Internal Family Systems

Internal Family Systems

What is IFS?

IFS is process of connecting with your inner self so that you can proceed in world with confidence, calm, compassion, courage, creativity, clarity, curiosity, and connectedness (known in IFS as the 8Cs).

In Internal Family Systems we reconnect with our parts and repair inner wounds.

In our culture, even in our attempt to heal, we often treat the hurt parts of ourselves with the same neglect and distain that was inflicted in the initial wounding. The “just let it go” and “get past it” messages will never bring peace or relief.

In IFS, we use compassion and patience to befriend and love the parts of ourselves that have felt lost, neglected, and rejected. We give these parts space to be heard and we build harmony and safety within ourselves.

And then her body whispered, I’m not fighting against you, I’m fighting for you. In the ways you never got to. Through pain and tension, I communicate the boundaries you never learned to set. Through fatigue and exhaustion, I give you the rest you were never allowed to tak. Through headaches and brain fog, I let you know that you are doing too much. You see, I’ve always been on your side. I’m just waiting for you to be on mine. -Unknown

Your inner “self” is ready to take care of you...

IFS is a path to inner harmony. When you get to know the parts that make you who you are and offer these parts welcome, acceptance, and love, it is like creating a break in the clouds so your inner light (“self”) can shine through. I like to think of “self” as your true foundational way of being that is often overrun by the challenging and hurtful experiences that you have had.

When your “self” is allowed to shine, it is like you have found your inner person who makes you feel alive, refreshed, and safe; sees and celebrates your successes without jealousy; wants what is best for you unconditionally; is bright, loving, and loyal and brings out the best version of yourself and the parts that make up who you are. You “self” is already within you, with IFS we will help your parts and your “self” reconnect.

What do you mean “parts of me”?

Great Question!

This is probably the most common question I get.

Similar to DNMS, our “parts” can be thought of as the family of ego states that may up our “self-system”.

I like to think of our “self-system” as our “beautiful whole”.

For example, there is a part of me that wants chocolate for dinner (and this part is loud!), a part of me that wants to be healthy, and a part of me that just wants whatever is fastest and most convenient and doesn’t really care about health or chocolate. If these parts of me are healthy, they will work well together to come to a reasonable decision about dinner without causing my beautiful whole emotional or physical distress or driving me to behave in ways that don’t align with my values. If my parts are not in a state of health, this type of decision may fill me with anxiety, paralyze my decision making capabilities, or cause me exhaustion or overwhelm.

In IFS, we meet and take care of your parts so that they can be and interact within your beautiful whole in a way that is comfortable and effective.

This sounds weird but exciting, tell me more.

A: This just depends on what you are working on. I recommend clients schedule sessions every week or every other week. Some clients may only need a few sessions and some clients will stay in treatment for several months. DNMS is also a great modality to use in therapy intensives.
A: This depends on your needs and goals. We will begin and end every session with a check-in and adjust according to your needs. We often use DNMS to prepare for trauma desensitization with Brainspotting.
A: I promise that you will never be required to talk about something you do not want to talk about. However, I think you will find that as we progress in this work, you will be surprised by how much certain parts of you want to be heard. Sometimes, we start with other approaches until you are ready for DNMS.
A: IFS and DNMS have a lot of overlap. The biggest difference clients notice is the resourcing that is used in DNMS and the terminology used in IFS.
A: Yes. I have a longer intake appointment so that we can get started during your first session if you are ready to begin.
A: Yes! IFS is also a great modality to use in preparation for EMDR or Brainspotting.
A: IFS is used for a wide variety of emotional and behavioral symptoms including trauma, disordered eating, unhealth relationship patterns, anxiety, depression, substance abuse, etc.
A: Come with a curious mind and make sure you have a safe, comfortable, and private space for your appointment.
A: Afterwards, please make sure that you tend to your self-care practices (which hopefully you are learning to do every day).
A: Not usually but if you find this helpful, we can include bilateral stimulation.
A: Yes, this modality has been used successfully for over 20 years. Check out more information here: https://dnmsinstitute.com/clients/
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