What is IFS?

In this article, I will be discussing a bit about IFS therapy and what it is. I will talk about the aspects of IFS and how it works. I will also talk about the benefits of IFS therapy.

Internal Family Systems (IFS) is a therapeutic approach developed by Dr. Richard Schwartz in the 1980’s. IFS is a model of psychotherapy that works with the concepts of “parts” within a person’s psyche. According to IFS, people have various internal parts, like little internal people, each with its own distinct characteristics, beliefs, and emotions. These parts may sometimes be in conflict with one another, leading to inner turmoil, anxiety, and other psychological issues.

What are “Parts?”

Having different parts of yourself is a critical element in IFS therapy. The belief of this concept is that we all have different parts that make us whole. These parts have different wants, fears, needs, and so on. It is almost like they all have their own personality. This is not the same nor is it to be confused with multiple personality disorder or dissociative identity disorder. As well, there is evidence from neurobiology, that this is actually how the brain is organized, with different parts which have different roles and tasks. For more information on parts, check out this article.

How does it work?

IFS is both an approach and a way of thinking about how people work. The IFS approach can include a focus of  working with these different parts of a person’s psyche in a way that helps the individual  communicate and work together more effectively with the different parts of their personality. The goal is to help people develop greater self-awareness, self-compassion, and inner peace. 

For example, some very kind people can have anger inside, or sadness, or some behavior that they don’t quite understand, and which feelings and actions may not be welcome. IFS is an approach for understanding these feelings and actions from the point of view of the feeling, with the overall goal of helping the person not only stop unwanted behaviors, but to become more integrated, rather than just white knuckling it through forced self control.

Benefits of IFS

IFS has been used to treat a wide range of mental health issues, such as anxiety, depression, trauma, relationship problems, and more. It is a versatile approach that can be used with individuals, couples, families, and groups. 

One of the significant  benefits of IFS is its emphasis on self-compassion. Clients are encouraged to approach their parts with curiosity and understanding, rather than judgment and criticism. This can help people develop greater self-acceptance and self-love, leading to improved mental health.

In Conclusion

Internal Family Systems is a powerful approach to therapy that can help people develop greater self-awareness, self-compassion, and inner peace. It has a focus on empowering clients, which makes it a valuable option for people considering therapy.