What is Internal Family Systems?
Despite what it sounds like, Internal Family Systems Therapy (IFS), is not a form of family therapy. Rather, Internal Family Systems is a specific type of therapy that works to heal trauma, attachment wounds, shame, self-criticism, and self-hatred and transforms them into self-compassion and authenticity.
IFS recognizes that humans are complicated and multi-layered beings.
As the different elements of a person are explored, they can often feel at odds with each other. For example: perhaps a part of you knows that taking a walk in the evening would benefit your mind and body, but another part of you is determined to catch up on your favorite shows and sit on the couch. Both feel true, but they are opposite.
You can think of these needs as separate elements of a person, similar to what was portrayed through the Disney animated feature film, Inside Out. Each part has its own perspective, feelings, memories, goals, and motivations. We all have parts like the inner critic, the abandoned child, the pleaser, the angry part, and the loving caretaker.
For some people, these parts feel more integrated, and for others the parts seem in more conflict. IFS therapy helps get to know all the parts of you and heal in a deeply meaningful way that creates change for a lifetime.
Individuals and couples benefit from Internal Family Systems therapy when the internal feelings seem in conflict, areas of life don’t seem congruent with other areas, or shame and self-contempt are at the forefront. IFS has been proven helpful for physical ailments such as Rheumatoid Arthritis, as well. It is a powerful and broad form of healing.
With Internal Family Systems, we do something altogether different from many forms of treatment. In IFS we welcome all our parts with curiosity and compassion. We seek to understand them and appreciate their efforts to help us. And, we don’t lose sight of the ways they may be causing us problems.
Shame has never healed a heart. It might change behavior in the short term, but only care and compassion heal. Therefore, with IFS we develop a relationship of caring and trust with each part, and then take the steps to release it from its burdens so it can function in a healthy way.
We’d love to share more about IFS and work with you to determine if it’s a fit for you.