Melissa Sandfort, IFSCP

Melissa with puppets, laughing

Many years ago, one of my parts asked, "Can we get stuffed animals to represent us?" 
My managers replied, "Absolutely NOT! I'm not going to have stuffed animals all over the house! Forget it!" 

One day at Ikea, I saw a set of sea-creature finger puppets. One of my parts said, “The managers rejected our request for stuffed animals. But finger puppets won't be 'all over the house.' Can we use finger puppets to represent ourselves?" The managers thought about this, decided it was a fair solution, and let me buy my first set of 10 Ikea finger puppets. Soon I had a shark, a yellow crab, a shrimp, and a few fish to represent my parts. 

In 2009, I took my fourth Level 3 IFS training at the Mercy Center in Burlingame, California. The nuns at the retreat center supported Peruvian women by selling their handmade finger puppets. My parts were ASTOUNDED and MESMERIZED by these puppets, and pleaded, "Buy more puppets for us!!" Despite typical managerial financial concerns, I went ahead and bought every finger puppet they wanted -- over $300 worth of finger puppets. It was one of the best investments in my IFS work I have ever made. I was able to represent dozens of parts exactly the way they wanted to be represented. It sped up my work in many ways. It helped me feel more compassion towards each cute puppet part; it helped me unblend; it helped hold the complexity of many parts at one time; it helped maintain consistency in my work… it was a profound revolution in my capacity to deeply relate to all my parts from a Self-led place. I would not be the person I am today, if I had not invested $300 in those finger puppets. For the price of a few therapy sessions, I turbo charged my IFS practice for years to come. 

I've been using finger puppets in my IFS work very extensively since 2009.  With thousands of puppet–based IFS sessions under my belt, both personally and with clients,  I am extremely excited about the power of using puppets to personify parts, and I'm passionate about sharing what I’ve learned. 

Melissa’s IFS life coaching practice in Chicago & worldwide: