The Internal Family System is a theory that our mind contains multiple parts. These parts together form one’s True Self. Like family members, a person’s inner parts take on different roles. Each has its perspective, interests, memories, and viewpoints. That said, you can only fully understand yourself by exploring these parts of yourself. By learning how these parts contribute to your True Self, you can identify which parts of you are causing conflict in your life. An Internal Family System Therapist can help you learn to manage these parts of yourself to continue growing.
What is Internal Family Systems Therapy?
Internal Family Systems (IFS) therapy addresses your sub-personas (or families) within your mental system. Typically, these sub-personas are typically wounded parts and painful emotions, such as anger or shame. Often, these sub-personas conflict with each other. IFS therapy focuses on healing your inner child and restoring the mental harmony of the Self.
The IFS model includes Three Assumptions:
- Each person has a Self, and the Self should coordinate the inner family
- There is no such thing as a “bad part” of a person’s sub-personas
- Personal growth leads to the development of the inner family
What us IFS Used For?
IFS is used to treat individuals, couples, and families. It is a heavily researched and evidence-based approach effective for treating various conditions. Some of these conditions include:
- Trauma, such as PTSD or Complex PTSD
- Physical, emotional, or sexual abuse
- Compulsive behaviors
- Depression, Anxiety, and other mental health concerns
- Body image issues
- Anger Management
- Substance abuse or dependency
What to Expect from an IFS Therapist
An IFS session may take the form of talk therapy. However, an Internal Family Systems Therapist may also focus on a person’s internal environment to connect the different parts of the Self. Here, the goal is to identify which part of the Self continues to engage in harmful behaviors. Again, the focus is on a person’s internal environment. The therapist will often encourage you to “turn down the volume” of any fear, hatred, disgust, or shame felt towards the part of the Self to hear what it has to say.
IFS Techniques and Exercises
In IFS, you will work to understand your inner Self through simple exercises and techniques. Depending on your and your therapist’s agreement, many may involve deep breathing to promote mental clarity and relaxation. In addition, some other standard techniques are:
- Diagraming your inner relationships
- The Room Technique
- Getting to know whoever is within you
- Feeling one’s heart – is your heart emotionally open or closed?
The Internal Family System theory is that you cannot be understood by someone else until you learn how your inner personas work together. An Internal Family Systems Therapist works to help you identify which part of yourself is causing conflict in your life. With practice, you will identify why you do what you do and map the correlation between how part of you feels and your decisions. In IFS, you and your therapist will devise a system to bring all your multiple personas together to work in harmony with your True Self.
Family Strategies Counseling & Mediation provides in-person couples counseling in Homewood, IL. In addition, we offer family counseling and mental health services. Our skilled therapists work with those struggling to process traumatic events. Call our office at (708) 798-5433 or email us at info@Family-Strategy.com for appointment details.