I have read many books on external boundaries and found them very beneficial. I was intrigued by the idea of establishing internal boundaries. It might offer help for runaway thoughts and feelings.
The authors present a Christian approach to the Internal Family Systems Model of Therapy, integrating it with boundaries concepts. The first third of the book concentrates of helping us understand the parts of our souls, how to identify the parts that need care, and how we can be Spirit-led. The authors write, “The focus of this book is to help you access the Spirit of God abiding in your soul and to encourage you to invite his Spirit to be near those parts of your soul needing care.” (722/4229)
The next part of the book outlines the five part strategy the authors prescribe to do a you-turn and bring the parts of the soul under the leadership of the Spirit-led self. They include focus on an overwhelming part of yourself, befriend this part you don't like, invite Jesus to draw near, unburden this weary part, and finally, integrate it into your internal team of rivals. Specific instructions are given as well as personal examples from their counseling experiences as to how the technique works.
The authors address specific issues in the last third of the book, such as anger, fear, perfectionism, etc. Readers are taken through the five steps for each issue, including an example from the authors' counseling experiences. The authors even point out good aspects of each of these emotions generally thought to be detrimental. Each can be put to good use. There is even a chapter for strategy when the other person has the challenging soul issues.
I think this book has great personal potential. It reminds me of the healing of memories technique that was popular in the Christian realm decades ago. Imagining Jesus coming into the situation is essential. The successful examples in the text are of people doing the imagining as they are directed by one of the authors. How well this process can work by reading a book may be very different. I tried to go through a few of their exercises but my scientifically trained mind had difficulty with the whole imagining Jesus idea.
I do recommend this book to readers who desire to deal with parts of their souls and establish soul integration. Just know there will be much work on the part of the reader required. Just reading the text will not create the healing. Reading this book and going through the suggested exercises might be quite a journey. It may be most helpful to read this book with a trusted friend who can help with the process.
You can watch the book trailer here.
You can read an interview with the authors here.
You can download a free chapter and take a quiz here.
My rating: 4/5 stars.
Alison Cook, MA, PhD, practices in the greater Boston area, where she specializes in the integration of spiritual formation and psychology. She has taught and counseled teens, adults, and couples, for over two decades and speaks on emotional and spiritual wholeness at churches, conferences, and retreats across the country. She earned her MA in counseling from Denver Seminary and a PhD in religion and psychology from the University of Denver. She is certified in Internal Family Systems Therapy. You can find out more at www.alisoncookphd.com.
Kimberly Miller, MTH, LMFT, is a licensed marriage and family therapist in private practice, specializing in preventing burnout among leaders. She is the founder of Leading Wholeheartedly, a ministry equipping people to cultivate their inner lives so that their service to others is more deeply rooted, productive, and sustainable. She also founded Doing Good Well, a program of Christians in the Visual Arts. She studied at Davidson College, earned a master's in theology from Regent College, and an MA in clinical psychology from Azusa Pacific University. She is certified in Internal Family Systems Therapy and Image Relationship Therapy. She and her husband live in southern California. You can find out more at www.kimberlyjunemiller.com.
Thomas Nelson, 256 pages.
I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review.