An Approach That Focuses on Solutions
What is Internal Family Systems (IFS)?
Internal Family Systems therapy (IFS) is an evidenced based therapy modality that has developed over the past 20+ years. It is now one of the fastest growing approaches to psychotherapy. IFS is a non-pathological approach to healing, transformation, and personal development. It asserts that people can heal and change themselves through tapping into their own inherent resources and wisdom.
Theory of Internal Family Systems (IFS)?
For decades (dating back to Jung in 1913) many therapists and researchers have found that each human being is multifaceted and that there is always more to us than meets the eye. Much of which may lie deep in our sub/unconscious, beneath our everyday awareness. However, many of us, being multifaceted, can recognize different states of being throughout our lives. We may call them moods, sides, facets or parts.
For example, you may have a “part” that loves a job and a “part” that hates that same job. You may have caught yourself saying things like “Well, a part of me wants to be with him/her and a part of me doesn’t want to be with this person at all." Another example is when we make a mistake, for instance, there can be a very tender part who may feel sad or be embarrassed and then another part who berates us by speaking very critically, “You are stupid, you’re not good enough, how could you do that, no one will ever like you, this will never be fixed, etc.” That part is known as the “Inner Critic.”
We usually call this “internal conflict’ or “inner turmoil.” And it is…a conflict within us. So, who is in conflict?
Each of these facets are valid and each one needs to be addressed. In doing so, we will experience more inner peace and harmony. In addition, we can avoid being hi-jacked by intense emotions, beliefs or unhelpful behaviors that may have become a habit. We then live from a place of wisdom and clarity. In addition, we will be discovering and utilizing inner resources that we’ve had all along.
In the field of mental health, most training's and therapies focus on the “symptom” on “what’s wrong.” All the focus is on how to attack or diminish this particular symptom. But what happens is we may put a band-aid on this symptom or even diminish it. Yet, this kind of approach leaves the root cause of the problem untouched. If you kill a weed by cutting it, what will happen? It will grow back. So, we need to get to the root of the weed and actually pull it out.
Does IFS work?
In my work, IFS has proven to be extraordinary. This method works on a wide spectrum of issues from solving problems, peak performance, relationship problems, anxiety, depression and trauma, etc.
The Self Leadership theory believes that people have an innate capacity, wisdom, depth and intuitive knowledge that may be blocked by any number of fears or circumstances. By gently releasing these fears (known or not), we can tap into our internal resources and release any burdens we may be carrying. So, rather than utilizing a therapy that is focused upon superficial change, IFS is a very self-empowering therapy that brings about deep and long lasting change.