What is Internal Family Systems (IFS)?
Internal family systems (IFS) is an individualized approach to psychotherapy that involves accepting and validating all of the various parts of the mind, and their interaction with one another to form a system of self, or family. IFS allows individuals to work towards healing without compromising these various parts of oneself. By acknowledging the existence of these various parts, one is able to allow them to exist in tandem with one another despite the various internal conflicts that may arise.
Who can this approach benefit?
IFS can be beneficial towards those who are suffering from anxiety and depression, especially, as well as those who may be concerned about disordered eating habits, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), or substance use disorders. It should be noted that IFS requires a foundation of strong support from the external systems. If a person lacks emotional support from their loved ones, the effectiveness and benefits of IFS can be much lesser.
What makes this approach special?
IFS is a much less directive and solution-focussed approach to bringing about substantial change in a person’s life and as a result can be a lot more affirming to a person’s existing identity since it orients a person towards acceptance as opposed to change. It affirms the parts of oneself that might otherwise be hidden, and allows for acknowledgement of their existence. In turn, this helps clients to work around their various unique identities that have been built out of necessity.
What can you expect from your first session of IFS?
The first session resembles most other models of therapy in that it always begins with intake, similar to other approaches, where information is collected and used to determine goals for therapy, as well as to identify prominent surface-level parts. Clients can expect the therapist to introduce the Internal Family Systems model as well as the ‘parts’ theory of psychology. From there, clients will gain an understanding of their parts and learn how to explain the origin of many of the thoughts and feelings they may be having.
What does our IFS therapist say about this approach?
The implementation of IFS into practice is both beneficial to the therapist and the client, in a number of ways. Our IFS therapist, Hausalya Kulanayagam, Registered Psychotherapist (Qualifying), actively uses the IFS approach to help clients understand and support themselves, as well as to look upon the parts of themselves with compassion. Regarding the personal benefits of IFS psychotherapy, Hausalya says: “IFS helps to orient a person towards parts of themself that they might be less happy about and look upon them with compassion and acceptance. I recommend it as a way of addressing all of the adaptive parts of a person as a way of bringing about substantial change.” To learn more information about how IFS therapy might benefit your needs, call or email us to book a phone consultation with Hausalya!