What is Internal Family Systems?

We all have parts. As I sit here now, there is part of me that wants to go for a walk in the English countryside and there is part of me that wants to share with you. 

When we have conflicting parts that want the opposite thing (called a polarization), we often experience a lot of inner turmoil. For example, you might have a part that loves your partner and is afraid of being alone. That part might remember being abandoned as a child and never want to let that happen again. So that part ignores the red flags and stays.

Another part might be angry with you for staying. That part might be the critical voice of your mother, telling you that you are weak, and worthless for staying. 

These two parts then battle it out in your mind, causing confusion, angst and low-self esteem. 

In therapy, we get to know these different parts of you. They are given space and deeply heard, so they don’t have to shout so loudly. We also address the deeper, hidden wounds under the protectors that are shouting. When the wounded parts are healed, the protestors don’t have to work as hard and the whole system can begin to calm. The result is more clarity, confidence and self-compassion.

It is a magical process that I find really helpful in my own life. 

Have you had an experience with IFS? How was it?