Internal Family Systems (IFS) – Healing Trauma and Restoring Life Balance

Internal Family Systems (IFS) Model

Healing Trauma and Restoring Life Balance

According to Kazantzakis, a prominent Greek author, the human psyche resembles an abyss. There is no doubt why the study and effort to understand human psychism have been of great interest since the ancient years of human history. Researchers and humans themselves want to decode the secrets of our brain and soul, leveraging various models and tools that grow richer as society and technology advance further.
One noteworthy contemporary approach is the Internal Family Systems Model (IFS), which we are currently exploring and applying to our practice at giving Life to Life. But what is the Internal Family Systems Model (IFS)?

About the Internal Family Systems Model (IFS)

The Internal Family Systems Model is an integrative approach to individual psychotherapy developed by Richard C. Schwartz back in the 1980s, generating significant interest because of its strategy to therapy.
Through the IFS system, the multidimensional nature of our minds and personalities is accepted and leveraged through the therapeutic process. The approach to treatment is a holistic one. IFS is more than a psychotherapeutic program; it is a powerfully transformative paradigm.

Through the IFS program, we do not try to resolve the complexity of our nature but work alongside it. The mind and human system are orchestrated to help people heal using their qualities and embracing all the broken parts rather than discarding them. There has been a great controversy around how humans should treat their traumatized claims. It is essential to identify the imperfection of human nature and develop realistic goals and healing strategies that work along with this acceptance. The IFS model allows healing that embraces all the pieces of the human psyche, making the world a more compassionate place and healing a more effective process.

The IFS system aims to bring a greater extent of real self-leadership and applies to people from diverse backgrounds regardless of their age, gender, race, sexual orientation, class, cultural experience.

The healing process is simple within its complexity, guiding individuals to access their authentic self and understand their core elements and nature as these will be the ultimate tools leveraged to speed up the transformation process. As the body knows how to heal when injured, the self also knows how to recover. The work of the IFS system is to establish an inner and outer connectedness that helps individuals find their pathways to access and understand themselves.

The Internal Family Systems Model (IFS) has a more than 30-years history and has evolved throughout the years to a multidisciplinary approach that includes comprehensive guidelines for working with individuals, couples, families, and teams. The IFS brings concepts and methods from the structural, strategic, narrative, and Bowenian schools of family therapy to the world of subpersonalities and includes eight distinct elements of self-leadership: calmness, curiosity, clarity, compassion, confidence, creativity, courage, and connectedness.

The self

One distinct element that differentiates the IFS model from other psychotherapeutic techniques is the belief that every human at his core possesses qualities such as perspective, confidence, compassion, and acceptance. Even the cases of strongly abused people come with a healthy and healing self as a natural recovery mechanism. The only difference is that some people have limited access to this self. Therefore, the work done with the IFS system helps the person identify this self and differentiate it from his other parts, releasing and maximizing his healing resources.

The goal is not to reject the traumatized parts of ourselves but embrace their existence and become friends with them.
Humans do not need oblivion or denial-based mechanisms to overcome trauma. Instead, it helps them understand their whole existence and find a reason and a balance between the different parts. Perfection is just an illusion, and this should also be a driver for the psychotherapy process. The ultimate perfect point that a human can reach during his life is to be at ease with his nature and love every little piece of it.

The Self-Led Human

The so-explained definition of self is not correlated with a passive-witness state. It is also not just a “state of mind” (a term frequently used in various other methods and tools). The self-leadership concept is a healing presence inside and outside the individual, teaching the different parts of the human psychism intuitively to trust the self as a leader into the healing and decision-making process. Even in a sudden incident or a crisis, where emotions run high, the self will be able to hold the human to his centre, providing him with a higher degree of clarity and objectivity.

The importance of this inner strength is that the self is taking the role of the captain within the storm, identifying the turbulence of the emotions and recognizing the temporality of them, setting the space for the person to rationalize each situation and calm down. Self-led humans are easy to identify. To rephrase a joke, self-led individuals give the impression that “the lights are on and someone is home.” No matter what.

People navigating life with self-leadership are proven to be more open, confident, and present in their lives. They are not distracted or driven by life incidents, but they set their own life goals and direction. Through the work with the IFS model, individuals, couples, and teams can learn how to be the absolute masters of their lives, and there is no greater freedom than this. The more incredible privilege of this model is that it does not make the humans fit into a predefined framework but gives them the virtues needed to BE THEMSELVES unapologetically.

The eyes, voice, body language, and energy, of self-led individuals, are authentic, solid, and unpretentious. The self-led human does not need a life plan or be forced to follow a path or “do the right thing”. The work with the IFS system involves a set of various esoteric transitions towards self-leadership. Once the human feels safe and relaxed in his world, he has all the necessary tools to create his happiness.

Where can you apply IFS?

IFS can be applied to many conditions like trauma release, anxiety, depression, PTSD, substance abuse, to name a few. It is very effective in dealing with relationship issues like couples and people who feel stuck in life. IFS uses a non-pathologizing & accelerated approach rooted in neuroscience to bring changes that are, in most cases, permanent.

Learn more about the IFS program

Book your 60′ free session here and learn more about how the IFS program can apply to you, your family, your relationship or your team at work.