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Poker and IFS psychotherapy

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Poker and IFS psychotherapy

Hi, my name is Mike and I've been playing poker for 18 years already. I never felt fully satisfied with this career and to be honest I never gave it my all, I've been kind of winging it most of the time. My strategy is mostly based on MDA (shoutout to the Howard brothers) and simplified protocols.

Here are my results from NL200+ since 2022:

For as long as I remember I've been experiencing a lot of anxiety in my life and I've been trying to mitigate it in different ways. My mental game has always been my biggest leak, especially since I started playing as a young teenager without really having established any emotional intelligence. Around 3 years ago a friend of mine told me about Internal Family Systems and at the same time I read that it was being used as one of the main psychotherapy modalities in the MDMA studies led by MAPS (Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies). At that time in my life I was going through a very difficult relationship and a lot of my emotional wounds were being triggered and I finally admitted to myself that I won't be able to deal with all of this on my own, so I decided to give IFS a try and I started seeing a therapist.

Since then I read most of the books on this subject, and I bored my friends and family to death with how great of a tool it is to deal with one's emotions and to heal trauma. Right now I'm in the middle of IFS level 1 training to become a practitioner myself so that I can guide other people through their inner worlds. I'd like to focus my attention on poker players cause I'm personally experienced with pretty much all the struggles they regularly go through and I already started practicing my therapeutical (or rather guiding) skills on a few players found on some poker discord channels.

I'm not planning to give up poker any time soon and I still want to try to get to high stakes at my own pace, but now that I found something that gives me a lot of satisfaction besides just some zeros on my account, I'd like to spend more and more of my time and energy on helping others on their path to healing and connecting with their true self.

I'd like to use this blog both as a poker journal to motivate myself to keep working on my game and as a way to spread the good word of IFS and the importance of psychological self-care in a life of a poker player. If I had a chance to give one piece of advice to my 18 year-old self (who struggled with a lot of emotional swings when playing poker and dealt with a lot of social anxiety), it would be: "Go to therapy ASAP, don't waste your time deluding yourself you'll be able to deal with everything on your own." Let me know if there's anything you'd like to know about IFS or psychedelics or maybe even how I use MDA to work on my game (although I think Nick and Patrick already have quite a lot of great content about this). I'm always happy to help :)

Thanks for being here!

Mike

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