top of page
  • empowell1

Inside Out 2 (IFS Take Aways)

Unsurprisingly, I, an IFS informed therapist, raced to the theaters this weekend to see Inside Out 2. This movie takes us through a young person’s developing protective system, as she transitions through puberty. Here are some of my initial take aways from the movie, using an IFS framework.


ALL parts serve a purpose and have protective intentions.

In the beginning of the movie, anxiety swoops in – she is new, intense, and somewhat villainized. We soon learn that anxiety is working extremely hard to try to keep Riley safe from all of the change that she is enduring in this life transition.

As we grow, develop, and experience life, our parts also grow and develop.

There is more nuance and complexity to our parts. However, our parts often get “stuck” in certain roles, forgetting that Riley has grown and developed. They are so focused on protecting Riley in the SAME WAY as they once did, when she was much younger. We need to get to know the new parts, and let them know that we do not know them in the same way as we once did when we were younger and more powerless.

Our parts can activate other people’s parts, and vice versa.

When we are blended with our parts, especially protective parts, they will do anything to get their point across to keep us protected. This can activate the parts of other people. For example, when Riley’s protective system is activated, her friends immediately feel activated as well as her parents. When we are more embodied in Self Energy, we feel grounded, authentic, and compassionate, and therefore are not as activated by others’ parts.

When we provide our parts with what they are needing, they are able to settle back.

Anxiety is SO concerned about making sure Riley stays safe and protected! Towards the end, anxiety is given space to share, as well as compassion from other parts. She sits in a cozy chair, shares some of her concerns, and drinks tea. In this moment, she feels seen and heard, and is able to settle back and relax. This is applicable to all of our parts. When they are witnessed, they are able to soften.

When we embrace all of our parts, we have access to our Self Energy (the core essence of who we are).

At the end of the movie, Joy and Anxiety come together. They learn about how they are both trying to protect Riley, which creates an opening and spaciousness for Riley’s Self to come through. She is then able to act from her own values, rather than from her parts' urgent protective mechanisms. She feels more calm, compassionate, curious, and



Want to learn more about working with an IFS-informed therapist? Reach out today!

Parts/characters in inside out 2
"Parts" in Inside Out 2

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page