What is IFS?
Have you ever said “a part of me feels this way, but another part of me feels another way”? Or, maybe you feel that your anxiety, anger, or sadness seems to be leading your life without your permission? You know that those parts are not the whole you, but it seems to be adding to the stress in your life? You are not alone. Internal Family Systems is a non-pathologizing approach that blends mindfulness, systems thinking, and the theory of multiplicity of mind. This process allows you time to get to know the different parts of yourself, build your relationship with those parts, and strengthen your foundational energy so that your true Self can lead the life you most want.
The focus of this modality is actually on the first word, internal. IFS is a model that focuses on a person’s internal system as various parts, almost like a family. Everyone in a family has different personalities that interact with each other differently. At its core, Internal Family Systems work is about relearning to trust in your Self and strengthening your capacity to deal with whatever comes your way in your inner or outer life.
How can IFS help?
IFS provides a way to regulate your emotions and improve your problem solving skills, which has implications in every area of your life from relationships to job and career performance. It is effective to address issues related to trauma, anxiety, anger, depression and many other issues that you may face daily.
What does IFS in a session look like?
There’s nothing “weird” about IFS therapy. In fact, how the therapy is conducted is largely up to you.
In an IFS counseling session, your therapist may ask you some questions related to your internal environment and how you may feel about a particular part or aspect of your life.
Using the IFS framework, your therapist may encourage you to identify which of your inner parts are functioning in healthy roles and which are functioning in extreme roles. By acknowledging that there are no “bad” parts — just parts that may become frozen or dysfunctional — you and your therapist can work to achieve an inner balance, in which all parts communicate clearly.
In addition to talk therapy, your therapist may recommend a variety of coping mechanisms as part of your IFS treatment, including:
– Practicing breathing and visualization exercises
– Keeping a journal
– Using diagrams to illustrate the relationships between parts
Ultimately, IFS is a permission-based and client-led treatment. You can decide which practices you’re ready for and when.