What Is (IFS) Internal Family Systems Therapy?
A lot of people assume that mental illness is a problem that only a small minority of people deal with. However, the truth is that about 20% of all adults in the United States experience mental illness in each given year. On top of that, about 5% of people struggle with a serious mental health problem each year.
The good news is that there are many different kinds of therapy to help people manage their mental and emotional challenges. One form of therapy is IFS or Internal Family Systems therapy. A frequent question is “What is Internal Family Systems Therapy?” or “What is IFS?”
Internal Family Systems therapy is an evidence-based therapy that is non-pathologizing and transformative. What exactly is Internal Family Systems Therapy, and how does it help? Read on to learn all about the top things to understand about IFS Therapy.
What Is IFS or Internal Family Systems Therapy?
Internal Family Systems Therapy is also referred to as IFS therapy. This type of therapy derives its name from the way that it relates to the mind as if it were composed of a series of parts (or family members) that play a role in how people behave and function.
In other words, it assumes that we do not have a single unified mind. Instead, we have a mind made of many different parts. For example, one part of you might feel very strongly about the need to speak up in a situation while other parts might feel terrified by the idea.
When this happens it is easy to become confused about what it is you want. However, the framework of IFS therapy can help provide clarity. It suggests that someone in this situation has multiple parts that want different things.
IFS Therapy teaches people to identify different parts of their minds and differentiate them. For example, someone using IFS therapy might label a part of their mind as their inner child and another part might be seen as an inner critic. IFS supports focusing on and resolving internal conflicts.
IFS therapy suggests that there is a core Self that defines the essence of who each of us is. This Self can help bring the mind into unity by getting all the different parts of the mind to talk to one another. Through a process of dialogue and negotiation, people can arrive at conclusions that take care of all the most vital needs of their different parts. The result can be a psychological breakthrough and internal conflicts can be settled.
The Uses of IFS Therapy
Internal family systems therapy treatment is effective for a long list of mental health symptoms and emotional challenges. IFS therapy is used to treat trauma and PTSD, dissociative disorders, anxiety, depression, eating disorders and a wide range of mental health diagnoses. Mental health challenges can be a result of one or more parts of us feeling like they will not be able to get what they need. IFS therapy can help find behavioral strategies that relieve the fears and sadness of some of our different parts.
IFS therapy helps with addressing issues that come up in many relationships. People can act in destructive ways in their relationships without understanding why or knowing how to stop. IFS therapy can help people understand that it can be difficult for them to improve their relationships until they can understand and work with their own individual parts.
IFS therapy is used to treat addictions. A person with addictions can feel like they are at war with themselves. One part of them wants to use substances. At the same time, many of their other parts feel terrible about the negative consequences of doing so. Internal family systems therapy can help bring desires into unity and overcome addiction.
The Advantages of Internal Family Systems Therapy
One of the great advantages of IFS therapy is that it does not attempt to define people in a single way. That makes it easier to avoid falling into the trap of thinking that something cannot be true of yourself because the opposite also seems to be true. IFS focuses on reducing internal conflict and harmful self-judgment by implementing ways to create self-understanding and self-compassion.
IFS therapy enjoys the advantage of helping people to become personally empowered. When people receive IFS therapy, they come away with a new framework for relating to their emotions and problems that can be applied in daily life. IFS is a tool to help navigate challenges on your own. Another benefit of IFS therapy is that it helps create awareness of desires and a range of your identities. Awareness is an important part of mental health improvement.
Enjoy the Benefits of Internal Family Systems Therapy
If you have ever wondered, “What is IFS therapy?”, we hope that you now have your answer. Although not everyone knows about this type of therapy, it provides benefits that are different from using other systems to address mental health. Some people try many types of therapy before discovering that IFS therapy is the most powerful method for them. We are trained and certified by the IFS Institute to provide IFS therapy.