Internal Family Systems (IFS) or Parts Work Therapy can help you be kinder to yourself.
Imagine feeling at peace and loving all parts of you
Have you ever felt torn or stuck?
“I really need a career change, but I’m scared.”
“I’m unhappy in my relationship, but I don’t want to be alone.”
“I want to stand up for myself, but I’m worried people won’t like me.”
“I’m so exhausted, but I can’t stop. It has to be my best!”
“My heart always wins… even though rationally, I know I shouldn’t.”
Intro to Internal Family System (IFS) or Parts Work Therapy
We all have conflicting thoughts or feelings sometimes. It can feel like an internal conflict between different parts of ourselves. These parts of us are like the members of a family, who have a special role and way of contributing to the family.
Each part has done its best to get you through hard times, but it might feel a bit unbalanced now. For example, the Perfectionist might be trying to get everything right to earn approval, but it could also be leading to burn out.
In Internal Family Systems (IFS) therapy, we can better understand your unique parts and how they are trying to help you. Healing wounds from the past can allow these parts to be more flexible. For example, if you were yelled at as a child for making mistakes, learning self-compassion can ease that pain. With less fear of being punished for mistakes, the Perfectionist can motivate you to do great job, while also allowing you to rest and relax. Or you might be more open to trying new things, even if it’s not perfect the first time around.
A story of healing with Internal Family Systems
Illustrations by Cecile Carre
Do any of these parts feel familiar?
You're amazingly empathetic and can intuit other people's needs and feelings, but you might abandon or hide parts of yourself to be liked.
Thinking of all the things that could go wrong can help you prepare for the worst, but sometimes, it can be paralyzing or overly stressful.
Finding ways that you can do things better can help you avoid embarrassment, but it can also make you feel not good enough.
Inside Out shows how different parts live inside of us.
In the movie, each part has only one emotion, but in Internal Family Systems (IFS), we believe that each part has a range of emotions.
Each part is trying their best to take care of us, even when some the things they feel or do might be a bit unpleasant.
If we heal the relationship between the parts, they can work as a team with strengths that balance each other out.
How can Internal Family Systems (IFS) help you?
Internal Family Systems (IFS) was developed in the 1980s by Richard Schwarz, Ph.D. IFS is an evidence-based psychotherapy which has been shown to alleviate depression, anxiety, and trauma. Although traditional talk therapy can help you gain insight about your patterns, IFS can shift how it feels. It can be the difference between talking about how you were hurt, and actually feeling seen, heard, and held. It may require some courage and suspension of disbelief, but many who try IFS find that it offers deep and profound healing.
I loved working with Jess as a therapist. Jess has many gifts and what I loved the most was how beautifully she held space for me to explore where my heart and intuition wanted to go. We worked on self-compassion as a mother, healing wounds from my childhood as I was trying to raise my own child; we focused on intergenerational healing as I was embarking on a transcontinental move to be closer to my parents and grandparents; and we focused on freeing the creative inside of me. Our time together laid a strong foundation for a life that feels aligned with my deepest purpose, accompanied by an abundant source of compassion for my hard moments.