Internal Family Systems Therapy (IFS) is one of the fastest-growing psychotherapeutic models in the world, providing a clear, non-pathological, and empowering understanding of human cognitive and emotional life.
IFS states that every person is born with parts in which personality aspects are stored. These parts are shaped by what they experience. For example, there may be parts that are especially vulnerable (due to trauma or other negative experiences) and parts that are more proactive or reactive. If vulnerable parts are overwhelming, other parts will “radicalize” to hide this vulnerability from the system. Think, for example, of addiction, pleasing, isolating yourself, aggression, dissociation, overanalyzing, etc. The parts often form these ‘burdens’ at a young age and have not developed over time.
At the root of these parts is Self-energy, which is your essence without behavior or emotion and is innate. You may have said or thought, “I’m out of touch with myself.” If you are reactive or overwhelmed with emotions, your Self-energy will be overshadowed and it will be very difficult to connect with it. In IFS therapy, parts are ‘healed’ by Self, giving them back their authentic, less radical and overwhelming identity. Behavior becomes less radical because it is no longer constantly triggered by vulnerable feelings. They are rescued from the prison of the past. As a therapist you support, the client is central and is leading in the process.
Richard C. Schwartz, the founder of IFS therapy, developed the IFS model more than 30 years ago. IFS is now practiced by thousands of licensed therapists and other health professionals around the world. It is a transparent yet sophisticated approach that integrates psychology and spirituality as well as intrapsychic theory and family systems theory.
- Shows to be effective in treating trauma;
- Is a client-driven approach to therapeutic work that fully respects the pace and goals of each client;
- Establishes a productive, trusting, and collaborative partnership between therapist and client;
- Helps the therapist/counselor to stay centered and candid.
- Also works well with couples, families, groups and children;
IFS therapy differs from traditional approaches to psychotherapy because it uses parts theory in a very complex way. IFS teaches you to dialogue with your internal parts or ‘personalities’, build a relationship with them and help them recover. It shows how you can reach a state of mind where you no longer identify with any part.
It allows you to quickly reach the source of your problems, the most wounded nooks and crannies of your psyche and heal these wounds and release emotional burdens that have been carried for a long time. In addition, IFS is an effective self-therapy method.