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Learning about Internal Family Systems.
I began studying and utilizing Internal Family Systems Therapy (IFS) to help my clients a few years ago. IFS practitioners believe that human beings possess a multitude of different internal Parts that create who we are as people, and that help us get through our day.
The Parts of me that show up as a professional therapist sitting across from my clients are not the same Parts that show up when I’m on the floor playing blocks with my nieces. The Parts of me that show up when I’m hiking and connecting to nature are not the same Parts of me that show up when I’m scared and triggered by my own traumatic experiences.
Many folks will refer to IFS Therapy as Parts Work because of the way a skilled IFS therapist can support clients to see the various Parts of themselves that create the whole You. When we can recognize how we’re divided within ourselves we’re able to do the work of ending internal conflict and creating unity and wholeness
We all have internal conflicts from time to time. Sometimes they're small like feeling torn about what you want for dinner. It may be a simple enough decision, but unless you can resolve the internal conflict between getting tacos or thai food you’ll find yourself sitting on the couch an hour from now, still hungry, and getting more and more irritable and unable to make a decision as your blood sugar begins to drop.
Internal Family Systems and Trauma.
And, some times these conflicts can be crippling. Like when you’re torn between the Part that loves your partner, and the Part that wants to get away because it’s terrified they’ll hurt you again. Like when you’re torn between the Part that’s frustrated you’re skipping class, and the Part of you that hates what you’re studying. Like when you’re torn between the Part of you that wants to break away from your abusive parents, and the Part of you that is terrified of being alone in the world.
Internal conflicts like these are challenging to navigate, even with a skilled therapist helping you, but they absolutely are workable. Helping my clients get in touch with their Parts, learn to listen to their own internal wisdom, and find a sense of unity within themselves is reflected in all my interactions with clients during an IFS focused session.
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