The privilege of a lifetime is to become who
you truly are.” ~ Carl Jung
Learn more about Internal Family Systems
Internal Family Systems (IFS) Model is a non-pathologizing means of working with the varied, difficult, and often contradictory thoughts and emotions we all have. IFS believes that inside everyone there is a calm, confident, courageous, curious, compassionate, clear, connected, and creative Self. People often refer to this as their “higher self”, “true self”, or essence. Some describe it as their spark of the Divine. In essence, this is who we truly are. This is the place of our birthright of wholeness. Emotions are transitory while Self is always present, though sometimes difficult to feel or access.
We also have many parts to our personality. These parts, when burdened from our past experiences and traumas, can make us feel anything but the descriptive C-words of the Self. These can include feelings of fear, grief, loneliness, insecurity, anger, shame, guilt, being judgmental, critical, controlling, having compulsions, obsessions, and addictions, etc. These “parts” (or ego states) interact with each other internally, with those in our outer lives, and also with our Self. For most of us this all happens unconsciously without thinking about it. In IFS we truly believe that all parts (ALL emotions and beliefs) are welcome and essential.)
When we grow up in ideal circumstances, these unburdened parts lend their natural talents, abilities, and energy to our lives. We experience life with energy, confidence, and purpose. However, when we experience trauma, attachment wounds, or painful experiences, these parts take on extreme protections, behaviors, beliefs, and emotions in order to help us never experience being vulnerable or in pain again. These become burdensome and create difficulties in living our lives to our fullest and with purpose. Often these parts get frozen in time.
In IFS we trust in the inherent wisdom of our inner landscape – Self and parts – and of the unique timing of each individuals healing journey. With deep respect and non-judgment we witness, update, and unburden parts. This restores harmony, once again allowing you to lead a Self-led and balanced life full of those qualities of Self. For some clients, this work can be very spiritual and sacred, for others it is not.
The Disney/Pixar movie Inside Out is a good, albeit simplified, example of the little voices inside our heads (though it did not use or portray Self. You may want to see this if you haven’t already.
IFS was developed in the 1980’s by Richard C. Schwartz, PhD. The IFS Institute provides many IFS trainings and workshops around the world.