Why Do I Avoid God? A Catholic, IFS-informed Approach to Parts’ Problematic God Images

  • 19 Feb 2021
  • 9:00 AM - 12:15 PM
  • Zoom Webinar
  • 64


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Presented by:  Peter T. Malinoski, Ph.D. 

When:  February 19th 9:00 AM - 12:15pm Central Standard Time (US and Canada)

What: Why Do I Avoid God? A Catholic, IFS-informed Approach to Parts’ Problematic God Images

Cost: $90 for CPA Members, $180 for Non-members, $45 for Students/Clergy Members

CE Credit: 3 CE hours are available for $20 available here. This is a separate purchase.

CE Regulations for this Webinar 

Webinar Description: 

Richard Schwartz’ Internal Family Systems therapy argues that clinical experience, theory, research, neuroscience and personal reflection reveal that within each person are separate, identifiable and enduring constellations of thoughts, emotions, attitudes, impulses, desires, abilities, interests, relational styles, body sensations, and worldviews that are not just transient emotional states, but rather constitute discrete “parts,” subpersonalities or distinct modes of operating within the person’s larger internal system. The parts can be considered to be roughly analogous to St. Thomas Aquinas’ passions in significant ways.

I argue that an important organizing component of the worldview of each part or subpersonality is how that part views God, its God image. Parts have distorted God images for three main reasons: 1) Parts learn via experience and the ways they interpret experience, especially in their spiritual inferences, can be markedly different than what God has revealed about Himself through the Catholic Church -- for example, a part whose role is to be dissociated from the rest of the system so as not to overwhelm the core self and other parts with its burden of interpersonal trauma may see God as distant, disconnected and uncaring, in a Deistic way; 2) Parts may be very afraid of, angry at, disappointed with or disinterested in God and therefore refuse to connect with Him, preventing them from having needed corrective relational experiences of a loving God; 3) Given their limited experience and lack of perspective, parts may need the experience of being loved and cared for by the core self before trusting the self to connect them to God.

Through live group experiential exercises, workshop participants will have the opportunity to connect with some of their own parts in a deeper way and learn about how those parts understand God. Through either a live or recorded demonstration with another person, participants will observe how an IFS-based approach can help the core self connect with its parts, understand how the parts see God, and begin to connect the part to the love of God through the core self, where the intellect and will reside. These aspects make IFS-informed parts work focused on the “internal evangelization” (a term coined by psychologist Peter Martin) of parts makes this workshop relevant for Catholic clergy, spiritual directors, pastoral counselors, missionaries, evangelists and coaches in addition to psychotherapist and counselors.  

Learning Objectives:

1.    Explain the IFS model of the person (body + self + parts) to their clients, describing the 8 C’s of self.  

2.    Identify and locate clients’ parts and focus on one particular part, supporting the client in opening a line of communication from the client’s self to the identified part of the client.  

3.    Describe how to guide the client’s self to witness what the client’s identified part wants to share with the client’s self, and facilitate a relationship between the client’s self and part.  

4.   Conduct a session in which the client’s "self" learns about the identified part’s image of God and how that God image came to be.


Peter T. Malinoski, Ph.D. 

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