Internal Family Systems | trauma informed
PolyVAGAL INFORMED | HSP Support
offering online sessions
“When you say ‘A part of me feels that….’, you have already embraced the basic idea of IFS” Jon Schwartz & Bill Brennan
Internal Family Systems therapy (IFS) offers you a place to reconnect to and heal your inner world, giving you a new relationship with yourself.
IFS, developed by Richard Schwartz, has been recognised as a gold standard treatment approach by some of the world’s leading trauma experts including Dr Bessel van der Kolk and Frank Anderson. It has also been recognised and incorporated in to the work of Gabor Mate and Janina Fisher.
The basis of the IFS model of therapy is that the mind is multiple. It recognises that we are all complex human beings and that we are naturally made up of many ‘parts’. It is an evidenced based form of psychotherapy which has been shown to be very effective in the treatment of trauma, depression, anxiety and addictions.
IFS works with the mind and body, based on the idea that we are all made up of parts, parts that carry wounds, painful memories or beliefs and parts that try to protect us from feeling or accessing these wounds. These parts of ourselves relate to each other a bit like a family. Some parts may work together and get on, while others may be in conflict with each other.
Our parts may be at times at odds with one another. Perhaps a part of you wants to relax and another part of you thinks that relaxing is a waste of time. Maybe a part of you wants to reach out to your loved one to make up after an argument, but another part is still feeling too angry to reconnect. Sometimes there is a part of us that wants to stop doing something that it thinks is not good for us, but another part of us doesn’t want to stop or doesn’t yet know how. We may have a part that knows it would be good to be kinder to ourselves, but perhaps there is a self critical part that keeps criticising us regardless.
In IFS everyone also has a Self, a Self that we are all born with, a Self that cannot be damaged. It has been referred to as the ‘I’ in the storm. After difficult life experiences and trauma the Self system and access to Self can break down and our parts may become more burdened, protective and polarised. This can result in inner turmoil and in our parts losing trust in the Self. However IFS believes that with guidance we can begin to access our Self energy again and support ourselves in healing and in reconnecting to Self trust, Self energy and inner harmony.
IFS therapy can help to reconnect us to Self leadership and the 8 C’s of Self energy:
IFS recognises that the cultivation of mindful Self leadership is the foundation for healing from emotional suffering and trauma. IFS enables the Self to become the leader of our system, creating inner harmony.
To learn a little more about IFS, here is a talk from founder Dick Schwartz along with a guided IFS meditation.
“Our parts can sometimes be disruptive or harmful, but once they’re unburdened, they return to their essential goodness. When we learn to LOVE ALL OUR PARTS, we can learn to love all people – and that will contribute to healing the world” — Dick Schwartz
If you are looking for support then I’d be honoured to connect with you to discuss your needs. My approach to therapy is trauma informed, gentle, non-pathologising and collaborative. I believe that you are the expert in you and I encourage collaboration and feedback to ensure that therapy together is meeting your needs.
For more information you can visit the homepage and see the about me and how I work sections towards the bottom of the page. You can also call or email me with any queries or for a free consultation.
Greater Than the Sum of Our Parts – Richard Schwartz
You are the One You’ve Been Waiting for – Richard Schwartz
Self Therapy – Jay Earley
Transcending Trauma – Frank Anderson
Somatic Internal Family Systems – Susan McConnell