IFS also sees people as being whole, underneath this collection of parts. Everyone has a true self or spiritual center, known as the Self to distinguish it from the parts. Even people whose experience is dominated by parts have access to this Self and its healing qualities of curiosity, connectedness, compassion, and calmness. IFS sees the therapist's job as helping the client to disentangle themselves from their parts and access the Self, which can then connect with each part and heal it, so that the parts can let go of their destructive roles and enter into a harmonious collaboration, led by the Self. IFS explicitly recognizes the spiritual nature of the Self, allowing the model to be helpful in spiritual development as well as psychological healing.
Self is the leader of the other parts, so the self is naturally interested in connecting with the other parts. This model is curious in that each part is recognized as a personality in its own right. So the Self may question, interact or be compassionate with the parts. This makes sense that many parts may be primal in origin and other parts may be modern in origin, thereby allowing us to deal with each part in an abstract way.
Self is not manufactured. Self is love that looks after the parts and is defined by the core values.
Accepting all of the inner parts can be difficult. One of the inner parts that I have found difficult to accept is my shy side. The shy part is probably an exile. In that case it would have been getting to know the exile and understand the pain that the part was in. To have clarity I have to set other parts aside to accept the shy part. One of the key things is to heal the part.
Usually there is a Protector covering the Exile, build trust with the protector to get permission from the Protectors to work with the Exiles so that healing can be done. There are three healing steps. In self observe the burden. One is Reparenting where the Exile is given the correct parenting pattern. Retrieval is where the Exile is taken out of the past and taken into a new place. Finally is unburdening where the Exile is asked to release the burdens to light, fire water etc. Finally the protector is approached to release its role as protector of the other part.
Self is the natural leader and also the healer of all of the subpersonalities. If the Self becomes sufficiently weak then a protector will take over the role of Self, leaving little ability to heal since protectors are resistive and critical.
Personally I have experienced a situation where the Self has failed and an emotionless protector taken over the lead. One of my protectors has the capacity to work in a totally unemotional way. I expect that this would be a particularly useful subpersonalityfor hunting prey or acts of war that is put away at the end of the activity and emotional response allowed to return from the Self.