IFS is short for Internal Family Systems therapy and involves working with different parts of our personalities, which coexist inside us like a family.
These different parts of our personality interact and thereby govern our experiences and actions. But often they act of their own accord – and sometimes in an unaccountable way. This becomes apparent to us when a “problem” arises, for example when we feel fearful or overly stressed.
Every personality part sees the inner and outer world from a different perspective. There are parts of us that are afraid, parts that are courageous, other parts that feel sad or stressed – and of course parts that feel strong. Every part of us developed at a different stage of our lives and every part is active in certain situations and not in others. It is important to take care of the different parts of ourselves and meet their specific needs.
Sometimes it is a relief to know that only a part of us is scared or stressed. But it is important to appreciate and understand the story behind this part of us. It is also important to understand what role this part of us plays, what it is trying to protect us against, how it is connected to the other parts of ourselves, and which responsibilities it assumes on their behalf. And finally, it is important to find out how we can take the load off this part of ourselves and teach it to act differently. These insights make it easier for us to understand our internal processes, to target what is needed to solve a particular problem, to gain a new perspective on our problems, and to develop new patterns of behavior.