What is IFS?

Internal Family Systems, IFS, is a method of psychotherapy that helps people to work with their parts or sub-personalities. Most people are aware that they have an inner critic (a part of them that is very critical of them) or a part that procrastinates or a part that is easily hurt (an inner child). Internal Family Systems, IFS works with the understanding that these parts of us have become burdened with difficult beliefs and emotions when we were younger. When the parts are supported to release these burdens, they will transform and return to being valuable resources inside us.

Protectors and Exiles

There are two categories of parts according to IFS: protectors and exiles. Protectors are parts of us that are committed to keeping us safe using any number of strategies. These include criticising us, being perfectionistic, being a task master, judging us, catastrophising, numbing us, blocking our awareness etc. Exiles are the wounded parts of us who have been locked out of our awareness by protectors for the safety and functioning of our overall system or for their own safety. These are the inner children who were wounded during childhood and have carried the burdens of feeling unwanted, unloveable, rejected, useless, worthless etc for us.

The Self

IFS also talks about the core Self which is the essence of who we are and is not a part. It has qualities of compassion, connection, curiosity, creativity, clarity, confidence and courage. Internal Family Systems, IFS believes that when protectors feel heard, understood and valued by the person’s core Self, they will step back and allow the Self to have access to the exiles, enabling them to be healed and unburdened.

I have found it to be an excellent form of therapy and many clients have found it to be really beneficial. I have been trained to Level 3 as an Internal Family Systems, IFS Therapist. This is the highest level of training currently available.

This is an article written by the founder of the method Richard Schwartz. https://selfleadership.org/about-internal-family-systems.html

This is another useful article outlining the different types of parts and how they operate. https://selfleadership.org/outline-of-the-Internal-family-systems-model.html

This is a youtube video where Richard Schwartz gives a summary of the model https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LuJLv98ks-I

I can provide in person sessions of IFS or work Online, if you are unable to travel to Wexford. Contact me if you’d like to discuss making an appointment. http://callanancounselling.com/contact-me/