Karen Guitman

Fear & Anxiety

Fear, like all emotions, developed originally as a tool for protection and survival.

It is an indicator of boundaries being overstepped: physical boundaries such as those of our homes or even our bodies; emotional and mental boundaries as those of our wishes, beliefs, and will. Fear is not a feeling to get rid of, but one to understand and work with. However, a constant experience of living in and with fear can lead to anxiety that can become crippling. Working with parts of us that hold anxiety in IFS therapy includes a two-pronged approach: first it is necessary to get to know the parts of us that may be protecting these parts, rebuilding a trusting relationship with them so that they will then allow you to unburden and heal the parts holding that overwhelming anxiety.

The goal in IFS is not that the parts holding anxiety “go away,” as all of our parts are needed. Once these parts are unburdened, they may continue to bring fear in response to outer circumstances, in order to warn us of something that doesn’t feel right. The difference will be that it will not be necessary for them to bring that in the form of ‘crippling anxiety’ as they will have a clear line of communication directly with you.

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