My Approach

My therapeutic approach is warm, nurturing, compassionate, and non-judgmental. I believe in the healing power of relationships and wish to create a trusting therapeutic relationship with my clients.

I serve families, couples, and individuals of various ages. I utilize a variety of family therapy approaches and techniques, tailored specifically to each particular client’s needs. I am a trauma-informed therapist. Bowenian family therapy concepts are at the foundation of my philosophy. I conceptualize issues through an attachment lens. I primarily utilize Internal Family Systems (IFS) and Emotion-Focused interventions in my work.

Many of my therapeutic interventions are derived from an evidence-based practice called Internal Family Systems (IFS). Also known as “parts work,” IFS suggests that individuals are made up of various “parts” or subpersonalities, and we are not one unitary identity as we often view ourselves to be. An individual’s various parts (derived from our thoughts, feelings, beliefs, and body sensations) can be thought of as different individuals that exist internally and have different wants, needs, emotions, and different relationships with one another. These subpersonalities are often in conflict with each other. Let me offer an example, one from my own experience.

​Getting out of bed in the morning is difficult for me. Always has been. Once I’m up I’m fine but pulling myself out of bed when my alarm goes off is just so hard! There is a part of me that wants to get up early, and be up before the rest of the household, and be organized and on top of it and totally prepared to start the day! Then there’s another other part of me that wants to stay under the covers, warm and protected. Just five more minutes without stress, without responsibility! My ‘On Top Of It’ part wants me to get out of bed and get going so that I can be successful in tackling the day, and my ‘Stay in Bed’ part wants me to relax and keep sleeping and give myself as much rest as possible. So the question is, which part is going to lead? Will I stay in bed or will I get up early? If I get up early another part will probably emerge, that one that tells me I’m a total winner and super awesome for being so on top of it! If I stay in bed, a part of me that feels inadequate will probably emerge and will start telling me that I don’t quite add up as a responsible adult, a good parent, whatever. My ‘On Top of It’ part and my ‘Stay in Bed’ part and my ‘Winner’ part and my ‘Inadequate’ part all have different wants, needs, thoughts and motivations, and would like to direct my behavior in certain ways to get their own needs met (needs they believe would benefit me as all of my parts are always working on my behalf).

One goal of IFS is to identify and acknowledge which parts are activated for you in various situations and what it is that each part is wanting for you, and why. Our parts are wanting to protect us. My ‘On Top Of It’ part is protecting me from feeling inadequate. My ‘Stay In Bed’ part is protecting me from the stress of the day. These parts have different ideas about how to protect me.

In addition to understanding your parts, IFS also aims to formally introduce you to your core Self, an aspect of you that is not a part but the calm, compassionate, curious core of your identity that is able to be clear, connected, and nurturing to your internal parts and to others. The ultimate goal of IFS is to allow you to tap into your core Self whenever you want to, allowing you to be welcoming and compassionate to all of your parts, and to operate from an intentional, reassured place. In reference to my example above, my Self would work to establish relationships with all of these parts, especially the ‘Inadequate’ one. The ‘Inadequate’ part that emerges is a wounded part, one that learned early on that it had to do or be something specific in order to feel accepted and worthwhile. Once in relationship to the Self, this wounded one can heal, and my protective parts can relax.

IFS differs from traditional talk therapy in that a lot of the dialogue happens internally with your own parts. Going inside and creating internal relationships can feel strange at first, but over time it can feel somewhat intuitive. If IFS sounds intriguing to (parts of) you, I encourage you to give it a try!

Contact Today



4531 SE Belmont Suite 203
Portland, OR 97215

afettmanfamilytherapy@gmail.com
(971) 804-0148

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