IFS: Internal Family Systems Therapy

Ever found yourself in an inner battle? You decide to start exercising regularly but end up binge-watching Netflix instead. Or perhaps you need to prepare for an important exam but opt to party all weekend. Maybe you plan to take some me-time but feel guilty about not calling your mother? We all experience inner deliberations and conflicts, but often, we don’t even realize it because it’s a normal part of how we function. Just as our bodies have various organs, our psyches consist of numerous parts – emotions, beliefs, thoughts, and aspects. Many of these parts serve essential functions, such as the student part, caretaker part, perfectionist part, or parent part. When we face overwhelming experiences that challenge our coping abilities, specific parts of us bear the emotional weight and the meaning we derive from those experiences.

These parts may carry the pain of various events, from abuse or neglect to childhood teasing or getting lost in a forest. These parts help us navigate life’s challenges and emotions. However, life goes on, and we must function despite our pain. So, our protective parts develop ways to shield us from difficult emotions and ensure we don’t encounter similar situations again. We might overeat, overwork, overindulge in alcohol, or engage in excessive shopping. Other times, we may become excessively angry, withdrawn, or attempt to control situations beyond our control. While these protective parts work diligently, their solutions may not benefit the rest of our system or become outdated as we grow and change. Then there’s our Self, often referred to as the soul, compassionate witness, or core. It’s the unchanging essence of who we are – our center – and it remains indestructible, unaltered, and whole. While other parts of our psyche may temporarily overshadow it or take control, the Self always persists.

This understanding forms the foundation of Internal Family Systems (IFS) Therapy. Developed over the past four decades, IFS offers a compassionate worldview and a way to comprehend ourselves and those around us. It’s a non-pathologizing model for working with and healing our inner systems, ultimately transforming our external behaviors and responses. IFS provides a well-structured and gentle approach to engaging with your inner parts with curiosity, compassion, and love. It has been employed globally, with thousands of people experiencing liberation and transformation through IFS. It presents a straightforward yet potent method for Self-connection, Self-leadership and positive personal growth.