Individual IFS sessions
At the heart of Internal Family Systems therapy is the belief that there is a calm, compassionate core ‘Self’ within each of us that cannot be damaged.
The client might experience the IFS therapist as very open, welcoming of all their experience, with a warm interest without prying or judgement. As the work proceeds there is a building confidence in the person as they both differentiate and articulate relationships internally with their parts, and in-time externally with the larger world. At the end of this work one might have both multiplicity and connectedness, an internal fluidity and sense of harmony.
We also have many ‘parts’ that help us through life and protect us. Sometimes these parts can become extreme because of our experiences in the world and it can then be harder to access the calm core Self. These parts can also make us behave in ways that cause conflict, distress or unhappiness in ourselves or those around us.
The IFS therapist’s job is to help the client disentangle themselves from their parts, and to access their core Self. The Self can then connect with each part and heal it. This allows the parts to let go of their extreme or destructive roles and enter into a harmonious collaboration led by the Self.
IFS therapy explicitly recognizes the numinous-and-available nature of the Self, allowing the model to be helpful in adult development as well as psychological healing. Self energy is a ‘doing’, known by its curiousity, calm, compassion, connectedness, creativity, courage, clarity and confidence. In the therapeutic work, the aim is to connect and amplify the person’s own experience of Self, then to build relationship internally with one’s parts.
“Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes.”
– Walt Whitman