IFS is a transformative, evidence-based psychotherapy that helps people heal by accessing and loving their protective and wounded inner parts. We believe the mind is naturally multiple and that is a good thing. Just like members of a family, inner parts are forced from their valuable states into extreme roles within us. We also all have a core Self. Self is in everyone. It can’t be damaged and it knows how to heal.
By helping people first access their Self and, from that core, come to understand and heal their parts, IFS creates inner and outer connectedness.
What are Parts?
In the IFS Model, “parts” are the sub-personalities that each of us have. They have valuable roles but due to trauma or challenging experiences, they are forced into the following three roles.
‘Managers’ are parts who have been forced into roles that keep us functional and safe. These are parts such as perfectionism, critics, or caretakers. They are trying to help you by keeping you functioning in different aspects of your life like work, school, or relationships. They are also trying to protect you from feeling the emotions of exiles. ‘Exiles’ are parts that have been wounded or traumatized and hold emotions, memories, sensations, and negative beliefs about you or the world. If these exiles get triggered by something similar in your current life, manager or firefighter parts may take over. ‘Firefighters’ are reactive parts that want to take away the pain you feel from exiles. They are often impulsive and act out in destructive behaviors such as drinking or using drugs to excess, bingeing on food, or working too much.
What is Self?
In IFS, there is also the belief that everyone has at their core a Self. The goal of IFS is to differentiate this Self from the parts and release its resources to heal the parts. When the individual is in the state of Self, we can work together to help the parts out of their extreme roles. There are eight C words that describe self-leadership including calmness, curiosity, clarity, compassion, confidence, creativity, courage, and connectedness. When you can be in relationships with your parts from a place of Self, you will feel one or more of these C words towards the part and that relationship that grows will begin to heal your system.
For a more in depth description of IFS and parts, please visit https://ifs-institute.com/