Internal family systems therapy

What is Internal Family Systems Therapy?

Internal Family Systems (IFS) Therapy is a transformative approach that helps you understand and harmonize the various parts of your inner ‘family’. The core idea of IFS is that our internal world is made up of different “parts,” each with its own perspectives, feelings, and roles. These parts often conflict with each other, leading to emotional distress and behavioral challenges. IFS therapy aims to help you recognize, understand, and integrate these parts to achieve inner harmony and healing. In other words, having every part of your internal system work together (rather than against one another) will lead to a life that is led with compassion and peace.

Strive Counselling's The core idea of IFS is that our internal world is made up of different "parts," each with its own perspectives, feelings, and roles.

What conditions does EMDR treat?

Internal Family Systems Therapy (IFS) is a form of psychotherapy that focuses on understanding and harmonizing the various “parts” or subpersonalities within an individual. This approach can effectively address a wide range of psychological and emotional issues. Here are some of the key areas where IFS can be particularly beneficial:

Trauma & PTSD

Healing from past emotional wounds and trauma

Improving emotional regulation and self-soothing abilities


Understanding your internal turmoil

Gaining clarity around why you seem to have a hard time making decisions

Guilt and Coping

Addressing feelings of guilt for not being able to behave or act in a way that is congruent with yourself

Building resilience to handle life’s challenges

Personal Growth

Dealing with the voice of imposter syndrome

Resolving inner conflicts to achieve a sense of inner calm


Fostering a sense of authenticity and realness in how you want to approach life

Identity and Self-Exploration

Improving relationships with others through self-awareness and emotional regulation

Promoting personal growth and transformation in important identities in your life

The IFT Process

1. Identifying Parts
  • Exploration: The therapist helps the client identify different parts of themselves, often referred to as “subpersonalities” or “parts.”
  • Naming: Clients begin to name and describe these parts, which may include roles such as “the critic,” “the caretaker,” “the child,” etc.
2. Understanding Roles
  • Mapping: The client and therapist map out the roles and functions of each part, understanding how they interact and affect the client’s thoughts, emotions, and behaviors.
  • Function Exploration: Clients explore the intentions and protective functions of their parts, recognizing that each part has a purpose, even if its actions are currently maladaptive.
3. Establishing Self-Leadership
  • Self-Discovery: Clients are guided to access their core Self, which is characterized by qualities such as curiosity, calmness, compassion, and confidence.
  • Building Trust: The therapist helps clients build trust between their Self and their parts, establishing the Self as a leader in the internal system.
4. Dialoguing with Parts
  • Internal Communication: Clients engage in a dialogue with their parts, listening to their concerns and needs.
  • Empathy and Understanding: Through these dialogues, clients practice empathy and understanding towards their parts, reducing internal conflict.
5. Healing Wounded Parts
  • Unburdening: The therapist facilitates the process of “unburdening,” where parts let go of extreme roles and negative beliefs they have carried, often stemming from past traumas or negative experiences.
  • Integration: Clients work on integrating these healed parts into their overall self-system in healthier, more balanced ways.
6. Reassessing and Reinforcing
  • Review Progress: Regularly review the progress made in understanding and harmonizing parts.
  • Ongoing Support: Develop strategies to maintain internal harmony and address any emerging conflicts or challenges.
  • Reinforcement: Reinforce the role of the Self as the compassionate leader, ensuring ongoing balance and integration of all parts.

The IFS process helps individuals achieve internal harmony by identifying and understanding their different parts, establishing the core Self as a compassionate leader, and healing wounded parts. This structured approach promotes greater self-awareness, emotional balance, and overall psychological well-being.

Strive Counselling's Internal Family Systems Therapy offers a unique and holistic approach to understanding and healing the mind by addressing the various parts within an individual.

Learn More About The Process

In IFS, you’ll work closely with your therapist to identify and explore your different parts. These might include protective parts that try to manage pain and vulnerable parts that carry the burdens of past trauma. Through a process of guided conversations, you will learn to develop a compassionate relationship with each part, understanding its role and intention. This process helps to heal wounded parts and foster a more balanced and cohesive sense of self.

By embracing and integrating your parts, you can reduce internal conflict, enhance self-awareness, and improve emotional regulation. This approach allows you to lead a more authentic and fulfilling life by bringing your whole self into alignment. Reach out to us today to learn how IFS can help you achieve greater harmony and well-being.

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