't have to try and figure it out. You just start to see it or get it.
Well, let's go for it. Great. All right. So you ready? Yeah.
So focus on Robert Johnson and find him in your body or around your body. He's not coming up right away. OK, you can even focus on the memory of him. I like that. I can retrieve. So just see if you can find him that way. Mm hmm. You have a sense of where he's located in your body or on your body. Yes, there's like a spot about two inches north. West of my solar plexus. OK.
And as you notice from there, how do you feel toward him? I think at first it's a little inconvenient because actually painful kind of like somebody spilled some coffee right there. Burning buzzi sensation, but enough training over the last couple of years. Whereby reflects eventually kicks into more curiosity, compassion. OK, good.
So let them know that. Let them know you feel curious and compassionate toward him and just see what he wants you to know about himself and don't think of the answer. Just wait for an answer to come from that place in your body. And if nothing comes, that's OK, but just see if something comes. Nothing is coming persay, but I can share something that may be relevant to. This isn't coming from present moment experience, but it's coming from recent meditation where I've noticed.
That the anger, Robert Johnson will come rushing in when I've noticed that I've been distracted for the last five minutes planning lunch or whatever. OK, and it feels like he's like a sheepdog trying to just keep everything in order and try and keep control.
So, Dan, just go back to him and ask if that's right, if that is what he's trying to do. And again, don't wait for an answer. Don't think of the answer. Just wait and see if there's an answer. Not getting any direct communication. All right, would it be OK if I tried to talk to him directly? Sure.
This may get stifled just by self-consciousness. OK, if that happens, let me know and we'll OK, we'll ask that part to give us some space.
That's OK. All right. So are you there or are you willing to talk to me directly? I don't know that I am a. Just whatever comes, just let that come out of your mouth just enough to know it's OK. Yeah, I think the skeptical part of me is kicking in the car. All right.
I don't know that this is doable, so we need to work with that part first. OK, so focus on that one and find him in your body, around your body. Oddly, it may also be. OK, let me try and talk to the skeptical part directly. So are you there always. So you're the part of town that doesn't want him to do something that you wouldn't believe is possible or something like that. Or tell me more about your role inside of Dan.
I think probably not wanting him to look stupid. Oh, yeah. OK. OK, so you're very concerned about how it comes across to people. Yeah, I think this is probably the same part of me that won't let me dance.
Yeah. Frankly, I have that part too. OK, so are you afraid if you step back and really let down Trius, that he would look stupid? Is that part of your fear right now? Yes. OK. All right, so we don't have to do it, but I can tell you from my point of view, I have nothing but admiration for people who are willing to take the risk of doing this work. And I suspect your listeners would, too.
But I also get the context and, you know, there are some risks that people might be judging you so. Well, what's interesting is generally on this show, I actually a big part of me or several parts of me feel like ready to do this.
It's just that when you started trying to speak to Robert Johnson, I couldn't channel him verbally, but just to see if that part I just talked to will give us permission to try to get. Yes, that part of me, the skeptic, feels like the closest to me. Yeah, right. So I was the skeptic. I'm saying I'm totally willing to go for this, except for I noticed earlier and maybe this is the whole ballgame here. I noticed earlier nothing came when you tried to speak to Robert.
Maybe you'd have to really get me mad.
That's possible when we can see about that. But it's also possible that this self-conscious one was interfering. So if he's willing to give us the space, it's more likely that we can actually go ahead and do the work. And you said is very close to you, so just see if he'll give you a little space in there. I'll do my best. All right.
That's all we can ask. All right. So down then return to Robert Johnson, your memory of him anyway. Mm hmm. And do you find them in the same place? I think so. OK, and I'll try again to have you talk to him, but if not, then I'll try and talk to. OK. Mm hmm. All right, so just do you feel curious, again, compassionate. I feel eager to please you, so that part also we want to stop a.
If this doesn't work, it's not going to ruin my career or affect my feelings towards us. OK. OK, good to know.
Yeah. So I don't want you to fake anything. I won't do that. OK, that I'm incapable of. All right. My wife says one of my most redeeming qualities is I'm pretty much incapable of lying.
Good. OK, well that's good to know. So go back to him. And tell me how you feel toward him now. How I the part of me that's at the surface right now feels toward Robert. Yeah, part of you who's talking. How do you feel this day and how do you feel toward Robert?
I feel grateful that he's expended so much energy over so much time trying to just keep it all together for me. So let them know.
Let them know you have gratitude for that and just see how he reacts. Out loud or just internally, either way, whichever is more comfortable, you can do it either way. Yeah, it's like magic, because if I do it internally, the buzzing. Subsides good on my chest, good. Yeah, and. Let me ask more about what he's afraid would happen if he didn't work so hard. And again, just wait for the answer to come.
Don't think of the answer. Well, I can't quite tell if. The answer that's coming up is me thinking of one or what has come organically, that's hard for me to discern.
Just tell me, what can the. Trying to protect you from everything running off the rails. Yeah, yeah, and ask a little because that sounds right to me. Ask a little more about that. What would it look like if things ran off the rails? I think it's a nameless, diffuse dread or just generalized badness. OK, but that one you did say I think so we're going to ask the thinking part also to give us some space and we'll just see if we can better clearly hear from him.
So ask the tricky part to step back. And try it again. What's your friend would have been what would it look like if that happened? I'm not getting an answer. OK, let me try again to see if you'll talk to me. So are you there are you willing to talk to me, Robert? Self-conscious guys rushing back in. Well, if it's too much for him, we don't have to do it, but just see if he'll give us a little chance.
There's a bit of interesting sort of interplay between the self-consciousness and maybe and some sort of confusion or lack of confidence about maybe am I hearing something or I'm putting words in Robert's mouth. But what I felt maybe. He was trying to say there was. He probably would use a word that starts with F. But something along the lines of what the hell do you want? OK, good. So see if we can keep going. OK, Robert, so you want to know what I want?
Is that right? Yes, and you're the part of town that tries to keep everything under control, is that right? OK, now I want to say yes, but I can't quite tell if I'm doing this for real or from faking it, can I should I just go with it? Let's just go and see, OK? All right. Cool. I'm just going to go with it. Yes, OK.
And sometimes you get angry at him and other people when it seems like it's not going that way. Is that right? Yes.
OK, I need to keep this idiot in line. Yeah, OK. So you in particular, your focus, your anger on Dan. Pretty omnidirectional, but most, Dan, is the primary. Victim. OK. And you can be pretty hard on him, is that right? He needs it. Oh, yeah, well, tell me more about that. So what are you afraid would happen if you didn't do this to him? He wouldn't get anything done and he would be broke.
OK, so you're a motivator. You kind of prod him into action. Yes. OK. So let me ask, do you like doing this to him? It sounds like a lot of responsibility. No, no, no, it's a stressful job. OK? So if there was a way you could trust him to do things without you having to be on them all the time. Would you be interested in. For sure. OK. And when you said he'd be out of money, where did you get that fear in the past?
Do you have any idea? When I was a kid, my parents. Didn't. Want to pay the heating bills, so they basically didn't heat the house in the winter, so we used to have to sit around with our jackets on, OK?
OK, they heated it, but just like just to the level where the pipes wouldn't burst, at some point, you decided you were never going to let him have to go through anything like that again, something like that. Yes, and I also have another memory, which is that I went to my parents were academic physicians and they when I was about 10, they took us. On vacation in Europe, they weren't having to pay for it because they were being flown around to give speeches and at one we went all over the place and one of the places we went was Paris, and we stayed in a fancy hotel.
The first time in my life I'd stayed in a really fancy hotel hotel. Regina and I remember thinking, this is the way I'm going to live. All right.
So is that true that you at that point decided that you were going to make sure that they can live that way? Yeah, I didn't quite succeed, but yes, that was a that was the goal. Yes. And that you would never be scared about poverty like you were. Yes. OK. All right, so if we could go to the boy who stuck back there. And get them out of there, so he didn't carry any of that any more and he felt, OK, would you have to work so hard?
I'm just not sure you'd be able to. Convince me. Convinced you that I don't need my hypervigilance, OK? Well, that's not my goal. It isn't to convince you that it's to free you up. And so I'm just playing with the different ways we could possibly free you up. So you trusted you didn't need to do it. But you don't have to change at all until it feels like it's safe to do that. Because I get how much?
You're really afraid of those consequences if you don't write them all the time. Yeah, even as. Now, I'm going to speak from kind of two voices here, but even as I've been able to develop some warmth toward Robert, he does make the case. And I find now Robert speaking again, that there's still plenty of things to worry about.
Yeah, so we got that. So, Dan, do you want to talk to him now, now that you're separated from him? A little, John. Now that you get a sense of his voice, sure, I'm I'm very familiar with his voice. OK, so let me ask him how old he thinks you are. And again, just wait for the answer. I don't hear anything specifically, but I have this sort of diffuse sense that this voice is stuck in childhood, that he thinks that I'm a kid.
So let them know that you're not let them know that you're not living that way anymore. And that you can do a lot more than you could back the. And just see how he reacts to that news. Don't think he believes it. Yeah, so we're going to stay with us a little while until he does start to consider the possibility. And he could look at you or. You know, we could tell them what the date is or whatever it would take.
Just see if there's a way you can help them trust that you're not a little kid anymore. Well, he knows that I'm old because he every time I look in the mirror, he tells me I look old. I just don't think he trusts that I've got this. OK, and ask you more about that, why doesn't he trust that, why doesn't he trust you? Again, I don't I mean, I'm I'm kind of just going to go with it here.
Yes, but I think there are two parts to this. One is. If I'm not on you, you will. Screw up. Yeah, and too, even if you. Don't screw up. There are so many variables outside of your control. That you could get screwed up. Yeah, but how does his Berhanu, you prevent the. Now, this is where we get to where I think I've had a real. Some real growth in recent years, which is that my capital self can see the utility of this scramble and send well wishes toward Robert.
And generally speaking. Some reasonable percentage of the time that actually works, if I remember to do it. OK. So ask him how that's been for him to have you do that and have him relax more, or I could talk to him again about that, if that would help. It maybe you'll have better luck that I'm having. OK. All right, so let me talk to Robert again. Sure. Are you there? Yes, what the hell do you want?
OK, so is it true that when Dan comes to you with this kind of loving energy that you do let him try to run things for a while? Yes. And how is that for you to trust him for brief periods? He's on probation, but giving it a shot and how does he do? Reasonably well, but he's fallen behind on his book Deadline as we speak, so it's not 100 percent OK. OK, I get that. But what is it like for you during those probationary periods?
To not have to carry all that responsibility, what's that like for you? It's a relief. OK, so you actually are glad he's doing that. That is coming and reminding you that he cares about you and appreciate you and asks that you let him handle whatever it is.
Yes, because this is exhausting. OK. All right. And you'd like him to do more of that. It sounds like.
Yes. OK. Very good. Juan, let me talk to Dan again, you got him. How are you feeling toward this guy now? Toward Robert, yeah. Well, I came in with warmth and I still I retain it. Yeah. OK, so it's still unpleasant, though, it hurts actually hurts in physically. All right. Well, let me talk to you about that for a second. Sure. Are you back? Yes. So you get down pain, is that right?
Yes. Why do you do the. Wake them up, OK? So it's not just the yelling at him, it's also kind of goading him with pain. Mm hmm. OK. All right. So. One last question for you, if you're OK with us. Hurry up, though, I will. Do you carry anybody else's energy? I have no idea what that means, you know, he named you for the grandfather. Do you carry the grandfather's energy?
Do you carry some other person's energy? Now getting an answer, OK? That's right, you don't have to answer. So, Robert, I really appreciate your indulging me, and I know that it's not your favorite thing, but I appreciate it. And let me talk to Dan again. Mm hmm. Kerry there. Mm hmm. So how your skeptic doing with all that, we just. Oh, it still feels a little like contrived The Exorcist, yes, or contrived and.
I'm on your side. I believe you. I mean, the good news is. Going to him with his loving way, he relaxes you, gets a break, you get to land for a period of time and that much has been working. Now, probably for him to really retire from this job and actually be more of a support, which is often the role that they like when they trust you enough to not have to do this, you probably have to work with that boy who stuck back in that cold house and maybe some other parts and get them out of their.
Before he can really retire from this job. And how does one do that therapy or continue the meditation style that we discussed earlier?
Well, some people can do it on their own. So it would be to see that boy as much as you. I mean, if you're like me, you don't see anything. But I can kind of sense the boy. Mm hmm. And then notice how you feel toward him. And if you can get to a place of compassion. Then let them know. And ask what he wants you to know about what it was like back there. I can conjure that boy pretty easily.
You want to do that? Yeah, well, I'm remembering a moment where I was I went to an elementary school in my little corner of Newton, Massachusetts. It was nice and pretty and cozy. And then I got fed into the junior high where lots of elementary schools came together. And it was big and kind of scary for me. And I remember being online at the water cooler, which in Massachusetts we call the bubbler, and a bigger kid.
He was my age, but bigger kid. We later became friends. His name is John spined YOLO. I'll have to ask his permission to use this here. But I remember he wanted to cut me in line and I said no and he punched me in the stomach. OK, so that fearful fretting. I can call that up reasonably easily, I don't know if I can get them to talk to you, but the felt sense of what it was like to be.
Unmoored and anxious. Yeah, I can access that, so focus on that right now and find that part in your body, around your body. Some reason I'm actually now I can't I can't find it in my body, but I know, you know, the sensation or the yeah, I know the sense that I know the sort of psychic sensation.
How do you feel toward that young teenage boy? Part real compassion and part stop being such a wimp, yeah. So we're going to ask the guy who says he's about to step out so you can lead with compassion with him. So see if that macho guy could give you a little space in there. I think macho guy may also be Robert. Yeah, could be to see if he'll let us go help them or. Sure, let's try it.
So how do you feel towards him now? It's very sad, so you feel a lot of compassion for them, so let them know and see how he reacts to compassion. I think he appreciates it, OK? And ask if he's ready to really let you feel and see and sense what that was like for him. Not getting an answer to that, OK, do you feel up for that or is that too much for now?
No, I do feel up for it. I wonder if. Combination of just my natural. Reticence, skepticism, self-consciousness magnified by, you know, doing this in public, the thought came to me like. Wow, I probably have to do this privately with ayahuasca or something on board. Yeah, that makes sense. This is not the context to do it. But let this boy know. That you get that he's in there, you still love him back there.
And that you want to get to him and get them out of there. And you'll do it when the time is right. So if you get a reaction. My thinking self. Now just finds that to be enormously there's a lot of pathos in what you just said. Yeah. Is it OK to be with that feeling? I was feeling sure, yes, sir. Yeah, just yeah, because I was really that kid was very scared. Yeah.
And as I keep saying, he still lives back there. Yes, I feel it and it's possible to get them out of there. You know what I can describe to you what we would do if we were different? I would actually it's after you got how bad that was for him. And he said, yes, you finally get it. I would have you down, go into that scene and be with him in the way he needed somebody back there.
And you wouldn't see yourself, you would just be there. You would feel your presence. And then we would ask him what he wanted you to do it it might be to deal with this kid, this bully. And I would have you do that for him, and then when he was ready, we would take him out of there to a good, safe place. Could be the president, your family, it could be fantasy place. And once he was there.
And he trusted he didn't ever have to go back and you take care of them, he'd be ready to unload all that feelings and beliefs that he still carries. And then what he unloaded on that there's a kind of ritualized way we do that, then he would be the kind of carefree teenage kid again. And then we could bring in Robert and all the other parts. To see that they don't have to protect him anymore and often they're ready to unburden themselves and take on new roles.
The skeptics still here, but I'm intrigued could hear what I can say is this is all very real. This is like a totally real other world that shamans have been going into for centuries. And it really works. All this is very real and we have to get the skeptical parts to step back. One of the reasons I am so committed to this is because I had such a huge skeptical part. It's been very valuable to me as a scientist, but it would keep getting in the way and keep getting in the way of me doing my own work and in my system operates very similar years.
I do a lot better when people talk to my parts directly and so on, and there's a percentage of us that are like this. What really, Landow, among other things, but one of the things that really landed with me was when you just said this is very real, the world of.
Me being. Bent over in pain in a big echoey junior high with concrete walls and like the smell of institutional tater tots, that feels very real.
That's right. And as I said, he still lives there. Yes, I believe that, too. So he can give you all those.
He can help you become a compassionate witness to what he went through. And I felt that, too, actually.
I felt like I was a compassionate witness as you were guiding me through.
Yeah, well, that's what he wants. He really wants. See, I didn't get into this so much with the theory, but. We all have parts like I had a similar believe story. And. When those before they got hurt, kind of carefree. Teenage pirates that give us lots of vitality and interesting thought before they get hurt, we love them and we like hanging around with them after they get sucker punched like that and they carry the burdens from that experience, we don't want anything to do with them.
And so we do what I call exile them inside. We lock them in in our basement services or caves, and we try to move on in life without them. Leave them there in the dust. And everybody around us tells us to do that, especially if you're a boy that age. It's like, just get over it. Don't be a sissy. Or what do you say? What's he like? Like that part. So don't be a wimp.
So we wind up exiling all these parts of us, thinking we're just moving on from beliefs and sensations and memories from those experiences, not realizing we're locking away our most precious resources just because they got hurt. So for these exiles, it's insult to injury, the injury was the sucker punch, the insult is now you've abandoned them. And they're cooking in there, they're just and they'll organize your life. You said you had a panic attack, they they'll find ways to be seen in some way or another.
Yeah, I think that panic attack, if I can interpolate back to it from now. Yes. It was like a primal scream from that kid.
That's right. That's exactly right. So all that is possible. It's for me and probably for you. It's hard to do by myself. I need to have somebody with me to go to those scary places and somebody I trust isn't going to be judging me because I have that same don't be a wimp part. So, again, in this context, I just appreciate you're trying at this much. No, I appreciate you being willing to work with me and always take free therapy.
I'm sensitive to time. If people have questions about, you know, they want to learn more about IFRS or even to do it themselves and or to learn more about you and your work, what are the steps that people can take?
So we do have a website, which is our first Typhon Institute dot com, and on it there's a store. And we have there's a number of books for the public and some videos and. A lot of the material on the website are for therapists, but there are two books I wrote for clients which are pretty easy. One is an introduction divests and the other is you're the one you've been waiting for. And then I did an audio course for sounds through last year called More than the Sum of Your Parts, in which there are a lot of exercises similar to what we just heard.
So people can try that on their own and and see how far they're going.
We'll put links to all of this in the show notes. One last question on a practical tip here. If people wanted to find a therapist who worked in this way, is there a way to do that?
Yeah, there's a directory on our website. OK, great. Jack, thank you so much. I asked you to do more labor than you might have thought you were signing up for, but it's appreciate it very much.
I really appreciate your being such a good sport. And it's one thing to talk about it to an audience, but it's another to actually listen as we do the work. So from my point of view and my goals for this, your willingness to be that vulnerable was invaluable in terms of conveying what I'm trying to convey. So I'm very appreciative. Big thanks to Dick Schwartz, really appreciate him coming on the show and apologies again if I was a suboptimal patient.
Also want to thank everybody who worked so hard to make the show a reality. Samuel Johns is our lead guy. Our senior producer, Jay Kashmir is our associate producer. Our sound designer is Matt Boynton from Ultraviolet Audio. Maria Wartell is our production coordinator. We get an enormous amount of incredibly helpful input from colleagues such as Jen Point, Nate Toby, Liz Levin and Ben Rubin. Also big, thank you to Ryan Kessler and Josh Cohan from ABC News.
We'll see you on Friday for a bonus with Joanna Hardy.