Updated: May 30, 2022
Implicit Vs. Explicit Direct Access
When most people are introduced to the Internal Family Systems model you hear about going inside and working with your parts this is known as insight. Sometimes there are times when this is not possible. This happens when you are blended (this is when the part is in the seat of consciousness). You can be a little blended which is where you are aware of the part but the Self to Part relationship is less than 70%. You can be also completed blended this is when the part thinks it is a client. When a client is blended, we use a tool called Direct Access this is where the Practitioner/Therapist uses their Self to talk to the part of the client. There are 2 types of Direct Access, and they are known as Implicit and Explicit.
Implicit Direct Access - is sometimes considered the hardest part of Internal Family Systems because it looks like regular therapy. The way we use Implicit Direct Access is by speaking to the part as if it was the client. I would suggest finding out how this part is protecting the client, and let it tell its story. Once you have heard its story and find out how it helps the client and built up enough trust you might ask the part "What if I told you weren't the client you are just a part of the client, did you know that?" You could also ask the part "What are you afraid of if you were just a part of the client?" If the part is willing to meet the client, you would start doing Insight.
Explicit Direct Access- is speaking directly to the part, the difference is the part knows it is a part it just does not want to un blend from the client. Before using this method, you MUST ask for permission to speak to the part. There are several reasons that the part does not want to un blend from the client. One reason for a part to blended is that is it afraid to step back because if it does you will go to a part that would overwhelm the client. Here is an example of using direct access: Ask to speak directly to this part that is afraid of overwhelm. Once given permission ask questions like: Tell me how this other part would overwhelm the client if we got to know it? How long have you been trying to protect the client from this part? (Normally the answer is it's done this a long time). So, you have been doing this for a long time for the client, I bet it is hard what if we just tried something different and if it works you wouldn't have to work so hard, you can always come back in if the client gets overwhelmed? If you get the go ahead you can start doing insight.
There are other examples of how to use direct access.