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  • Writer's pictureSuzanne Teare, LCSW

Unlocking Healing with Internal Family Systems (IFS) Therapy

Internal Family Systems therapy is based on the idea that our minds are made up of different parts, each with its own thoughts, feelings, and beliefs. These parts can sometimes conflict with each other, leading to emotional distress and negative patterns of behavior. The goal of Internal Family Systems (IFS) therapy is to help individuals understand and heal these internal conflicts, allowing for greater self-awareness and emotional well-being. One of the key principles of IFS therapy is the belief that every part of us has a positive intention. Even the parts that may seem negative or destructive are trying to protect us in some way. By approaching these parts with curiosity and compassion, we can begin to understand their underlying motivations and work towards healing and integration. One technique commonly used in IFS therapy is called "parts mapping." This involves identifying and visualizing the different parts within ourselves, giving each part a name and understanding its role and purpose. By doing this, we can start to develop a deeper understanding of our internal dynamics and how they may be impacting our lives.


Mapping parts with IFS

An important aspect of Internal Family Systems therapy is the concept of the "Self." The Self is the core essence of who we are, and it is characterized by qualities such as compassion, curiosity, and calmness. In IFS therapy, the Self is the healing agent and the most supportive presence for all other parts.


The goal of the IFS therapist is to help you un-blend your parts from your true Self so that you can be in relationship to and leadership of your parts rather than inside of and managed by them. I imagine this might sound a bit mystical or unscientific, but rest assured that IFS is an evidence-based practice. When you experience this inner Self-to-part relationship, there is an 'aha' moment that often occurs, and people report feeling more calm, compassionate, and confident in that moment.


Self is the leader in IFS therapy

The benefits of IFS therapy are numerous. By understanding and healing our internal conflicts, we can experience greater self-acceptance, improved relationships, and increased emotional well-being. This therapy approach has been shown to be particularly effective in addressing trauma, as it allows individuals to safely explore and process their past experiences. If you are interested in integrating IFS therapy into your healing journey, it is recommended to seek out a therapist who is Level 1 trained or beyond in this approach through the IFS Institute. They will be able to guide you through the process and provide the support you need to unlock healing and transformation. Healing trauma is possible, and Internal Family Systems therapy can be a powerful tool in unlocking your true potential.

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