Overcoming Doubt and Self-Sabotage: A New Perspective

  • IFS approach to overcoming doubt and self-sabotage

In our journey through life, we often encounter internal obstacles, such as doubt and self-sabotage, which can hinder our progress and prevent us from achieving our goals. To navigate these challenges effectively, it can be helpful to explore different therapeutic perspectives. One such approach is Internal Family Systems (IFS), a type of psychotherapy that provides a unique lens through which to view these issues. But, how do we start overcoming doubt and self-sabotage from an IFS perspective.

What is Doubt and Self-Sabotage in the IFS Model?

In the IFS model, our psyche is seen as comprising multiple “parts,” each with its own personality traits, roles, and perspectives. These parts interact as a family might, with different members taking on various roles, such as protectors, managers, or exiles.

Doubt and self-sabotage can be understood as protectors in the IFS model. These parts arise as mechanisms to shield our vulnerable ‘exiled’ parts – those that carry pain, trauma, or negative beliefs about ourselves – from perceived threats or harm.

How Do Doubt and Self-Sabotage Stop Us?

From an IFS perspective, doubt and self-sabotage act as protective barriers to prevent us from experiencing pain or discomfort. For instance, doubt may arise when we’re about to take a big step or make a significant change in our lives. This part steps in, questioning our abilities and decisions to protect us from potential failure or disappointment.

Similarly, self-sabotage steps in when we’re on the verge of success or stepping out of our comfort zone, as these situations may bring up fear, vulnerability, or past hurts. By sabotaging our efforts, this part believes it’s protecting us from potential harm.

While these parts have good intentions, their protective strategies can keep us stuck in unhelpful patterns and prevent us from reaching our full potential.

Strategies to Overcome Doubt and Self-Sabotage

  1. Cultivate Self-Awareness

Recognise that doubt and self-sabotage are parts of you, not the entirety of your being. By acknowledging their presence and understanding their protective roles, you can begin to separate your true self from these parts.

  1. Develop a Relationship with Your Parts

IFS encourages us to develop a compassionate relationship with our parts. Engage in dialogue with your doubting or self-sabotaging parts. Ask them why they’re acting as they are and what they fear might happen if they don’t intervene.

  1. Reassure Your Parts

Once you understand the fears and concerns of these parts, reassure them. Let them know that you appreciate their efforts to protect you, but also explain that their strategies may not be helpful or necessary anymore.

  1. Access Your Self

In IFS, the ‘Self’ is our core essence, characterised by qualities like compassion, confidence, and clarity. By accessing this Self, we can lead and heal our parts, providing them with the reassurance and guidance they need to let go of their protective roles.

  1. Seek Professional Help

If you find it challenging to navigate this process alone, consider seeking help from an IFS-trained therapist. They can guide you through the process of understanding, communicating with, and healing your parts.


From an IFS perspective, doubt and self-sabotage are not enemies to be conquered but parts to be understood and healed. By approaching these parts with curiosity, compassion, and patience, we can transform our relationship with them and free ourselves from the restrictions they impose. This journey of overcoming doubt and self-sabotage may not be easy, but the rewards – increased self-awareness, personal growth, and freedom from self-imposed barriers – are well worth the effort.

Tracey Janke is a dedicated IFS-based therapist committed to guiding you toward self-discovery and healing. Don’t miss the opportunity to connect with her and explore how IFS therapy can transform your life. Book your 15-minute complimentary call today by dialling 07 34581725 or clicking the button below. Discover the profound impact of IFS therapy and take the first step towards a more fulfilled you.

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