The Internal Family Systems Therapy Model
This model involves guiding you to emotional healing by guiding you to:
Identifying your many and often conflicting thoughts and feelings.
Listen to yourself in a respectful, accepting and compassionate manner.
Healing those emotions that block more desired behaviors and thoughts.
Taking effective inner leadership and making healthier choices.
The Internal Family System Model is one of the fastest growing approaches in psychotherapy today. Developed over the past two decades by Dr. Richard Schwartz PhD., this non-pathologizing model views a person as containing many parts/subpersonalities, each of which has valuable qualities designed to play important roles.These parts/aspects are however, forced by life experiences, to adapt within the inner system in unhealthy ways. With healing, these extreme parts gladly transform into moderate, more acceptable roles once they are assured that the person can operate safely - feeling steady and at peace inside, no matter what is happening on the outside.
The types of experiences that originally transform parts into destructive or extreme roles are sometimes traumatic, but can also be a person's family of origin beliefs, values and interactions.
What are these 'Parts' or Aspects of the Personality?
Most of us have parts that are great at keeping us safe and functioning in a 'normal' manner - these parts attempt to maintain control of both our outer and inner worlds. They may do this by criticizing how we dress or how we need to perform to make a good impression or take care of others to ensure safety or connection, for example. These parts are usually pro-active and protective in nature and are called Managers.
When we have feelings of insecurity, pain, fear, shame or humiliation activated, it is the Manager parts that try to keep these feelings and sensations from being experienced in the moment. These vulnerable feelings and sensations that are suppressed but often triggered are locked away in the subconscious, are what are called Exiles.
When one or more of these vulnerable parts are activated in our daily interactions with others and threaten to overwhelm the inner system with the feelings of being hurt, scared or shamed again, then a third group of parts may rush in to distract, dampen or override the system. These protectors are called the Firefighters and are extremely reactive, impulsive and powerful - like the urges to binge on alcohol, drugs, food, sex, computer games, porn, work, shopping etc. They may even have the qualities of shutting down the system or distancing, so the exile's vulnerable feelings are not experienced - as in dissociation, numbing, depression etc.
So how do we make the best decisions?
What makes the IFS Model different from other models of psychotherapy is the belief in the existence of The Self - the true core of a person. The Self has the qualities that bring about inner healing and leadership. These qualities are defined as self-acceptance, confidence, compassion and a broad perspective - all necessary for true internal functioning and peace. Even those clients that have experienced extreme abuse/trauma have this inner resource although they may not initially be aware of it.
What would it be like to have a psychotherapy model that explains and allows for all your behaviors, feelings and thoughts with curiosity and compassion and without judgement?
For more information on this Therapy model please see : www.selfleadership.org