What is Internal Family Systems (IFS)?
Internal Family Systems (IFS) is a powerful and transformative mode of psychotherapy used to address a range of challenges and issues. A defining component of this approach is the view that our minds are naturally comprised of multiple parts or subpersonalities. This non-pathologizing approach recognizes the valuable role of each part and helps clients gain a better understanding of their inner system to heal wounds and burdens.
How does IFS work?
The IFS approach is based on self-compassion, and clients who begin therapy may not like or appreciate some of their parts (e.g., the part of them that gambles or has trouble making decisions) because these parts might interfere with optimal functioning or reaching goals. Our parts, categorized by protectors and exiles have both positive intent (e.g., to prevent rejection, avoid pain, etc.) and valuable qualities. When difficult life experiences or trauma occurs, these parts are forced into extreme roles (e.g., disconnecting us from our body, criticizing others or ourselves, etc.).
Through IFS, the therapist helps clients map out their own inner systems and develop trusting relationships with their parts, opening up channels to free parts from their extreme roles to heal wounds.