Exciting new therapy - IFS
I would like to share a startling new way of viewing the human psyche. A psychotherapeutic model called:
Internal family systems therapy (IFS) The centre for self-leadership
What is IFS?
It is a therapy created by Richard Schwarz in 2000 who responded to his clients’ descriptions of experiencing various – parts – some extreme - within themselves. He introduced the idea that each one of us inside has an internal family that is made of lots of different characters and ages which he refers to as ‘parts’.
If you, the reader can just pause a moment you may notice as you are reading this, there is the part of you who is showing some interest in this whilst another part might already be somewhat sceptical. There might even be part of you thinking about checking emails or attend to chores or wanting to have fun.
If you were able to identify at least 2 parts, well done and you may agree, a lot is going on in your brain. IFS suggests we are not just one functioning whole, rather we are made of many different parts functioning together, each part with their own understandings, experiences, desires, wants and needs.
IFS also suggest no matter how flawed someone perceives themselves to be, somewhere within there is a healthy functioning ‘self’ that has the capacity to be caring, calm, compassionate, curious, connected and creative who knows exactly what is right for us; this is our spiritual centre our leader.
Often I hear people say: 'there is a part of me who wants to get out of this relationship, wants to stop drinking, stop taking drugs, stop binging, not starve themselves, change my job, say no instead of trying to please, do instead of procrastinating and so on...'
You may be able to identify with one of these internal conflicts where one part wants to stop a certain behaviour for all the right reasons but there is another part that thinks about this very differently and wins all the time. Most people seek therapy when they feel utterly exhausted by the constant chatter going on in their heads.
You will have parts that are open and friendly, but others may hold unresolved fear or shame from our childhood; some are performers, others solitary thinkers, whilst others are carers for people, some help us to stay in control and some will stop at nothing to prevent us from feeling difficult emotions.
IFS encourages individuals to be kind and compassionate towards all those different parts as their main function deep, deep down is to protect and keep us safe. Often these parts are oblivious to the fact we have grown up and no longer need protecting this way. Many of my clients are already aware of parts that act rather childish.
Your IFS therapist will be encouraged to understand, befriend and accept these parts. Only when you fully accept and respect them because they are working so hard to protect will you find what you are looking for ‘inner peace’.
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About Vallie Beagle
Psychotherapist, EMDR and training to become a fully trained Internal Family systems Therapist