What if you could identify all your traits and behaviors like characters in your mind? What if you could then communicate with those characters; bargain, reason, and reconcile with them? Wouldn’t this ability produce extraordinary personal growth?
Well, this idea is what lies at the heart of Internal Family System Therapy (IFS). This article will discuss not only what IFS is, but 5 ways in which it has proven to be a game-changer!
What Is Internal Family System Therapy?
IFS posits that our personality consists of an “internal family” of subpersonalities – or “parts” – coinciding with one another. And just like a normal family, things can be harmonious or dysfunctional.
The first step is getting to know your “core self” – the real you. Then to identify the parts that are causing dysfunction.
It’s important to understand that these parts believe that they are out for your well-being. Some think they are protecting you from your past, the world, and even yourselves!
So, the goal of IFS is to make sense of their motives and re-integrate them into the core self. Here are some helpful resources on the model.
Let’s now discuss 5 key uses for Internal Family System Therapy.
With complex traumas like childhood abuse or PTSD, there may be parts of you intending to protect you from harmful memories. These parts may end up sabotaging your growth even if you have a strong desire to heal.
IFS allows you to confront the traumas compassionately. This way, you can achieve genuine healing rather than reactive protection.
Some of your parts may be out to protect you from aspects of your relationships with others. This can produce unwanted challenges in romantic relationships.
Due to something in your past, there may be parts telling you things about yourself that simply aren’t true. Things like “I am unlovable.”
By making these parts see reason, you become better equipped to communicate with your mate.
In many cases, depression is a reaction to the world because one of your parts may be trying to protect you from failure or disappointment.
Without being able to identify the part trying to protect you and its reasons, it will continue having a hold on you.
Internal Family System Therapy can help you understand the parts responsible. By resolving traumas, you could be able to regain your body and mind once and for all!
Anxiety essentially has its roots in survival. It could be that parts want to keep you protected from threats. So as our external world presents dangers, dysfunctional parts of us are triggered and anxiety ensues.
IFS aims to find out what these parts want to protect you from. By treating these parts with compassion and understanding, you can finally make peace with them and achieve overall peace in your life.
Internal Family Systems Therapy techniques also have application in simple habit building and productivity. On these occasions, a therapist may not even be needed.
By simply identifying the parts of you that cause procrastination or perfectionism and reconciling them to your core self, you will be able to streamline your behavior for a more productive lifestyle!
The Need to Reconcile
With methods like Internal Family System Therapy, we acquire the vital tools to communicate with ourselves compassionately. Once we acquire this view of ourselves, we can extend that compassion to others and, in the long run, make the world a better, more compassionate place.
By taking care of the internal family, the external families would care for themselves!
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