The “Internal Family Systems” of the Mind

conor wall
Conor McMillen

Right at this moment a part of you wants to read this and another part of you wants to do something else. Notice that? You may even notice several parts of you that have already come up with ideas of what else they would like to be doing. Maybe one wants to check your email account, another wants to eat, while another wants to shut off the computer, run outside and dance in the streets. What if we view these parts for what they are: distinct and very real members of your system, each with their own needs, wants, desires, memories and narratives?

The brain functions as a multiple system, using parallel processing. This same mode of processing is used by computer engineers solving complex problems. They have discovered that using multiple computers to run the same problem is much more effective than having one single computer running that problem. These different computers, or parts, of our brain are constantly running, side by side, the same “problem” that is life. They often have different ideas about how to proceed, but the intention is always based in keeping the system surviving and in an ideal state, thriving.

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