Tracking Protective Sequences

Toni Herbine-Blank has adapted the Internal Family Systems model to work with couples, calling her approach Intimacy from the Inside Out®. A cornerstone of this work is tracking protective sequences, which illuminates the endless loop (really a sideways figure 8) in which couples get trapped.  I put together a worksheet to help couples clarify the four parts and the roles that feed off of each other.  You can see and download it here.

I suggest that couples work together to figure out which of their exiles and protectors are caught up in this dance.  It can be freeing to see how neither person is really to blame for the painful dynamic -- that both are victims of the pattern.  The way out of the trap is for each person to learn to speak for their own exile rather than from the protector, and to develop compassion for the exile in the other.

Of course, this is one of the interventions that we could work on together in sessions.

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