Interior Integration for Catholics

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Join Dr. Peter as he describes how Internal Family Systems informed thinking can help you understand yourself and others so much better than the common understanding of a unified, homogeneous personality. Understanding yourself and other better is critical to being able to love yourself and others and God in more ordered and healthy ways. Dr. Peter gives examples from his own life and his own parts in his system and also leads an experiential exercise to help you connect with your parts.

Show Notes

  1. Introduction 
    1. Very autobiographical today, I'm going to tell you a lot about me and the mistakes I've made and how those mistakes have brought me to do this episode.  
      1. I don't really like talking about myself -- not a lot of autobiographical material in previous episodes
      2. I especially don't like talking about myself all by myself in my little studio -- not being interviewed by a host -- the really Competent part of me thinks it's a little weird to be sharing details of my life and my struggles and my mistakes, not knowing who is listening because I haven't met most of you, those of you who are my listeners.  I've checked in with the different parts of me and they are all good with it, I have at least grudging acceptance of the idea.  
    2. I’m clinical psychologist Peter Malinoski and I am here with you, to be your host and guide.  
    3. This podcast is called Interior Integration for Catholics, and it is part of Souls and Hearts
       
      1. our online outreach at soulsandhearts.com
    4.  
      1. which is all about shoring up our natural foundation for the Catholic spiritual life, all about overcoming psychological obstacles to being loved and to loving God and neighbor and ourselves.  We're getting into that much more deeply now.  

    5. This is episode 71, released on June 7, 2021, entitled A New and Better Way of Understanding Myself and Others.  -- Beginning a brief series of episodes that takes the great insights of Internal Family Systems approaches to understanding the human person on a natural level, and reconciles them with the eternal truths of the Catholic faith.  
  2. The Great Journey
     
    1. I could be considered "Highly successful" as a child and adolescent -- 4.0 GPA in High School, Valedictorian, Varsity letters in Track and Cross Country, I acted in high school musicals and plays, excelled in competitive solo-acting, was on the chess team, active in student government and I was a pretty good shot on the local pistol team --  I had a lot going for me.  I continued that success from Northwestern University, graduating with honors, traveling the world, living in Seville, Spain for a year, romping around Mexico one summer.  

    1. 1991 -- brought to my knees -- 22 years old, just left a high-demand group Catholic group -- strong sense of having been manipulated and used, exploited.   
      1. Trying to figure out my own experience -- what just happened?  Why so many contradictory thoughts and feelings?  What was going on.  
        1. Either I made a mistake in joining that group or I made a mistake in leaving it.  
        2. Existential crisis -- A leader of the group told me that the founder once said that "he wouldn't give a nickel for the soul of any son who abandons his vocation the group."  For the true believer, there was no viable way out.
        3. Common reason for getting into psychology - there's something to the meme.  
        4. My models were not sufficient.  I was not satisfied with superficial reasons
           
          1. For why I felt the ways I did
        5.  
          1. For why I thought the ways I thought
        6.  
          1. For why I acted the ways I did.  


    1. In 1993, Began a Ph.D. program in clinical psychology -- the best that psychology had to offer.  
    2. The Hunt for a Unitary Personality
    3. We all want to understand ourselves
       
      1. 4 temperaments -- Encyclopedia Britannica:  Humoral theories:  2500 years ago.  Perhaps the oldest personality theory known is contained in the cosmological writings of the Greek philosopher and physiologist Empedocles and in related speculations of the physician Hippocrates. Empedocles’ cosmic elements—air (with its associated qualities, warm and moist), earth (cold and dry), fire (warm and dry), and water (cold and moist)—were related to health and corresponded (in the above order) to Hippocrates’ physical humours, which were associated with variations in temperament: blood (sanguine temperament), black bile (melancholic), yellow bile (choleric), and phlegm (phlegmatic). This theory, with its view that body chemistry determines temperament, has survived in some form for more than 2,500 years. According to these early theorists, emotional stability as well as general health depend on an appropriate balance among the four bodily humours; an excess of one may produce a particular bodily illness or an exaggerated personality trait. Thus, a person with an excess of blood would be expected to have a sanguine temperament—that is, to be optimistic, enthusiastic, and excitable. Too much black bile (dark blood perhaps mixed with other secretions) was believed to produce a melancholic temperament. An oversupply of yellow bile (secreted by the liver) would result in anger, irritability, and a “jaundiced” view of life. An abundance of phlegm (secreted in the respiratory passages) was alleged to make people stolid, apathetic, and undemonstrative.
    4.  
 | Humor  | Season  | Ages  | Element  | Organ  | Qualities  | Temperament
 | Blood  | spring  | infancy  | air | liver | warm and moist  | sanguine
| Yellow bile  | summer  | youth  | fire | gallbladder | warm and dry  | choleric
| Black bile  | autumn  | adulthood  | earth | spleen | cold and dry  | melancholic
| Phlegm  | winter  | old age  | water | brain/lungs | cold and moist  | phlegmatic
 
Art and Laraine Bennett.  The Temperament God Gave you.  
 
  1. Freud 
  2. Desire for unity 
  3. Testing expert
     
    1. Layered Personalities, overlays -- trying to accommodate
  4.  
    1. Personality is supposed to be stable
       
      1. Definition of personality
         
        1. Encyclopedia Britannica:   the study of personality focuses on classifying and explaining relatively stable human psychological characteristics.
      2.  
        1. VeryWellMind.com;  At its most basic, personality is the characteristic patterns of thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that make a person unique. It is believed that personality arises from within the individual and remains fairly consistent throughout life. 

        1. But DSM-5, PDM -- Borderline Personality Disorder -- not stable
      3.  

      1. We want predictability

 
  1. In 2000 I was at a crossroad in life, about to finish my Ph.D. in clinical psychology and very much struggling to find a way to ground psychology in a Catholic worldview.  Very few resources were available and most of those were very limited.  I was considering leaving the field of psychology altogether, unconvinced that it had anything like the power it promised to bring about healing.  I could fall back on being an applied statistician, or I could retreat into behavioral medicine, but a voice kept saying, “There is a way.  Seek it.”  I trusted that voice, went deeper into my prayer life, and by God’s grace, found a path.  Dietrich von Hildebrand (a 20th century Austrian phenomenologist), St. Teresa of Avila, and a protestant psychoanalyst came to help.  By bringing phenomenology, Carmelite writings on prayer, and psychoanalytic approaches to psychotherapy together, I was able to carve out the rudiments of a way of practicing that was both effective and conformable to the Catholic Faith.  
 
In 2020, twenty years later, I found myself at another crossroads, and this time the challenge was to bring psychology and Catholicism together in the online universe in a way that could transform lives without psychotherapy by harnessing the power of a Catholic community.   Zoom, a networking platform and Internal Family Systems came together to make the seemingly impossible possible.  Because of COVID-19, my Catholic interpersonal process group had been meeting online quite effectively.  People were adapting to remote communication technology at a much faster rate.  As stress levels increased with the pandemic there was a huge need to shore up the natural foundation for the spiritual life.  The CCCD podcast I was doing to help Catholics through the pandemic was gaining a following – and the idea came to launch the RCCD community.  Internal Family Systems provides ways for non-therapists to be able to reach out powerfully and effectively to others in community in an attuned way.  IFS also provides an abundance of non-therapy ways of going inside and connecting inwardly.  And the path became clear – let’s bring those helpful ways of connecting inwardly and outwardly to committed Catholics who want to be integrated, and who want to be loved and to love others.  Let’s make a place where people can practice carrying out the Two Great Commandments, a living training ground to learn to be loved by ourselves and other and to love ourselves and others.  
 
  1. Review of the IFS model of a person
     
    1. Self:  The core of the person, the center of the person.  This is who we sense ourselves to be in our best moments, and when our self is free, and unblended with any of our parts, it governs our whole being as an active, compassionate leader.  
      1. We want to be recollected, we want the self governing all of our parts
      2. Like the conductor -- leading the musicians in an orchestra
      3. Like the captain -- leading and governing all the sailors on a ship.  
      4. When we are recollected, in self, 8 C's
         
        1. Calm
      5.  
        1. Curiousity
      6.  
        1. Compassion
      7.  
        1. Confidence
      8.  
        1. Courage
      9.  
        1. Clarity
      10.  
        1. Connectedness
      11.  
        1. Creativity
      12.  
        1. Kindness
      13.  

    1. Parts:  Separate, independently operating personalities within us, each with own unique prominent needs, roles in our lives, emotions, body sensations, guiding beliefs and assumptions, typical thoughts, intentions, desires, attitudes, impulses, interpersonal style, and world view.  Each part also has an image of God and also its own approach to sexuality.  Robert Falconer calls them insiders.  
      1. Parts have different attachment styles, different ways of connecting.  
      2. Parts have a different love languages -- Five different Love Languages -- Gary Chapman.  
        1. Words of affirmation
        2. Quality Time
        3. Acts of Service
        4. Gifts
        5. Physical Touch
      3. So many parts are hidden.  Consider themselves or are considered by other parts to be unacceptable, unlovable, unworthy, dangerous, harmful, inappropriate, or whatever.  
      4. I don't know ourselves when I don't know my parts.
      5. I don't know my neighbor when I don't know his or her parts.  
      6. Parts can shift abruptly.  They can shift abruptly during sexual intimacy between spouses. 
      7. Three roles
         
        1. Exiles -- 
          1. most sensitive -- these exiles have been exploited, rejected, abandoned in external relationships
          2. They have suffered relational traumas or attachment injuries
          3. They hold the painful experiences that have been isolated from conscious awareness to protect the person from being overwhelmed with the intensity.
          4. They desperately want to be seen and known, to be safe and secure, to be comforted and soothed, to be cared for and loved
          5. They want rescue, redemption, healing
          6. And in the intensity of their needs and emotions, they threaten to take over and destabilize the person's whole being, the person's whole system
          7. And they threaten to harm external relationships
          8. Burdens they carry:  Shame, dependency, worthlessness, Fear/Terror, Grief/Loss, Loneliness, Neediness, Pain, lack of meaning or purpose, a sense of being unloved and unlovable, inadequate, abandoned, 

        1. Managers
           
          1. These are the proactive protector parts.  They work strategically, with forethought and planning to keep in control of situations and relationships to minimize the likelihood of you being hurt.  They work really hard to keep you safe.
        2.  
          1. controlling, striving, planning, caretaking, judging, 

          1. Can be pessimistic, self-critical, very demanding.  


        1. Firefighters
           
          1. When exiles break through and threaten to take over the system, like in Inside Out, remember the parts and the control panel?  So when these exiles are about the break out, the firefighters leap into action.
        2.  
          1. It's an emergency situation, a crisis, like a fire raging in a house.
        3.  
          1. No concern for niceties, for propriety, for etiquette, for little details like that.  

          1. Firefighter take bold, drastic actions to stifle, numb or distract from the intensity of the exile's experiences.  

          1. Intense neediness and grief are overwhelming us!  Emergency actions -- battle stations!   Evasive maneuvers, Arm the torpedoes, Full speed ahead!
        4.  
          1. No concern for consequences -- don't you get it, we are in a crisis, 

          1. All kinds of addictions -- alcohol use, binge eating, shopping, sleeping, dieting, excessive working or exercise, suicidal actions, self-harm, violence, dissociation, distractions, obsessions, compulsions, escapes into fantasy, and raging.  

          1. Parts can take over the person
        5.  

        1. Like in Pixar Movie Inside Out -- anger taking over the control panel of the main character Riley
      8.  
        1. We call it blending.  


  2. Introduction to my Parts
     
    1. Former Exiles
       
      1. Feisty One (formerly my "angry part")
    2.  
      1. Adventurer (formerly my "part who holds fear")
    3.  
      1. Lover Part
    4.  
      1. Melancholio
    5.  

    1. Managers
       
      1. Competent Part
    2.  
      1. Good Boy
    3.  
      1. Evaluator (formerly "the Critic"
    4.  

    1. Firefighters
       
      1. Challenger (formerly "the Rebel"
    2.  
      1. Guardian (formerly "the Intimidator")
    3.  
      1. Creative Part
    4.  

  3. Parts in greater detail
     
    1. Feisty One (formerly my "angry part")
  4.  
    1. Adventurer (formerly my "part who holds fear")
  5.  
    1. Lover Part
  6.  
    1. Melancholio
  7.  
    1. Competent Part
  8.  
    1. Good Boy
  9.  
    1. Evaluator (formerly "the Critic"
  10.  
    1. Challenger (formerly "the Rebel"
  11.  
    1. Guardian (formerly "the Intimidator")
  12.  
    1. Creative Part
  13.  
  14. Elements
     
    1. Personality style
  15.  
    1. Emotions
  16.  
    1. Body sensation.  

    1. Belief.  

    1. Thought
  17.  
    1. Intentions 

    1. Desires
  18.  
    1. Attitudes
  19.  
    1. Impulses.
  20.  
    1. Interpersonal style
  21.  
    1. World view
  22.  
  23. My Parts' attitudes about this podcast episode
  24. Experiential Exercise -- discovering a part of you.  
    1. Caveats. Quiet place.  
  25. Closing:
     
    1. Resources: 
      1. Website ifs-institute.com   
      2. Book:  Introduction to the Internal Family Systems Model by Richard Schwartz 2001, Trailheads publications.  
      3. Podcast:  The One Inside -- Tammy Sollenberger

    1. Next episode all about Looking at IFS through Christian Lens. 
      1. Because IFS is open to spirituality, all kinds of variations exist.  
      2. Every practice of psychology and every program of human formation depends on Theology, Philosophy, Epistemology and metaphysics -- those compose the underlying anthropology
         
        1. What is anthropology  Mgsr Charles Pope:  Anthropology is, most simply, the science or study of human beings through time and space. Different specialties focus on the analysis of biological/physiological characteristics and the examination of societies/cultures. In the religious sense, anthropology deals with the origin, nature, and destiny of human beings.
      3.  

    1. Human formation is the lifelong process of natural development, aided by grace, by which a person integrates all aspects of his interior emotional, cognitive, relational, and bodily life, all of his natural faculties in an ordered way, conformed with right reason and natural law so that he is freed from natural impediments to trust God as His beloved child and to embrace God's love.  Then, in return, because he possesses himself, he can love God, neighbor and himself with all of his natural being in an ordered, intimate, personal, and mature way.
  26.  
    1. Pitch
       
      1. Do your human formation work.  

      1. The Fall in the Garden of Eden was devastating to our bodies -- death, pain, physical labor, pain in childbirth
    2.  
      1. In the same way, it was devasting to our psyches.  

      1. Examine your own human formation.  Do your human formation work.  Build that solid natural foundation.  Don't leave that to chance.
         
        1. Serious Catholics have  spiritual plan of life
      2.  
        1. Also a human formation plan -- your emotional life, your relational life, your thinking, your body issues.  

        1. And get some support doing that
      3.  
        1. Resilient Catholic Community at Souls and Hearts, grew up around my podcast Integration for Catholics -- a place to do that -- registration is open each year in June and December soulsandhearts.com/rcc
      4.  


 
  1. The best of psychology, the best of human formation all grounded in what we know to be true by divine revelation.  
  2. Parts Description Worksheet 3.0
  3. Go to soulsandhearts.com/rcc -- check out the community.  We are open for the month of June or until our 80 spaces are filled -- discerning.  
  4. Members -- Second Wednesday Zoom Meeting -- June 9, 7:30 PM to 8:45 PM -- discussing companions and companies in the relaunched RCC
  5. Conversation hours -- 317.567.9594  -- email crisis@soulsandhearts.com 

What is Interior Integration for Catholics?

In the Interior Integration for Catholics podcast, together, we seek fundamental transformation in our lives through human formation, via Internal Family Systems approaches grounded in a Catholic worldview. Join us as we sail through uncharted waters, seizing the opportunities for psychological and spiritual growth and increasing resilience in the natural and spiritual realms. With a clear takeaway message and one action in each weekly episode, you can move from dreading what is happening to you to rising above it. Join us on Mondays for new episodes. You can also check out the Resilient Catholics Community which grew up around this podcast at soulsandhearts.com/rcc.