IFS - the nuts and bolts of it

IFS (internal family systems therapy) is an extremely efficient way of working because:

• It has a simple way to negotiate with the parts of your Mind that are trying to protect you, and run your life for you, so that they can take the risk to trust its safe to step aside. This cuts through the process psychotherapists call resistance: because IFS helps you understand how these parts are doing their best for you, and how you can talk directly to them to find out why they are working so hard, and in so doing negotiate with them to step aside.

• When the defensive parts are enabled to step back, it makes room for the natural YOU, which alone is capable of healing. In the so-called ‘second step’ of mindfulness the natural Self can respond appropriately and help to heal you.

• In stepping back into the natural Self, you learn what your emotions are upset about, find out what they need from you, and calm them down. This often involves getting to know a younger part of you who has been locked out because you did not know how to recognise or heal his or her wounds. When these wounds are seen and recognised and infused with awareness they can begin to heal.

. • It understands how different parts of the mind interlock – if one part of your mind is trying to get you to be more assertive, and another part is holding back, and fearful about this, these parts will drive you round in an increasing polarity. One part on its own cannot be healed without attention to the other part.

• It puts YOU in charge - and gives you the tools to understand yourself, so that you are not dependent on the therapist, or a system of interpretation.