ifs therapy for anxiety

Approximately 2 in 3 adults say the current amount of uncertainty in the world causes them stress. Stress and uncertainty are on the rise, and anxiety levels have also risen. The speedy lifestyle, non-stop connectivity, and ever-growing demands often make you wrestle with anxious thoughts and feelings. 

Fortunately, Internal Family Systems  (IFS) therapy for anxiety can help. This proven approach makes it possible to find relief and restore emotional balance. Here is a guide that explores IFS therapy for anxiety, its principles, and benefits.

What Is IFS Therapy for Anxiety?

Also known as Internal Family Systems Therapy, IFS is a form of holistic therapy designed to relieve anxiety and promote inner tranquility. This therapy approach revolves around the concept that each individual possesses an Inner Self characterized by wisdom, love, and compassion. This Inner Self acts as a guiding force in navigating life challenges. IFS therapy facilitates a connection to this core authentic self that can be difficult to find when life is stressful.

We develop other “parts” of us outside that core self that help us to navigate the world, manage difficult emotions or even repress them. Many of our parts are useful, most were useful at one time or another, often they are exhibiting behaviors and coping strategies that are no longer helpful. These parts can make anxiety worse and are not effective at coping. IFS supports working with these parts and engaging your true Self and accessing new ways of coping and behaving. 

When you engage with your core inner Self, you can unravel the roots of your anxiety and explore the impacts of trauma, aiding in their healing. You can work towards the resolution of symptoms and gain access to your core Self in an ongoing way.  

Additionally, IFS  helps you understand the relationship dynamics between yourself and others. This can help foster a deeper comprehension of both your inner and interpersonal struggles.

Core Concepts of IFS Therapy for Healing Anxiety

IFS therapy can be helpful for addressing anxiety. Let’s look at some core concepts of IFS therapy as they relate to anxiety.

Concept 1: The Self and Its Qualities

The primary concept in IFS Therapy is the existence of the Self. It is an inner presence within each person that holds your true essence. The Self is naturally unbroken, and whole, maintaining balance and harmony among all parts of your system.

Being in self is marked by the 8 Cs:

  • Calm
  • Curiosity
  • Connectedness
  • Clarity
  • Compassion
  • Confidence
  • Creativity
  • Courage

These qualities create an environment in which communication with one’s parts is effective. Accessing self is the initial step towards healing your anxiety. The healing process of anxiety can reveal the other 5 Ps of self:

  • Presence
  • Persistence
  • Perspective
  • Playfulness
  • Patience

These qualities emerge during your healing journey, signifying a healthy, whole self.

Concept 2: Parts in IFS Therapy

Another key IFS concept is the presence of parts. Each part has its beliefs, feelings, and thoughts. There are three categories of parts:


These are the parts of you that hold those intense memories and emotions. They’re like fragments locked away by other parts to safeguard your inner system from becoming overwhelmed. When anxiety surges, these exiles may surface. They sometimes take on the appearance of younger versions of yourself and may act out as you did in a previous time in your life. This can be confusing and overwhelming.


Managers are the proactive protectors of your inner world. They work tirelessly to maintain stability and readiness within your system.These parts are often driven by the fear of exiles resurfacing. Their behaviors can mirror those of a critical parent or an authoritative figure. Managers also can have helpful and functional roles in many circumstances. You probably have a manager that has helped you with a job or some work that you’ve done, maybe allowing you to be organized and have less emotion when needed. This can be problematic, for example,  if that manager wants to be in charge of your personal relationships.


When exiled parts breach the defenses, firefighters step in to stop the pain these fragments carry. Their actions may be less intense at first. You may start seeking adrenaline rushes or overworking. When the tension between managers and firefighters escalates, your behaviors can take more extreme forms. You could turn to self-harm or substance abuse. Firefighters work to keep you from feeling pain at any cost.

Techniques of IFS Therapy for Anxiety

IFS therapy presents a comprehensive approach to healing anxiety. These strategies guide you towards healing trauma and fostering inner tranquility. The following approaches are central to IFS therapy’s anxiety management:


Self-compassion is a cornerstone of this mindfulness-based therapy. It prompts you to treat yourself with the same tenderness and empathy reserved for a close friend. Cultivating self-compassion will help you address past wounds and find internal calm.

Compassionate Communication

This technique emphasizes expressing needs and feelings respectfully and non-threateningly. Mastering compassionate communication will help you repair relationships and achieve inner peace. It also allows you to form healthier connections with loved ones.

Inner Child Work

Inner child work involves reconnection with neglected or injured aspects of yourself. This process can be arduous, unearthing past pain. However, confronting these emotions is vital for healing anxiety and self-acceptance.


Mindfulness involves embracing the present moment and acknowledging thoughts and emotions without judgment. It is indispensable for healing past wounds and finding serenity. When you become attuned to emotions, you can develop constructive coping strategies.


Acknowledging past hurts is fundamental for healing and embracing your imperfections. IFS therapy facilitates understanding and reconciliation with past traumas. It enables progress towards inner peace.

Emotional Regulation

Vital for managing anxiety, emotional regulation helps you understand emotions and effectively address them. IFS helps you comprehend the messages your emotions convey. This allows you to manage them well.


Patience is a fundamental aspect of the IFS model. Therapists must cultivate patience to create a safe environment for you. This allows you to explore your feelings. Ensure you work with a therapist who is patient. They will support you in processing your emotions.

Benefits of IFS Therapy for Anxiety

IFS therapy offers numerous benefits in addressing anxiety. When engaging in this approach, you embark on a journey towards healing and inner well-being.

Discover Healing From Trauma

With the guidance of IFS therapists, you can safely explore emotions and memories causing your anxiety. This will help foster healthy processing of past traumas.

Attain Inner Calm

IFS therapy helps you understand your emotions and thoughts. This paves the way for achieving inner tranquility. This self-awareness can help treat anxiety.

Enhance Resilience

IFS equips you to manage emotions adeptly, bolstering resilience. The therapy builds a supportive network. As a result, it facilitates better coping with your anxiety challenges.

Equip Stress Coping

You can learn effective stress-handling techniques through IFS. It also allows you to cultivate a support system. This equips you to navigate stressors and develop healthy coping mechanisms.

Realize Aspirations

Through self-understanding gained from IFS, you can harmonize your thoughts and actions. This allows you to forge a path toward goals with the backing of a supportive network.

Get Anxiety Relief Through IFS Therapy

IFS is a holistic therapy that offers a path to healing anxiety that goes beyond surface-level solutions. It offers you a chance to reconcile conflicting parts and find solace in your core self.

Looking to find relief for anxiety? Explore the transformative power of IFS therapy for anxiety at the Center of Balance Counseling. Contact us to take the first step towards healing today!

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