We love this beautiful explanation of Inner Relationship Focusing (IRF) by Amba Love, which featured in the Short and Sweet section of our Spring 2023 issue. To learn more about this healing process, keep reading below…
The Relationship With You
Embrace All Aspects Of Your Being
By Amba Love
Inner Relationship Focusing (IRF) is a therapeutic process often referred to as body or somatic psychotherapy. The process can be easily learned and done alone yet is more often done with a companion. Having a companion who is trained in focusing facilitates us in staying with the process and allows our sense of Self-In-Presence to grow. Self-In-Presence is the term used in IRF, developed by Ann Weiser Cornell and Barbara Mc Gavin for that part of us which is Aware, Present and unmerged with our experience. We cultivate this Presence to our fullest capacity in the moment, initiating from here a relationship with whatever parts of us choose to come forward. We make contact with these parts of ourselves on their terms, approaching them in a gentle way and asking them questions like “How do you feel from your point of view?” and “What kind of contact would you like from me?”
I am finding this way of being with myself refreshing and different to many types of therapeutic or healing processes in that there is an emphasis on not trying to change what we experience, but rather being empathic and accepting toward it. This allows parts of us that have been afraid or hurt to come forward in a safe space and be shown an understanding that up till now maybe they hadn’t been shown. The focusing space is a space of empathy, listening, curiosity, love and acceptance.
IRF highlights to me that nothing in our experience is wrong or needs to be pushed away but instead can be accepted and given the type of contact it needs. This is discovered through communicating with these parts of ourselves and describing as best we can what our experience is, all the while using focusing language like ‘I am sensing something in me feels sadness’, which allows us to unmerge with these parts of ourselves. IRF can be used in many ways. The most obvious to me is the emotional healing aspect it imparts, integrating the many parts of ourselves, allowing us to experience peace and harmony in being human and all the many complexities of what that is. We can also use focusing sessions to look toward any issues we have, whether it be challenges in a relationship, in work, with family or in areas where we feel something is unmoving or stuck. I use IRF in my coaching practise with clients to facilitate integration and move through stuck energies so that life moves uninhibitedly again.
Engaging with a process like IRF is a lifelong process and is not aiming at perfection. Yet the more we are empathic towards our tendencies and ‘love wounds’, as I like to call them, the more we can be in the flow of life and have more of ourselves available to engage with life and those around us. We can also experience ourselves as Self-In-Presence, which is innately peaceful, deeply contented and fulfilled.
There are many IRF resources on Ann Weiser Cornell’s website, including free courses and where you can get sessions: focusingresources.com
Amba Love offers Integrative Coaching and Spiritual Support online and In-Person. ambalovecoaching.com