Internal Family Systems, or IFS, is a therapeutic approach that helps people heal by acknowledging, accessing, and loving their protective and wounded inner parts. IFS suggests that all of us have a core Self that knows how to heal, and IFS helps patients move toward internal and external connectedness.
As can often happen with members of a family, the inner parts that make us whole can become fragmented and some of these parts may become forced from their normal, helpful states into extreme roles within us. IFS therapy posits that our inner parts contain valuable qualities, and our core Self knows how to heal, moving us toward becoming integrated and whole. At The Cabin we use IFS to help patients address and reintegrate these parts into a healthy Self. During treatment patients focus on these separated parts, and with the help of their therapist engage in a process of shifting into a state characterized by qualities like curiosity, calm, confidence, and compassion as a means of fostering reintegration.
IFS is now evidence-based, and has become a widely used form of psychotherapy, particularly with trauma. It provides a non-pathologizing and empowering perspective, and a practical and effective set of techniques for working with patients in a variety of contexts. Internal Family Systems sees the therapist’s job as helping the client to disentangle themselves from their parts and access the Self, which can then connect with each part and heal it, so that the parts can let go of their destructive roles and enter into a harmonious collaboration led by the Self.
At The Cabin we use IFS to allow clients to recognize that people are whole underneath the amalgam of their parts. Each of us has a true self or spiritual center, known as the Self that is distinct from its individual parts. Even people whose lived experience is dominated by parts have access to this Self and its healing qualities. IFS explicitly recognizes the spiritual nature of the Self, allowing the model to be helpful in spiritual development as well as psychological healing. The Cabin recognizes the importance of this deeply healing process and its creative and variable approach to increase self-harmony and well-being.