Why I Use Internal Family Systems

To address the hellscape that was post-George Floyd, pandemic, Trump America in the summer of 2020, I went in search of a new therapist. Unconditional positive regard only got me so far. I have friends. They don’t require copays or out-of-network full fare. Jungian, while interesting, didn’t make much of an impact for me. After trying to find someone who practiced Pat Ogden’s Sensorimotor Psychotherapy, I stumbled upon Richard Schwartz’s Internal Family Systems (IFS) therapeutic approach. The two Seattle women referred from Ogden’s site both said they primarily used IFS with their clients if I was game to try. The one who was also a twin mom had a 9 AM Tuesday opening. Great. And so it was.

After watching some demos and doing a few sessions, I immediately wanted my money back from all my prior therapy. Finally I was making progress in processing my issues. IFS paired well with the body-based and spiritual modalities I utilized – yoga, Buddhism, polyvagal theory. It destigmatized emotional well-being.

IFS has carried me through the past two years. So much so that I’m getting trained to become a certified practitioner. In IFS, we approach ourselves as a system of parts. We all have parts. These parts show up to keep us safe. Some of their protective efforts can be extreme because they’re operating from outdated information. When earlier traumas are addressed through the unburdening process, we’re able to update our system and operate from our innately good self in present time. Part of me wants a tidy house. Part of me doesn’t want to yell at my kids and feels shame when I do. I am not a complete irritable grump. Part of me is irritable and grumpy. I don’t have to write myself off wholesale for my worst moments.

As Richard Schwartz, the model’s founder claims, there are “no bad parts” – they may just have taken on extreme roles. Through the IFS process, we get to know our various parts and how they are trying to protect us. By unburdening our parts, we free ourselves. To learn more, visit https://ifs-institute.com/. IFS can be applied in therapy, coaching, classrooms – wherever growth is wanted. If you’re feeling burned out, stuck, or just curious, book a free intro consultation to learn more.