- Internal Family Systems (IFS) therapy is a relatively new therapeutic approach that has gained significant attention in recent years due to its unique approach to understanding the human psyche.
- Through IFS therapy, you can learn to understand yourself in a compassionate and non-judgmental way, leading to improved emotional regulation and overall well-being.
- IFS involves working with a therapist who guides you through the process of identifying and understanding your various internal parts. You’ll also learn strategies to manage your emotions and behaviors more effectively, and develop a plan for continued growth beyond the therapy sessions.
- If you’re tired of traditional talk therapy and looking for a more effective approach to managing your mental health, IFS therapy may be worth considering. The therapists at Therapy Utah can help you identify and work with your different parts, leading to a stronger and more stable sense of self.
Internal Family Systems (IFS) therapy is a popular approach to psychotherapy that has gained significant attention in recent years. However, many people wonder whether IFS is evidence-based and whether it can be an effective treatment for their specific mental health issues.
Therapy Utah’s individual therapy services are based on matching clients with therapists who can use the most effective methodologies to meet their unique needs. In this article, we will explore the evidence for IFS, how it works, and what to expect if you try this kind of therapy for yourself.
Internal Family Systems Therapy Explained
Internal Family Systems (IFS) therapy is a unique and innovative approach to psychotherapy that has gained significant attention in recent years. Developed by Richard Schwartz in the 1990s, IFS therapy recognizes that every individual has different “parts” within them, each with its own thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.
These parts can be divided into three main categories: “managers”, “exiles”, and “firefighters.”
- Managers are parts of us that work to control our emotions and behavior.
- Exiles are parts of us that carry painful emotions and memories that we try to avoid.
- Firefighters take over when exiles produce emotions too painful, threatening, or overwhelming for the subject to handle. The firefighter provides the subject with an outlet that can be unhealthy and/or destructive.
Through IFS therapy, clients learn to understand and work with these different parts in a compassionate and non-judgmental way. This often leads to improved emotional regulation and overall well-being.
The Evidence for IFS
Although IFS is a relatively new therapeutic approach, there is growing evidence to support its effectiveness. A recent meta-analysis found that IFS therapy effectively reduces symptoms of depression, as well as anxiety and trauma-related disorders. The study also found that IFS therapy was more effective than traditional talk therapy in reducing symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Furthermore, Internal Family Systems (IFS) Therapy is listed as an evidence-based practice by the NREPP (National Registry for Evidence-based Programs and Practices). This national repository is maintained by the U.S. government’s Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). All of the interventions it includes, including IFS, have been subject to independent, rigorous scrutiny and are deemed to show significant impact on individual outcomes relating to mental health.
How IFS Works: A Step-By-Step Breakdown
It’s important to know what you’ll be doing if you consider trying IFS for yourself. Here’s a typical run-down of what the process involves.
During your initial sessions, your therapist will likely ask you to share your medical history and any current struggles you may be facing. The therapist will also introduce the concept of “parts” and help you name your own internal parts.
As therapy progresses, your therapist will help you develop a compassionate relationship with the parts you’ve identified, rather than trying to eliminate or control them. The therapist may use various techniques such as guided visualization or journaling to help you explore these parts and develop a deeper understanding of their roles in your life.
Key Benefits of IFS
Throughout IFS therapy, you’ll learn strategies to manage your emotions and behaviors more effectively. This often leads to improved emotional regulation and overall well-being.
Common IFS Techniques
In IFS therapy sessions, your therapist will act as a guide of sorts, taking you around from one part of your inner world to the next and introducing you to the different parts of yourself that populate it. During this tour, your therapist will help you clearly identify which parts of yourself are the managers, exiles, and firefighters—then help them reconnect to your greater self.
Your therapist will likely employ several techniques during this process. Some of the most common are:
- Art therapy and journaling
- “Mapping” your internal world using hand drawn maps or diagrams showing relationships between parts to help you understand their connections
- Breathing exercises, which can be especially helpful when accessing a protector or damaged part
- Guided meditations and mindfulness
- Asking your parts to interact with one another
Therapy Utah’s IFS Services
At Therapy Utah, we offer IFS therapy as a powerful tool to help clients like you overcome mental health challenges. Our therapists are trained and experienced in IFS therapy and can help you develop a deeper understanding of how your internal parts impact your mental health. By working with you in a secure and supportive environment, our therapists can help you manage your emotions and behaviors more effectively, leading to meaningful changes in your life.
The growing body of evidence to support IFS makes it a compelling option for people who are seeking deeper self-knowledge in a judgment-free atmosphere. Learn more about IFS therapy or find a therapeutic match who can help you explore this approach when you contact Therapy Utah and speak with a member of our staff.