Internal Family Systems
What is IFS?
Internal Family Systems (IFS) is a type of psychotherapy that assumes that everyone has multiple sub-personalities that take on various roles within ourselves. These sub-personalities exist around the person’s self and IFS allows for healing to occur when our parts are understood by the self in a more compassionate lens.
What to expect in an IFS session?
In an IFS session, the IFS therapist guides you in identifying your sub-personalities and the roles that they have taken on in your personality structure. Working with parts means that you are learning to understand your sub-personalities, their function and their role while simultaneously gaining insights about yourself and your behaviours through this process. Just by connecting with a particular part of ourselves, we can begin to understand the protective nature of our parts and how they came to take on these roles through the experiences that we have had.
What is IFS used to treat?
IFS in evidence based psychotherapy that has been shown to be effective in treating symptoms of anxiety, depression, PTSD obsessive-compulsive conditions, self-esteem and some physical health conditions.
It generally takes 2 to 3 sessions to get an understanding of your parts and their roles but relief from symptoms can start quickly, often in just one session. IFS can be integrated with other forms of psychotherapy and is often used in conjunction with EMDR therapy.
Trauma comes back as a reaction, not a memory.
Bessel Van Der Kolk
What are the benefits of IFS therapy?
IFS therapy is rooted in self-compassion and helps you to view yourself and your behaviours from a lens of adaptation and survival rather than seeing yourself defective or disordered. This shift in understanding can have a positive impact on your self-esteem and may give you more confidence to manage emotional difficulties that may arise in the future. IFS therapists work from understanding that you already have the ability to heal your system, you just need some support in understanding yourself in relationship to your parts.