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 What is Internal Family Systems

Transformative psychotherapy… and empowering paradigm.

Internal Family Systems is a powerfully transformative, evidence-based model of psychotherapy. We believe the mind is naturally multiple and that is a good thing.  Our inner parts contain valuable qualities and our core Self knows how to heal, allowing us to become integrated and whole. In IFS all parts are welcome.

IFS is a movement. A new, empowering paradigm for understanding and harmonising the mind and, thereby, larger human systems. One that can help people heal and helps the world become a more compassionate place.

 Techniques of IFS Therapy 

  While there may be infinite parts within you, there are three main types: firefighters, managers, and exiles.

  • The firefighter parts are protectors that are activated when a trigger is present. An example of this might look like being reminded of a painful memory and using a behavior like substance use to put out the “fire” of the pain.
  • The manager parts protect you by managing situations through intense planning to do whatever they can to avoid something that might bring you deep pain.
  • Both the firefighter and manager, according to the theory, work to keep the exile from emerging and flooding you with memories of pain and trauma. 

 Benefits of IFS Therapy 

In a study of college-aged women with moderate to severe depression,4 researchers found IFS therapy to have the following benefits for the participants:

  • Gives them power through self-leadership in achieving an internal balance
  • Promotes self-compassion
  • Helps them view depression symptoms as normal reactions to stressors or trauma, rather than a diagnosis
  • Provides a better understanding of self
  • Prepares for emotional difficulty in the future 

How Is Talk Therapy Different From Talking to a Friend?