Have you ever reacted to a situation and thought to yourself “wait, where did that reaction come from??”
Have you ever been triggered by something (or someone!) and found yourself behaving in a way you thought you’d moved past - Why did that moment caused me to react like I’m five years old?
Have you ever felt stuck in a pattern of behaviors or thoughts and found it difficult to move forward?
Maybe you’ve been doing traditional talk therapy for a long time and you have this sense that there is deeper work to be done. You’d like to get to the source of what is causing your distress instead of continuing to only address the symptoms.
If any of these situations feel familiar, the Internal Family Systems model could be a good fit for you.
What is Internal Family Systems? Internal Family Systems is a transformative, evidence-based model of psychotherapy. We believe that our minds are naturally multiple and that our inner worlds have parts that have valuable qualities. These parts of us can show up at different times as they are needed. Remember the Pixar movie Inside Out? Riley had different parts of her that jumped in to help her in different situations.
As valuable and helpful as these parts are, they can often come into conflict with each other in our inner world and with other people's parts in our outer world. What's more, parts can be forced into 'extreme' roles due to trauma and attachment injuries. When we have unsafe or negative experiences, parts can be burdened with extreme memories, emotions or sensations.
We also have inherent wisdom and ability that is found in our 'Self.' Our Self is the wise healing energy that, when accessed, has the potential to lead our different 'parts.' Life events can make it hard to access this Self energy, but everyone has a Self. Self can not be damaged or destroyed.
You have experienced Self-energy even if you did not put words to the experience. Self-energy is present when we feel calm, connected, curious, compassionate, confident, courageous, clear and creative.
There are no ‘bad’ parts, just overburdened parts. The goal of therapy is not to get rid of parts but is to help unburden parts so they can find non-extreme roles.
"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.”
The IFS model "welcomes allpeople of any age, race, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation, class, ability, language or cultural background into the Internal Family Systems community.
You are welcome here, and all of your parts are welcome too."