My Journey with Internal Family Systems

What is Internal Family Systems?

IFS: A Revolutionary Path to Inner Healing

I wanted to share my experience with a transformative psychotherapy approach called Internal Family Systems (IFS).

I’ve been a practicing Master Life & Relationship Coach for over 15 years now and IFS is one of the best and most effective therapeutic approaches I have ever discovered.

Developed by Richard Schwartz, this innovative model offers a fresh perspective on understanding the complexities of the human mind and offers a unique path towards healing and personal development.

In this blog post, I give you 13 reasons why I use IFS personally and why I feel it stands head and shoulders above other therapeutic approaches. It is worth considering for your own journey of self-exploration and healing and it has personally changed my life.

1. Embracing the Multiple Mind Paradigm

IFS is founded on the notion that our minds consist of many parts, akin to subpersonalities. It can feel like you have a whole cast of characters dwelling in your mind.

Acknowledging the existence of these various parts allows for a deeper understanding and exploration of one’s inner landscape.

2. Versatility in Psychotherapy and Self-Therapy

One of the significant advantages of IFS is its versatility. It can be effectively applied both in the therapeutic setting, guided by someone like myself, a trained IFS therapist or used as a self-therapy practice. I found it empowering to be able to take an active role in my own healing process in between sessions with my coach.

3. Redefining “Pathology”

In IFS, there is no such thing as “pathology.”

Instead, IFS believes, each of us as individuals, has had struggles from difficult life experiences that create protective parts in our internal family system. And we all have the innate capacity to completely heal those experiences through our parts.

This compassionate perspective resonated deeply with me.

4. A Holistic Approach to Healing

What set IFS apart for me is how it recognizes the interplay between the mind, body, and soul during the therapeutic process.

While most other approaches focus primarily on the cognitive and emotional aspects, IFS emphasizes the importance of somatic awareness, mindfulness and guided meditation.

By integrating these elements, I have found IFS facilitates a more comprehensive and profound transformation for my clients.

This integration felt like a missing piece in my own journey toward change. I was able to recognize how my feelings connected to sensations in my body and those corresponded to one of my parts.

Now if I want to connect to a part, I can do it almost instantaneously by touching into my feeling or sensations.

5. Cultivating Self-Leadership and Inner Relationships

Unlike traditional therapy models, where the client-therapist relationship takes center stage, IFS places emphasis on the relationship between the Self—the core, authentic essence—and your various parts.

Rather than relying solely on the client-therapist relationship, as an IFS therapist, I guide my clients in establishing a self-independent leadership within their own internal family system.

It empowers them to become the leader of their own healing process and of all their parts.

6. Understanding the Whole System

What fascinated me the most about IFS, was its focus on the entire internal system, rather than isolated parts like you do in hypnosis.

By exploring the relationships between my parts, I gained a deeper understanding of the complexities within me. It also allowed me to see the bigger picture and foster a sense of interconnectedness within myself.

7. Efficient Problem Resolution

One of the remarkable aspects of IFS is its ability to uncover core issues and beliefs in a relatively short period.

In just 15-20 minutes, my clients often experienced profound breakthroughs and gained valuable insights. This efficiency sets IFS apart from other therapeutic modalities, where problem resolution may require multiple sessions over many years.

8. Embracing Self-Work Between Sessions

IFS encourages self-work as an integral part of the therapeutic process. I found this emphasis on personal exploration and reflection accelerates the therapeutic process and encourages my clients to take an active role in their healing.

By engaging in regular self-reflection and exploration, it accelerated my progress and deepened my self-awareness.

9. Personal Testimony of Effectiveness

The effectiveness of IFS is not just a theoretical concept, but something I experienced firsthand.

Many of the emotional burdens that weighed me down a good portion of my life have been released, and I now feel a sense of freedom.

For instance, I have a part that never let me relax and was always pushing me to “do something.” It was relentless and I always felt guilty if I was not being productive or busy. Once I got to know this part, I realized this was how I got recognition and love in my family, by always being “productive.”

If I was productive, I was lovable and good enough. This part was still trying to be good enough by getting acknowledgment from other people and even from my parents even though they have both been dead for many years.

Now I can be busy and productive if my desire is to get something done, not from having to prove my worthiness.

That personal transformation solidified my belief in the power of the IFS model.

10. Delving into the Depths

One of the most captivating aspects of IFS is its ability to facilitate deep inner exploration.

Whenever I entered my inner world through IFS, I felt like I was touching upon something profoundly significant. It allowed me to access hidden aspects, unresolved wounds, and untapped potential within myself. This journey into the depths of my being brought about profound insights and transformation.

One of my most profound transformations was my reaction to people being angry with me. I used to get very afraid and upset when someone got mad, based on having a mother who seemed to be angry at me quite often for no reason.

Once I was able to get in touch with that younger fearful part, I now can be with someone who is angry at me and be curious instead of instantly afraid. I am still a work in progress around this issue but the more I connect with that part of myself the easier it gets.

11. Evidence-Based Approach

What impressed me about IFS is its evidence-based foundation.

Scientific studies have shown its effectiveness in helping individuals with conditions like Rheumatoid Arthritis. The positive outcomes reported by IFS patients, including reduced pain and improved physical function, provided solid evidence of its efficacy. This evidence reinforced the effectiveness and credibility of the IFS model.

12. Unleashing Self-Energy and Inner Resources

At the core of IFS is the concept of “Self-energy.” It taps into the deep well of acceptance, kindness, and understanding that resides within each of us.

Through IFS therapy, I learned to access and nurture these inner resources. This process unleashed a profound sense of self-compassion and understanding, not only towards myself but also towards others in my life.

13. A New Perspective on Life

IFS transcends being a mere psychotherapy approach; it becomes a way of life. Integrating contact and communication with my subpersonalities into my daily routine has brought about significant changes.

I have developed a new way of looking at myself, my life, and the world around me. This shift in perspective has opened up new possibilities for personal growth, self-discovery, and a deeper understanding of the human experience.

If I am feeling a strong emotion like fear I check in to see what is going on and ask myself what is scaring me. For example, if I am afraid of not being perfect enough, I can have my wiser self help that part figure out what is good enough. It is about managing from self -leadership verses just reacting or avoiding.

Profound Transformation Through IFS

Embarking on the journey of Internal Family Systems therapy has been a profound and transformative experience for me.

The 13 reasons outlined above solidified my belief in the power and effectiveness of IFS. It has allowed me to understand the complexities of my internal world, embrace self-leadership, and cultivate deep compassion and acceptance within myself.

Whether you choose to embark on your own self-work journey or work with me as an IFS therapist, I can help you use the IFS model that can lead you to profound transformation and a deeper understanding of the dynamics within your own internal family.

By giving IFS therapy a chance, you open yourself up to the possibility of a more authentic, fulfilling, and integrated life.

So go ahead and click the banner below to set up a clarity session for us to begin to explore the depths of your inner world and figure out how IFS can impact your personal growth and well-being.


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