Sunday Self-Care 07/10/22

Jul 10, 2022 | Newsletters

Happy Self Care Sunday, friends!

What can you do today to care for your parts, appreciate those hard-working Protectors or listen to the protected, vulnerable ones who may need a little TLC before a new week commences…?

Pause. Exhale. Listen…

My husband and I are visiting his family on Cape Cod, Massachusetts–my birth state, incidentally! Who else has a SS# that starts with a zero? My family moved to southeastern Arizona when I was three–a contrast of climate, setting and culture that shaped me and can’t be understated.

My Schmidt family’s convenient summer proximity to the Cape Cod Institute has made it possible for me to attend and assist IFS Founder, Dick Schwartz a few times. I first attended as a giddily curious new IFS convert back in the summer of 2008. I vividly remember the Direct Access demo I experienced with beloved IFS matriarch, Mary Kruger, who still mentors me. I role played my chronically anorexic client’s Restrictive part. Most approaches call this behavior “Ed”, the Eating Disorder (ED) that we need to beat and outwit.

Mary got curious towards the Anorexic Part, as I embodied this hard-working Protector and spoke for its concerns and role for my client. This demo opened a door for me as a therapist and allowed me to soften towards this Protective, addictive behavior for the very first time. Previously the Anorexic part made me panic, feel hopeless and overwhelmed. I began to appreciate how hard the Anorexia was working for my client and how much it truly cared about her.

That experience changed the trajectory of my clinical world. Getting Curious and Befriending a Protective Behavior–one that every other provider had pathologized and demonized– eventually saved this client’s life. This once 90 pound, depressed, starving client is thriving today, physically and emotionally, mothering two huge, healthy toddlers and a loving spouse. I still get goosebumps thinking about how that demo impacted me, her and my career. We say this often: this stuff works. It’s truly remarkable.

Fast forward to this week’s update… a week of Protector Appreciation!

🙌 We did it! I’m tired, relieved, grateful, honored and encouraged over all the learning and hope merchant-ing that took place this week at the Cape Cod Institute’s workshop with Dick Schwartz–his 17th year, my 4th.

My brain has come a long way from the first round of assisting in 2013 when I had to sit at the back of the room, hidden under a visor and glacier sunglasses (from the awful fluorescent classroom lights). I couldn’t interact with anyone except to facilitate a small group outside each afternoon. I know it sounds confusing; welcome to the world of an invisible injury.

I got hurt in 2010 and Dick always believed in me, even in my injured state. He trusted I could run a group back then, which helped me step into my fears and give it a go. I’ve been reminded time and time again the past 12 years: If I don’t step into my fears and befriend them, they will keep me hostage and prevent me from doing things I long to do. The only way to know, is to try.

Take that in for a moment…It’s significant.

A week ago last Sunday my parts experienced a surprise wave of excited panic. Dick and I needed to brainstorm plan B for the first morning of the workshop should his plane be delayed (due to all the pilot/airline staff shortages). Start a day late? Zoom him in?

Nope. If he were delayed, Dick calmly told me to take Day 1 and give an Intro to the Model and a demo. We’d continue when he arrived. Uhhhhh, you sure? Yes, of course.

Ok. Deep breath. Honored and a smidge anxious since the group did not sign up for ME. :~0 I rallied my parts and assured them that we got this. If I were on deck Monday morning without Dick, we’d start with welcoming students’ parts who just learned they’d be getting an understudy.

Any understudies out there?! You have my deepest RESPECT!

Dick arrived as planned (phew) and I carried on as his sous chef and liaison for 160+ live and online students. Hybrid courses carry their own set of unique demands. My parts were kept on their toes, but students and Dick were pleased with the week! One said it was perfect! Another wrote, ” “IFS has greatly assisted me in connecting with my own parts to be more present while working with clients, to better sustain myself in private practice and to avoid burnout.” YES!! One of my passions is to help reduce clinical burnout. The more our parts unblend and the more Self led we are, the more effective and invigorated we will be from our work. It’s true!

Tech support and I simultaneously managed questions from the Roomies and the Zoomies on 3 different sources, while I outlined steps of the Model during demos, shared resources, led individual sessions in the afternoons, answered questions about my IFS journey and offered next steps for new IFSers.

My parts celebrated each afternoon with ice cream and a swim in the ocean– which always soothes everything. It finally feels like summer!

Grateful for so much…healing, building connections and community, for vulnerable, curious students and ongoing precious opportunities to help heal our world, one part at a time.

Thanks CCI, Dick, students and my supportive in-laws for an amazing week together! 🙏🏻

I’m delighted to introduce you to my favorite non-verbal beach buddy, Maria, discovered nearly 10 years ago on a visit to the North Sea with childhood German friends, Marienkäfer (ladybug auf Deutsch) is light and portable and accompanies me to the beach whenever I remember to bring her! Witnessing the squeals of surprise and delight from passerbys (young and old) trying to make sense of her is a favorite beachtime treat.

Maria just needs a little bit of wind to scatter simple joy!

From Meditations to Morsels from Outdoor Adventures, visit my YouTube channel at Pause With Laura.


IFS Professionals,

Monthly 2H Consultation Groups Resume Late September!
All Groups are Pacific Time (Seattle)

Visit my website for details, days and meeting times.
Specific Dates of this Set (September-April) will be posted in August

Accepted Applicants get Priority Registration


Tuesday Monthly Pre Level 1 Students 4-6pm PT

Wednesday 12-2pm PT Advanced Group Monthly
(L2+ Grads/5+ yrs IFS experience or prior approval by Laura)

Friday Monthly Group 11am-1pm PT

Guided Meditation, Q&A, Brief Demos, Case Consultation, Group Sharing

For details and application (no fee til Registration), click the button below 🙏

“In addition to being a very strong IFS therapist, Laura is able to teach and supervise IFS clearly and thoroughly. I highly recommend her.”

Dick Schwartz, IFS Founder

Thank you for your responses, feedback, and emails. I read them, remember and consider them and apologize if I haven’t been able to reply to you directly yet. It’s been a busy season and I appreciate your patience. I always love hearing from you–what resonates or what you’re wanting more of. Shy and honest parts are always welcome!

Sending love and sandy summer sunsets… I’ll be signing off on Wednesday for about a month as my husband and I enjoy a belated 25th wedding anniversary adventure overseas!