Internal Family Systems
Internal Family Systems (IFS) is a therapeutic approach first developed in the 80’s by Richard Schwartz PhD and then validated in 2015 when listed in the National Registry for Evidence-based Programs and Practices (NREPP) as an evidence-based practice.
IFS is a respectful approach that is guided by your curiosity and at your pace.
Based on the understanding that we are all born with parts and that some may be forced to hold extreme roles in the system such as Controlling parts or Numbing parts, acting from the age they were given these roles. IFS is a simple and respectful process, and many people can learn to do it for themselves.
First of all we Find, Focus on and beFriend parts that act as protectors, the Managers and the Firefighters. Understanding their importance and accepting them, no matter how extreme their roles are at the moment. Then helping them to know you and your curiosity or compassion for them and your courage as an adult who can now provide for the system’s safety.
Once the Protectors have confidence in you, permission can be received to attend to the wounded part they have been protecting all these years. In IFS this wounded part is called an Exile. This is where old wounds reside, hurts and false beliefs are bound and emotions continue to emerge to get your attention.
Then through the release of the Exiles from these burdens and the uncovering of the beliefs they are free to recover the qualities that have been missing since that day they were overwhelmed. It is a gentle and respectful process.
People say that they feel lighter and more joyous in the present moment. Also more connected with themselves and more able to speak up, or less likely to need to please others. Some have said that they have finally realised that they do matter and are as important as anyone else.
This work will often release the need to continue behaviours that don’t bring joy.