Internal Family Systems

Internal Family Systems (IFS) is hailed by trauma expert Bessel van der Kolk as a treatment method that “all clinicians should know.” It’s an approach to personal therapy that is popular because it breaks down complex human experiences into digestible parts that can be addressed in a systematic way.

IFS places emphasis and value on supporting the relationship between your ‘self’ and the many parts that make up your self. This allows us to more clearly identify the defences and protections that have built up over time as a result of challenging, difficult and traumatic experiences. These defences and protections may be sophisticated and deeply embedded, especially following acute or cumulative stress.

Through IFS we begin to explore how the different aspects of your ‘Self’ react when we explore your experiences. We do not pathologise activated states such as rage, panic, shame or suicidal desperation. In fact, we believe every part has a positive intention and value, even the parts that are causing feelings and behaviours that we’d like to change.

In a typical session, we’ll be seated and I will support you to engage and converse with your parts. We will be guided by your protective parts and listen to how they’re responding, both in terms of your mind and your body. Only when you feel safe will we work at unburdening deep and vulnerable parts of your self that have been wounded and become deeply buried.

IFS is a highly effective approach that will support you to explore your inner world, understand your emotional responses and develop healthy and positive behaviours and skills that will allow you to embrace and enjoy situations that were previously challenging.