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What Is Internal Family Systems?

A family of three sits on a couch together while holding a piece of cardboard over their heads and wondering what is internal family systems

Have you ever wondered what goes on inside your mind? Have you ever felt like you were being pulled in different directions by different parts of yourself? If so, you may be interested in learning what is the internal family systems (IFS) model. Rockland Recovery Behavioral Health offers IFS therapy in our outpatient mental health clinic. Our trained therapists can help you explore the different parts of yourself and work towards healing and recovery. Contact us today at 855.520.0531 to learn more or to schedule an appointment.

What Is Internal Family Systems?

The internal family systems (IFS) model is a way of looking at the mind that views each person as having many different sub-personalities, or “parts.” According to IFS, each of these parts has its own unique perspective, beliefs, and emotions. Dr. Richard Schwartz developed the IFS model in the 1980s. Dr. Schwartz was a psychotherapist interested in helping his clients heal from trauma. He noticed that many of his clients had different “parts” that were in conflict with each other. Dr. Schwartz realized that these conflictual parts were actually trying to protect the person from pain. He also realized that these parts could be healed and transformed through therapy.

How Does Internal Family Systems Work?

Internal Family Systems therapy is based on the idea that each person has a “self” that is the wise, compassionate, and Loving center of their personality. This “self” is surrounded by different “parts” that each has their perspective, emotions, and beliefs. Parts can be helpful or harmful and can conflict with each other. For example, one part may want to diet, while another may want to eat junk food. IFS therapy aims to help people connect with their “self” and heal their parts. This healing can be done through “self-leadership,” where the person learns to listen to their parts and understand their needs.

What Are the Benefits of Internal Family Systems?

In IFS therapy, the individual develops a more compassionate and accepting relationship with all parts of the self. This can be done through exploring the different parts, understanding their needs, and working towards resolving conflict. Internal Family Systems therapy can be helpful for people who are struggling with anxiety, depression, trauma, substance abuse, and:

  • Understand and heal their parts
  • Develop a more compassionate relationship with themselves
  • Increase self-awareness
  • Make more self-directed choices
  • Build healthier relationships

The IFS model can be helpful in understanding why someone may act in a certain way or make certain choices. It can also help find compassion for oneself and others.

Should I Undergo Internal Family Systems Therapy?

Now that we have answered the question “What is the Internal Family Systems model?” it is up to you to decide if this type of therapy is right for you. Understanding and accepting different parts of the self is a vital part of mental health. IFS therapy may be a good option if you feel like you are being pulled in different directions by different parts of yourself. It can help you understand and accept all parts of yourself, even the parts you may not like. IFS therapy can be helpful for people of all ages and can be done in group settings.

Behavioral Health IFS Program at Rockland Recovery

If you are interested in exploring the IFS model, it is important to find a therapist who is trained in this approach. IFS therapists usually have a background in psychology or counseling, and they will have received specific training in IFS. At Rockland Recovery Behavioral Health, our IFS program is led by high-qualified staff who are experienced in working with this model. We tailor our approach to meet the needs of each client. If you are still wondering, “What is internal family systems?” We would be happy to answer any of your questions. Please contact us at 855.520.0531 today.