What is Internal Family Systems (IFS)?
Have you ever said, "a part of me wants to be lazy, but another part of me know I have to do work?" Or, "a part of me really doesn't want to go to this dumb event, but another part of me knows I should." With IFS, we can discover many "parts" of our self that have different wants, needs, desires, and roles. And because of that, we can often experience inner conflict, self-criticism, or frustration with being torn in our decisions, actions, and feelings.
Internal Family Systems therapy is a non-pathologizing approach to therapy. It emphasizes the natural multiplicity of the mind and our various sub-personalities. The grounding assumption is that there are no bad parts, only parts forced into bad roles. When you learn how to access Self, the part of you filled with compassion and understanding, you can then heal your wounded parts. This brings the whole system into harmony and allows one to become more Self-led with less internal conflict. The natural side effect of this healing is a reduction in self-sabotaging behaviors or self-criticism.
Parts work is a great way to be curious about your inner world and the multiplicity of the mind. Getting acquainted with the various roles that parts take on allows you the opportunity to find alternative ways to meet their underlying needs. Often times, wounded parts need the opportunity to heal in order for protector parts to take it down a notch. This work is dynamic and experiential in nature and can be illuminating, creative and healing.